Archive for August 14th, 2006

14
Aug
06

Metaphilm – My New Film Professor

metaphilm-logo-v3.pngFilm has always been an integral part of my life. That two hour escape is sometimes all of the inspiration I’ll need to get through a rough period in life. Yeah, I enjoy the mindless action, adventure, and horror movies just like everyone else. (That is, when well executed.) But as you grow older, you begin to look for films that contain a bit more substance. You want a bit more from your cinema experience than an expanded version of the trailer. (At least I do.) Documentaries often bring me to points of clarity where the was confusion. Independent filmmakers often inspire me when they create masterpieces with few resources that often serve as a more compelling experience than many big budget films. And while some may turn to the New York Times crossword puzzle or spend time with a Sudoku book to “sharpen their minds”, I’d much rather take in a challenging film to give my brain a workout.

Prior to my last year of college, films were an enjoyable, care-free and mindless medium. I could just kick back, grab a pack of Sour Patch Kids and “rest my conscious mind on the mantle” for a few hours. That was until I took a film class in college. Probably the best (and worst) thing I could have ever done. Scott MacDonald forever changed the way that I watch film.

My introduction to Scott consisted of him showing our class of about twenty students a film called “Fog Line”. “Fog Line” was about a ten minute movie of — you guessed it — fog. Yes — 10 minutes of dense, thick, occasionally shape-shifting (but nothing notable not enough to hold my attention), white and gray — fog.

After the lights went up, I recall feeling a sense of disappointment. After all, I’d heard a lot of good things about this guy. If I signed up for a semester of fog, perhaps I’d better get out the course book and make a change while there was still time. As Scott began to survey the class of twentysomethings, he tried his best to contain a smile and offered his innocent plea in the form of the question, “Well, what did ya see?” Most were like me.

“Nothing.”

“I saw fog moving.” Continue reading ‘Metaphilm – My New Film Professor’

14
Aug
06

Meeting My Childhood Hero

Back when I was just a lad in the late 70s, grammar school was pretty boring. Believe it or not, I recall most of my teachers literally telling our class that they were a year or two away from retirement. There was no zest — no life in the content delivery. Worst of all, we stayed cooped up in the same classroom pretty much all day. (Not much movement from class to class for different subjects in NYC grammar school in the late 70s/early 80s). However, there was one time each week when we moved to a different room that I do recall fondly. Each Thursday, young children of African decent made their way down the hallway and entered a classroom for a lesson in Career Education.

What made Career Education different was that it was taught by a teacher of color. While this may seem slightly biased, understand that I don’t recall seeing very many teachers of color in school (even though my neighborhood was about 99.9% people of color.) I did have a few Caucasian teachers who seemed to really care, but Dr. Miles (our Career Ed teacher) had kids at home that looked like us. And we could tell. She was tough. But she put a lot of effort into working with us.

I vividly recall the events of one day in Career Education class. We were given a simple task. Write in our 2nd Grade Notebooks what we wanted to be when we grew up. Thewweundis2closelock.jpg answers started from the rear. (I was sitting up front.) There were some really inspiring answers.

“Miss Miles….I want to be a lawyer.”

“Miss Miles….when I grow up, I’m going to be a fire fighter”. (That answer came from a young lady.)

“Miss Miles… I want to be President.”

It was beautiful. Strangely enough, I was just about the last person to answer. But I’m sure I was the first to be done with the assignment. You see, back then I already knew what I wanted to do. I had known since I was five.

“And Mr. Grant…..what do you have for us? What would you like to be?”

“Misses Miles…..when I grow up…. I want to be…. WWF Champion.” Continue reading ‘Meeting My Childhood Hero’