You would think that it would be easy to write about something that one feels passionately about; and it is up to a certain point. But as anyone who has ever tried to compose an application essay to a program that they really, really want to get into knows: it is easier to feel strongly about something than it is to articulate those feelings.
In a few weeks the application period will open for the American Film Institute and I, Gwydhar that is, plan to submit my application for the graduate conservatory program. This is something that I've been thinking about for a long time. In fact I started thinking about it this time last year. In the back of my mind I've been trying to organize my thoughts into a single cohesive narrative statement that will sum up who I am, where I come from, and where I plan to go in such a way that will speak to the powers that be as they decide the future of my life, universe, and everything. I mean, no pressure or anything. You would think that for someone who writes as regularly as I do that this should be easy: that with this much practice at putting words on paper that this essay should be done in no time. I wish I could say this was true.
The problem that I am discovering isn't that I have too little to say, but that I have too much. Trying to wrestle my thoughts into some kind of order is like watching a one year old try to manage the finer points of spaghetti. It's like watching Bela Lugosi wrestling with an octopus. It's like trying to correct a sudoku. Mostly I end up becoming so frustrated that I have to give up and put it aside and start fresh.
How hard could it be to get three basic ideas across?
1. I want to be a filmmaker and even though I've taken a long and circuitous route by way of art, theatre, costume design, mask making, puppetry, animation, comics and advertising to get there I've still reached the same conclusion: I want to be a filmmaker.
2. I have this whole complex internal world that I want to share with the wider world of reality. When I direct, I am really just trying to share this internal space with the outside world. Sometimes I don't feel like I'm telling a story so much as I am helping a story tell itself.
3. I want to make films; good films, and now that I know that this is the trade that I want to do for the rest of my life I want to learn this craft firsthand so that I can someday achieve mastery of it. I consider myself an apprentice and I want to learn at the knee of the master craftsman and I can't think of another program more conducive to this than the conservatory program at AFI.
There. Was that so hard?
Well, there is still a long way to go on this, but like anything in filmmaking it is just part of a larger process. With luck, the right pieces will start falling into place and everything will work out happily ever after.