Page Created: 7/30/2014   Last Modified: 3/9/2016   Last Generated: 6/7/2024

Motion pictures showed me the world I never knew, the world outside of my own neighborhood, outside of my own time, and outside of my own mind.

And in doing so, I could see the viewpoints of people through their eyes, and feel what they felt, not just my own. It made me greater than what I was.

Such is the power of film. It makes us question what is real, like the projection of fire-light, the shadows of creatures on Plato's cave wall. If we turn around and look at where the projections are coming from, and look hard and long enough, we may be able to understand these forms of impossible shape.

The quantized frames that compose a moving picture tell us that it is a creature of the 4th dimension. Film is a ribbon-like polyester snake, just like our lives are snakes through Time and higher dimensions.

I grew up watching silent 8mm movies that my father and grandfather shot, before I was born, showing me places I had never been spanning two different countries, and times I have never lived.

We watched them on a projector, and you could see the dust particles swirl in the beam of light, and the heat and rhythmic sounds it produced, which were hypnotic.

My grandmother was also a military photographer in WWII, and she had a collection of old photographs, time capsules into a era that I could now see, instead of just hearing her recite the stories.

When I was very young, perhaps 5 years old, I got a "Ghost Gun" for Christmas, a toy gun that projected light through film strips to display cartoon ghosts. You would enter a dark room, aim the gun at the wall and begin shooting ghosts, which it performed by perforating the strip, causing the ghosts to emanate light through the holes.

The toy didn't last long, but I realized I could project my own images and stories, and later drew pictures, probably bird creatures and taped them to the top of my bedroom wall and used flashlights to illuminate one image at a time. I later learned how to build flashlights, thanks to my grandfather, which led to my study of electronics later in life.

I became interested in the stage re-enacting characters and stories in real life.

When I got older, my brother and I created flip book animations, by drawing within the unused margins of paperback books, and then flipping the edge to animate them. Because the margins were thin, I drew a lot of people parachuting, or when turned lengthwise, cars racing along, like disposable pulp versions of the ancient zoetrope.

In 1985, when I was 15, I was tired of listening to stories and wanted to live them, to bring back my forefather's technologies. I revived the wind up 8mm camera from its hibernation, last used by my grandfather in 1972, and shot an 8mm film.

I also began doing my own crude "telecine" transfers of old movies to VHS videotape, converting old films for my neighbor. I created a program on the Commodore64 to scan character bitmaps and resize them to fill the entire screen, which I used to make titles.

In 1991, I began studying film, and by 1998 I set out to make one.

In 2015, I began experimenting with a Google Cardboard VR device on my Nexus 4 smartphone, and the potential for storytelling in 360 degrees has spawned a new art of VR filmmaking. This is a vastly more powerful form of storytelling than 3D, as it wraps the images around you like real life, placing you, on stage, inside the story. The language of this type of filmmaking has not yet been created, for how does one direct the viewer, when the viewer has choice of where to look? It will be amazing to see what kind of visual language is developed on the medium.