(When I took Creative Writing for my last semester of college several months ago, we were to write a personal essay or a ten-minute drama. Since I didn’t have the brains to write a drama, I wrote about how my passion for becoming a movie critic. I’ll try to post a short story I did later on, but it was about time to finally post this. This isn’t the best-written essay in the world, but it’s best I can write. Enjoy.)
Every single person has a specific job that they’ve always dreamt of having, and it rarely comes true. We’ve all been there at a certain point in our everyday lives. Some want to pursue a career in being a doctor. Some want to pursue a career in becoming a teacher. But what did I want to do when I grow up? Well, almost everybody that I knew back then figured that I would want to be involved in anything movie-related. Was it to become a director? A writer? Working on set? Not really. It wasn’t until seven years ago that I wanted to push my passion to become a professional film critic a true reality. I just knew it from my heart.
Wanting to become a film critic, or an entertainment journalist, just sounded like a fun position not only just for having a profession for watching movies, but it was a way for me to expand my horizons into critiquing cinema in a way that perfect for me to understand. Just throughout my entire life, I just love watching them, either if it’s Disney or genre-based, and going to the movies nearly every week with somebody in my family or by myself and embracing the craftsmanship that’s being presented on the silver screen. Even to this day, I don’t know why I became such a film fanatic, and my mother just thinks I was born to love them. Back when I was young, I couldn’t tell what movies were good or bad since I didn’t know proper critiques on describing what I just watched beside, “It was awesome.” It made me wonder if I was bias on a lot of movies that were just plain awful (“The Dukes of Hazzard,” Alvin and the Chipmunks”).
Describing how I felt about watching my first movie would be impossible because those kinds of thoughts didn’t come to mind when I was four-years-old. Even when I was growing up, I wished my parents sat me in front of the television and showed me “Star Wars,” “Lord of the Rings,” or “Jurassic Park” to let me be filled with the joy one experiences when watching classics like these. But if I had to come up with the movie that blew me away and automatically made me think why I love cinema so much, “The Dark Knight,” back in 2008, might be the answer. Because not only is Christopher Nolan’s sequel a masterpiece, but I felt like it was the first time I can ever remember myself being thrilled by every single moment, feeling captivated by the action, and become invested with the phenomenal film-making that was being viewed through my eyes. Right from there, it was like I understood why filmmakers like Nolan or Steven Spielberg show unique, awe-inspiring storytelling through amazing visuals, three-dimensional characters by fantastic actors, dialogue that’s don’t feel forced, or making something for pure entertainment. Those qualities alone show why movies old and now can take my breath away.
It wasn’t until about 12 years ago that I learned that they give journalists the task to review movies for a living. They are the ones that give their opinions to see if it’s worth the money to see on opening weekend. In an instant, this sounded like the best thing ever. Then it became years and years of reading reviews online and finding an understanding of how to present the praises and criticisms of a film, which lead to watching popular reviewers on YouTube like it was some kind of new religion.
Since posting movie reviews on YouTube wasn’t a huge thing yet when it was around 2010, it would be easy to set up a camera and talk directly to it and rattle on for about five minutes. That could’ve been plain and simple, especially with my Flip Video UltraHD camera. But that thought didn’t come to mind when I got the now-discontinued camera for my fourteenth birthday. It would be easy since most of my inspirations come from not only those in the likes of Roger Ebert, Richard Roeper, or watching “The Rotten Tomatoes Show” before it got canceled; it was because I watched people like Jeremy Jahns, Schmoes Know, or Chris Stuckmann that have expressed their love for movies like me and everyone else.
Why I like watching these guys, and still am to this day, is because these are just casual people talking about movies and sharing what they love to their viewers. Their personalities also range from relatable to funny for whatever topic they’re talking about in their videos. Even when it doesn’t feel the same now as to say five years ago, I could watch them not only for fun but to see them show their love for movies, even when it turns out to be horrible, which usually winds up being funny in the long run.
It’s just that I’m not the kind that likes to see himself on camera, and just listening to my soft voice would not cut it. It’s almost kind being the shy kid who wants to perform at the school talent show, and once that kid steps out on stage, that feeling of nervousness kicks in and thought it stumbling to no end makes it worse. Not only that, I just had to sense that nobody would want to watch a slightly overweight black kid who doesn’t like the way he looks on the outside. I can see myself being active in talking about a certain movie in my way. But I give those I watch some inspiration into my style of writing and helping me out into making this hobby come true the old-fashioned way. How I usually handle my work is this: Introduction, plot synopsis, go into the positives and negatives of the film, and my overall thoughts.
