That first moment that takes hold of our unconscious and subtly starts guiding our dreams until it leaks into our reality and then, quite forcefully, steers our actions into a path we claim we “never saw coming!” but are glad to walk on, nonetheless.
For me, that first moment was in 1986, in my Romanian hometown, as I sat next to my mom inside the magical darkness of a movie theater. She thought it might be a nice experience, to bring me to an American movie that had just made its way (6 years later!) onto our movie screens.
As I watched in awe as a giant furry alien growling inside the round cockpit of his spaceship (well, his boss’ spaceship), I fell in love with movies. I marveled at the aesthetic of the “future” even as it was the “past” (a long, long time ago…) and at all the different creatures and gadgets. Movies, I realized, were books come to life.
For my next cinematic adventure, my mother chose “Look Who’s Talking.” By that time, I was an expert on the movie-going experience, and even got to choose the best seats. At home, I gleefully quoted the funniest lines of the film for hours, and again marveled at the ability of the story to cement itself as reality in my head.
It took many years and an entirely new continent for me to discover that film was, indeed, my path to walk. The summer after seventh grade, I volunteered at my local TV station – not because of Chewbacca, but rather because of a eighth-grade Han Solo look-a-like. He was interested in being in front of the camera, and I was more than happy to shyly film him, working behind the scenes. When offered the chance to shoot and edit a commercial for the town, I wasn’t sure he would want to hang around the editing room, but still, it sounded more fun than following him around the set.
I still remember the awful music pieces I endured, trying to find the perfect mood for my minute-long commercial. I still remember the glow from the screens as I turned the knobs, cutting my B-roll just right. And I still remember the look on eighth-grade Han Solo as he reveled in my creation.
Had I really made that? Did my little idea really make it on Channel 3 that summer? Did my crush really applaud just then? And, really the most important question, would I ever be able to actually find better music libraries?
My mother, George Lucas and even young Han Solo, all had changed my life’s course in ways I “never saw coming!”
I only hope to do the same for someone else as they sit in the darkness of a movie theater, eyes lit up in wonder as they watch a movie I made.