When I was in high school, I wrote short stories, but I also made movies. When I could, instead of writing papers for classes, I turned in movies on the topic (my teachers pretty much knew I could write by then). I took a film class offered by a drama teacher, but I had already read the book he was using as a text--and learning as he went--so I did as much teaching as learning.
When I went to college, my original major was advertising, but after a trip to Hollywood and Universal Studios, I changed it to Radio/TV/Film (only because that was the major--I was interested in TV and film, not so much in radio). I wrote scripts, made movies, directed TV productions, etc.
As it turns out I never worked in any of those fields directly, but as VP of Marketing for WildStorm Productions I wrote a lot of ads, dealt with buying ad space, worked with designers and artists, etc., so the advertising education came in handy. I've written books, nonfiction as well as fiction and comics, based on many TV shows and a couple of movies. I've spent time on sets, I've gone to pitch meetings, I did publicity for an animated TV series and an animated feature film.
I love writing fiction, but I still love movies (and TV, when it's good). We're lucky enough to have been--and to continue to be--in a kind of golden age of TV dramas, with people like David Simon and Aaron Sorkin stretching the boundaries of what great TV can be. But we're in an era of some truly awful movie-making, in which the movies that get all the attention are more about how many explosions and special effects shots can be squeezed into the budget than about the real craft of filmmaking.
Put it this way--yesterday, I discovered that 2001: A Space Odyssey is still riveting cinema, despite the fact that nothing blows up, that the dialogue is minimal and largely banal, that character development is nonexistent. But you can't look away from the screen. That's a movie that could never be made today. And although 1968 was hardly the best year for movies ever, it did include Bullitt, Charly, Barbarella, Funny Girl, Rosemary's Baby, The Love Bug, The Producers, Planet of the Apes, The Thomas Crown Affair, Romeo and Juliet (the hot one), Night of the Living Dead, Yellow Submarine, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Head, No Way to Treat a Lady, Once Upon a Time in the West, and The Lion in Winter. Some are dated, but most of them still stand up today. Will today's movies stand up 40+ years from now?
One will, at least. We saw Hugo last night. Hugo is based on the illustrated novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick, and the movie is brilliant. From the very beginning--a beautiful aerial shot of the world's most beautiful city, Paris, which turns into a long tracking shot through the busy Montparnasse train station (a shot that demonstrates that in a master's hands, there is a reason for 3-D filmmaking--it's not just a gimmick but an authentic addition to a director's toolbox) that leads up to the face of a boy (the wonderful Asa Butterfield) behind a grate--you know you are in the hands of a director at the top of his game, working on material that has a very personal meaning to him.
By the end, you discover that the movie is really about movies, and stories, and magic, and imagination, and love, and the genius of Georges Méliès, who made more than 500 movies around the turn of the last century, and invented a lot of the tricks that filmmakers have used ever since. Much of his output has been lost, but a couple hundred still exist, and Hugo shows us clips from some, as well as taking us behind the scenes to show how Méliès did what he did.
If you love movies... if you love any or all of those things I mentioned in the paragraph above... then rush to the nearest theater showing Hugo in 3-D. Don't wait for the DVD, but see it in a theater. Do it today. This is a film that film buffs can't overlook, that can be enjoyed by the whole family, and that will remind you of what movies can do.