This nearly changed me because this was a simple way of becoming a decent writer. I don’t consider myself a good writer since I take a while to think of anything creative in my mind. I mean, I love listening to music, but I can’t create a song just by listening to a song from a group I love since it takes a lot of inspiration to do all that. And this is a hobby that my family would probably assume. I’m always that person who doesn’t like to show off my reviews to those close because they will all say the same things in a positive light; maybe it’s because I write in a way that might be hard to understand and I never thought of myself as writing award-worthy material.
But it was the summer of 2017 that I think it was the time to stop thinking, and finally open up a blog and present my thoughts on movies to the rest of the world entitled “DC’s Take,” based on my column on the Bethel Beacon from the beginning of my second semester sophomore year. Being a part of that and writing out full reviews nearly every week was that breath of fresh air that was the first step into what a writer like me wants to handle. Hearing peers’ thoughts on what I have to say is the best kind of appreciation that’s well-deserved in my book. As I started my blog, I posted about 60 reviews that I’ve already prepared when I started typing on Google Docs in over a week. They were short, but it was the best I can come up with. And just like that, a part of me thinking this will lead me in the right direction. Not that the feeling of excitement was like the level of Tom Cruise jumping on Oprah’s couch excitement, but it surprised me that this was happening, presenting my work to everyone around the world.
Just as I was about to think pushing forward with what I started, it was around my first semester of junior year that just took out all the enthusiasm I wanted to throw into my blog and did nothing with it for almost a year. Sure, I wrote reviews on my own and for the Beacon, but I was in a tough place where I wasn’t feeling that I should present my reviews to everybody else since it was around that time I found myself not being entirely happy with what was going on in my personal life as the year went on. At one point, I sort of wonder if this was something I would want to continue after school, and wondering if this could lead me to a potential career that’s important to me and everyone else around me.
For me, I always consider my junior year to be the lowest point during my time in college, especially the first semester since I was doing poorly in two of my classes, my dad passed away, and everything in between could have been better. Because when you’re not doing well in classes that made you question what’s the point of being in there besides being a requirement, it’s almost overwhelming sadness has taken over part of your body, to the point of not caring about being creative anymore. It was at that point where I was unsure if this was worth my time to continue all of this. Will becoming a critic be the most fulfilling moment of my entire life? Do my reviews matter when no one talks about what I have to say? A waste of time and effort?
I looked at my site from time to time just to see if any views increased, but had thought of thinking why I haven’t deleted this. My passion for movies hasn’t faded away, but the point of return for my blog never came to mind. Around mid-July 2018, I wasn’t working a part-time job during my second to last summer break, and I haven’t written a full-page review but had a notebook of bullet points of what I thought of a certain movie. I’m the person who doesn’t want to see himself become a failure at something he’s good at and giving up so quickly on what’s being accomplished just doesn’t settle right in my mind. To me, I want people to remember me for what I enjoy the most and being able to share my passion for writing movie reviews for my friends, family, other bloggers in the entertainment industry, and anybody else who loves movies as much as I do. Failure is not an option.
So, I copied and pasted nearly every review that were published from the Beacon and the ones I wrote on my time, and posted them to mark my return to DC’s Take for an entire week, from “Blade Runner 2049” to “Mission: Impossible- Fallout” in over a thousand words. The pleasure I get from posting whatever I want on-site just comes to show that it doesn’t have to be the best thing written, but it’s my work, and even though I feel like we’re living in a time where opinions can go out of hand, it isn’t too hard to throw in what I have to say about what’s popular.
Who knows what film criticism will be like and how it can be attributed as art, but with writing on my time, why stop now? I’m at that point of wanting those I know, and employers, what I can do with my appreciation for film critiquing. What started as a hobby has formed into an important aspect of who I am today. Written reviews make me feel on the older side, even if my sentence structures aren’t the best, and it’s what I’m hoping to continue until someone tells me otherwise.
My dreams of wanting to be a film critic haven’t fallen upon me just yet in my life. This is an interest that’s been a part of who I am and provide my voice. To be successful, staying positive on what you’ve grown to love for all these years is the most helpful, and that applies to me when not giving up on achieving more as a future film critic. It was almost like God was giving me a chance to continue doing this one specific hobby and share it with those closest to you hoping to make it an actual career out of it just like those that inspired me. Because of this, it further helps me to become a good writer in my mind and be able to show my love to those around me when the time comes.
2 thoughts on “Personal Essay- Dreams of a Future Writer”
DC, there are so many good thoughts in here about being positive and passionate about something, pushing through trying times and keeping your focus on what you want to do, etc. I encourage you to continue with your writing, movie reviewing, and the other things you enjoy doing as well. One of the best decisions you made though was to just…get started. There’s an old quote from Walt Disney that says “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing”, and that’s exactly what you did. You mention a few times that you feel like you’re not a great writer, and all I can say about that is that writing is a learned skill. It can be studied, practiced, and improved over time…so stick with it to build your skills. Most of all, continue to enjoy what you’re doing!
Thank you, John. I needed to hear that today.
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