As of August, 2021, a week before starting my venture at UNCSA for grad school, I’ve been a bit reminiscent. Not to boast, but I’m about to embark on a two-year journey with a school ranked no. 11 in the nation for film development which will forward my established career as a screenwriter, but in all that preparation, I find myself longing to relive the past. A longing for the things which “used to be” is strange mindset to be in and yet, there’s something familiar and safe about it too. Whereas the future is unpredictable and risky, the past is reassuring and comforting having already experienced it… Similar to that one TV series you revisit, I’ve found myself looking back on my past and rediscovering certain things.
Now, I’m not one who believes in the aspect of the golden years; for they are soon to come, or the idea that life is too short; for it is the longest thing we endure, but I have found though this venture of mine that when you are about to begin a new chapter in life which has the promise of tremendous opportunity, it’s good to reminisce. It’s the pressing of the pause button, if you will.
One thing which I have looked back upon are my friendships which, to me, is seen through my Undergrad Demo Reel on YouTube spanning the projects I worked on spanning from 2012, the moment my film education at Augusta University began to 2016, the moment I left town to pursue my film career. Just between you, me, and the lamppost, my demo may come down from the internet soon for it doesn’t match my current level of craftsmanship but, as it stands, like an expensive painting you purchase to impress a girl, my demo has become more to me than just a tool of self-promotion.
First, like any honest artist would say, my demo makes me cringe. At the time, I was finding my voice and helping others do the same which is also the primal reason why it fills me with bliss. If it weren’t for the unitary goal of making films, being creative and learning to take measured risks, I wouldn’t be the person I am today – pursuing what I am. In addition, the relationships I had the pleasure of obtaining and reserving in memory wouldn’t be traded for all the money in the world (even the ones which ended in heartbreak) because again, a part from my incredibly supportive family, they are what has molded me through the years.
If you watch my demo, you will see a reel showcasing a series of sliced up pieces of footage pertaining to a collection of short films, documentaries, music videos and so on, but what I see are glimpses of a wonderful time in my life. I can pause any segment of the video, look at the randomly selected frame and tell you the story of the showcased film, the backstory behind it and what was going on in my life at the time because it was my life. Take the musical score behind the demo as an example. It is song titled “Ladies, Leaves Your Numbers at the Door” by the late hardcore punk band Aithon. Now, looking at me and or my footage along with the voice I have as a writer, you wouldn’t put these two elements together for they simply don’t match. But like all things, there’s a reason why I chose this song and placed it within the piece.
No, that’s not me singing, or slapping the bass in the background, but I was best friends with the lead singer when he wrote this song and was by his side every step of the way in the building of the band. During this time, he, his cousin and myself were inseparable. We did everything together. Three young college guys, left to our own devices who loved music, drove in a topless jeep, played table tennis for hours and complained about girls is all we essentially did. We didn’t accomplish anything except goof off, but the friendship I had with these two guys is something I know I will never get back and because of that, I treasure it dearly. And it’s though his song I will always remember that fantastic time of my youth.
Like all things, though… the what-once-was is no longer and the what-lies-before will soon follow. I can’t help but think of Alfred Lord Tennyson’s quote, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never loved at all,” as a closer of this blog in how though you can’t live in the past but, should certainly smile upon it as you continue forward in the creation of new memories.