He says yes to another film competition. Yes to months of thought. Yes to ideas and development and storyboarding. Because he knows the best doesn't often come in a moment. The best comes in thin glimpses. One sketch here, another sketch there. Stitch them together, rip them apart. Crumple that one, and that one, too. Draw out a fresh sheet.
Thoughts trickle down, gathering momentum, form, and purpose. One sparks another, and another, one domino falling into the next.
He gathers crew, props (tells his brothers not to eat the Subway sandwich in the fridge, or else - it's forty miles to get another one), and camera gear on loan. Gets everything ready the night before. Double checks that everything is ready the night before. Texts last-minute details to his crew and actor, all with the film playing out, a continuous reel in his mind.
Footage, the building block of every film, that's what he's after as they reach their location up in the mountains the next day. Footage that will lace the story together, taking viewers through page by page without turning a single one.
Unpack, set up. Trial runs, check settings, modify, check the clock, check the schedule.
Finally, he calls, "Action!" then falls easily into directing, his patient way guiding everyone toward his vision.
A few days later, when he & I were there, at the railroad track in afternoon light, and I was mind-blown that we were taking senior pictures?!
He replied, "Meh, no big deal."
Graduation, then? Surely graduation will be a big deal?
"Nah, not really," he said.
Then what? What'll be the Big Deal?
Without hesitation, he replied, "Winning an Oscar for Best Director".
P.S. A little digging in the archives turned up these long-ago posts about this guy and his creative passion. You read, I'll grab a tissue:
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