I remember when I first wanted to make movies. I had to be about eight or nine years of age. I was pissed because the movie I wanted to see was Rated R. Back then more and more films had an R rating. I said to myself what if I opened my own movie theater? No R rated films allowed. So I converted my mother’s basement into Nick's Nickelodeon. Located at 1216 Wilder Street in Philadelphia. Comprised of a small Super 8mm projector and a movie screen, kids from the neighborhood would come to my theater for a nickel to watch 15min versions of films that my mother would buy for me at Sterling Craft Cameras Shop on Passyunk ave. They would be old films, like Sgt York, Cleopatra, and The Bridge on the River Kiwi. They had no sound and nobody seemed to care. Everyone was having a really great time. Soon after, I was given a sound projector by my Dad. The Nickelodeon was going High Tech now! The first film I showed that had sound was a 15min version of Star Wars. Then I really started thinking. What if I make my own films? I know, I know.
I was only eight years old right? So what. My dad gave me his Super 8mm camera and off I went to Sterling Craft to buy film. I remember that store so vividly. The store had a very distinct smell. I guess it was all of the film stock. I’m not sure but all I knew is that it was a special place for me. Now armed with a camera and some film, all I needed was an idea for a movie. It was 1976 and Superman starring Christopher Reeves was playing at the Colonial Movie Theater in South Philly. I loved Superman. I always did. After getting my popcorn, my Dad and I walked into the theater with our shoes sticking to the floor. It was not a very clean place. As we walked to our seats I remember my heart was pumping a mile a minuit. I was so excited! The lights dimmed. The movie started. It was the first time I ever heard the Superman theme by John Williams. I sat there in utter amazement. I said to myself, This guy is flying!!! Something happened to me that night. I can't explain it. I just knew in my heart that making movies was what I was born to do. I could not wait to tell my best friend Anthony Cedrone about the movie. I ran around to his house. Out of breath I was saying... I know the movie I want to make! It would be my own version of Superman. It wouldn't be until Superman II came out that we actually started. It would star me and Superman, Anthony as General Zod and my other childhood friend Carla as Lois Lane. It was a special time in my life and I knew it at even that young age.
Today I refer to that time as "That Feeling". You see, as I got older, life got in my way. I got in my way. I took making films into my adulthood and tried to make it a business and that's all good, but the fun was gone. That feeling was gone. As I got older I started doubting myself more and more. I don't think I am going to make it big. I don't think I will ever be a real actor were just some of the things I would say to myself. With every negative thought the flame inside of me would die a little more each time. I sold all of my gear. I had stopped making movies completely. I was just like everyone else. Going to work and doing something I didn't want to do. I became someone else. I am not sure who he was but he was not happy. I had a great life. I had a home. A beautiful family and I was healthy. There was just something missing. A part of me that was just not present. It so hard to explain but all I would feel was empty. Even with all of the blessings in my life. It was then I realized, I was feeling that way because I was not doing what I loved to do. What God wants me to do. Make movies.
My sister got me a loan and I purchased a new camera and a computer and off I went to make my first feature film called 9th & Bay. Of course it was a really low budget but people LOVED IT! It won an award at the Myrtle Beach International Film Festival and it was shown in fifty movie theaters nation wide. I had done it. My big face was on the big screen. Not without the help of close friends of course. Winning that award was a validation for me. It answered a question. Was I any good?
After that I made a short film called Purgatory. No awards but technically was far superior then 9th and Bay. Some more years went by which brings me to current day. The feelings of doubt come back from time to time. I mean, I’m going to be fifty years old. Still nothing big. I'm not working in big movies. I am doing videos for others more then making what I want to make. "That Feeling" is gone again. It made me think. What was it? What was it that made me happy when I was nine? Why was I happy when I made 9th & Bay? Today as I write this I really think I have figured it out. When I was kid I didn't care about anything but having fun and making them terrible movies. When I made 9th & Bay I was having fun. I didn't care what would happen after it was done. I just did it anyway! I have realized that I am trying to impress people with my talent instead of just having fun doing what I love. Years ago, I was not trying to impress anyone. I really didn't care what people thought. Somewhere that changed. Now that I have isolated the problem, I choose to have fun. Of course I will make videos for clients. It's how I will Fund My Fun. It's so easy to let ego in. Ego kills important parts of a person. From now on I’m going to have fun with my new filmmaker friends and having fun will make some great films. I can't wait to show you.