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Forum namePass The Popcorn
Topic subjectyou asked...(long read)
Topic URLhttp://board.okayplayer.com/okp.php?az=show_topic&forum=6&topic_id=735353&mesg_id=735381
735381, you asked...(long read)
Posted by navajo joe, Sun Jul-07-19 09:42 AM
As a kid, I would snatch up Friday's issue of the paper and read the movie reviews. My mom got me one of Leonard Maltin's books and I read it cover-to-cover. Even before 1994 I would go to local video stores and just browse for hours. I'd watch Siskel and Ebert religiously growing up. I was a latchkey kid so I'd watch an insane amount of cable until my mom came home. Early to mid 1990s made for cable offerings were really formative for me. I remember taking film appreciation class for adults held in the evenings at my elementary school and I showed a scene from Little Buddha and from John Woo's The Killer. I was the only kid there and I couldn't have been more than 11 or 12.

Rodriguez/Tarantino changed everything. What I was doing as a kid just out of pure enjoyment now was 'cool' and I started reading books about directors and world cinema and seeking films from all over the world. I'd watch TCM pretty religiously.

I didn't end up studying film in college until it was almost too late. I chose history as a major and was largely ambivalent toward that. It wasn't until I burnt out mid-way through school and returning from a year away that I focused on film and theater courses. Despite not having a great film program I loved the few classes I took. I took an intro to film, a class on sequels and remakes (this was long before most films were either sequels or remakes) and a class on theatrical set design, and another on lighting design due to my interest in cinematography.

I ended up spending a term as the lighting designer for a two-woman show which was incredibly stressful and but probably one of the highlights of my college career. I learned a shit ton from the two film classes I took and got exposed to ton of films and filmmakers (I first saw "In the Mood for Love" in the intro class).

I worked in a now defunct independent movie theater chain post-college selling popcorn and junior mints. This was when Lost in Translation came out and during the wave of studio-'indies' of the early 2000s. We would also show Bollywood films because we have such a strong Indian community.

I became a projectionist and did that for a couple of years (this was right before digital) and my boss had a collection of some of the rarest prints in existence. He'd sell shit to Tarantino and others and run an exploitation double-feature once a month. Sometimes he'd cue something up for us and the crew would get drunk and watch original prints of Lady Terminator, Coffy, Texas Chainsaw Massacre (with Spanish subtitles), Pieces, old Porn loops and other classics. It was basically our own little 42nd street.

A coworker and I became came good friends and we'd try to share stuff that we thought the other would like or hadn't heard of or would blow each other's minds. Every weekend we'd each choose a bunch of stuff to watch. He put me on to a bunch of 80s comedies and horror and I put him on to a bunch of stuff from around the world and exploitation and classic stuff.

I spent a ton of time on this board back then before agenda posting and fuckery ruined it. Longo, B. Worm, Ricky, Mr. Mech's all-caps typing ass and King Friday were here and there was a real sense of knowledge and community and diversity in interest and opinion. I learned so much here during this period and was proud to be part of the community that was this board then. It's truly a shame what happened to it.

This was also back when when movie message boards like AICN and CHUD were huge before right before all this shit got co-opted and movie fandom descended into utter toxicity (not that that shit wasn't problematic and exclusionary from jump street). But I learned a lot from the message board era of film fandom.

I got invited to go to the Sundance Filmmakers Lab in 2005 as a crew member and spent a month on the mountain as a boom operator/crew member and we'd just work with young filmmakers workshopping their first pieces. I was fortunate enough to work on this wacky New Zealander named Taika Waititi's first feature film at the Labs, where he was workshopping 'Eagle vs. Shark'. Met someone there at the labs who lived in NY and cancelled my trip to teach English in Japan and moved to her hometown of NYC. Put out the feelers and got a hit for a location PA intern on a little indy that didn't even get a release. I was sleeping on a hardwood floor in a sleeping bag working 70-80 hrs a week for free and couldn't have been happier.

Ended up continuing with locations for a couple of years during the height of NY's production resurgence. There were so many productions in the city at the time and we were, at least at first, given carte blanche. Our office did TV most of the year and a film during the hiatus. Locations is hard, thankless work and the higher I rose and the larger projects I worked on, the more I hated it. Plus, the idea of being a UPM or a line producer or some shit was the last thing I wanted to do. I learned a bunch, dispelled a bunch of notions about what actually happens in production, got to work with and meet a lot of really cool people and saw more of NY than many people do in a lifetime. Would never go back but wouldn't trade those years for anything.

So yeah, I've been a lover a film my whole life. I've been very fortunate to be self-taught, formally taught and have worked in film. I've also been very fortunate to come up both pre and post internet and have lived through an era of fandom and pop culture that won't exist again in its fashion.