Archive for January, 2010

It’s A Long Road

Posted in Filmmaking with tags , on January 9, 2010 by Richard Diaz

Me with gear in hand.

I know I’ve probably talked about this before but it’s been awhile and I’ve been in a reflective state lately so bare with me here.

My “journey” in life to make movies started when I was about 4 years old. Granted not literally. The seed was planted when I was 4 when my parents, probably to keep my sister and I distracted for 2 hours, decided to take us to a little summer movie called ‘Star Wars’. The powerful images and iconic characters were quite impactful. The strengths of the moving image were implanted that day. From that moment on I was completely fascinated by the moving image. I started to play with toys differently. My eye would become the camera and I would always go in for a close up or move away for a long shot. I didn’t know what any of it meant. I just wanted my playtime to look and feel like the movies I watched. Naturally as I got older and started to comprehend how movies were made I knew that director was what I was in essence being. Or should I say longing to be The key figure in the realm of  visual storytelling. In essence, the storyteller. I wanted to be the storyteller. Now comes the hard part. Anyone can dream about something but to make it happen is the part that few seem to reach. I can see why.

Without writing a book on my life I’ll skip ahead a bit. My desire to be a filmmaker grew the older I got. It got to the point where it became an obsession and finally to the point where it’s the only thing for me. I can’t imagine myself doing anything else. I will succeed or die trying. I have been told by people my whole life to give it up. It won’t happen. Go pursue other things. Family members, teachers, friends. One teacher told me in front of the entire class that I should go into something else. I remember running into a friend from high school a while back and he asked me what I was doing. I told him and he bluntly said,”You won’t make it..” I was almost stunned by how blunt he was. I was also wondering if maybe I offered no recourse for it. If he asked me what I was doing and my response was not a few short films and corporate videos then maybe his response would have been different. Or maybe he was just a jerk. That probably being more the case. However, it was things like that which made me realize I am alone in this pursuit.

Back in late 2002 or early 2003 is when I decided that, after years of trying different routes, I am in fact alone on this journey. If I want the seed that was planted back when I was 4 years old to grow then I can’t wait for other people to water it. I need to somehow find a way to feed this seed myself. The roots will only be as strong as I make them to be. Self determination is just as powerful as it is destructive though. To have the power to push yourself, sometimes far beyond where you should be, to go after the thing you want, especially something that is very hard to become, is quite something. It’s what keeps you going when it’s 2am and you’re still editing away on your film while the world sleeps. It’s when you feel you’ve accomplished something after hours, days, weeks, or even years of working on it but then it’s met with utter apathy by other people. At times it can be the only thing you have is your self determination which does mean sacrifices in life are made. I don’t have a normal life even though at times I do desire it. However, I remind myself that my path in life is different than others. I may die a lonely old man and may never reach my dream but I’ll die knowing I tried with every ounce of my being. Especially since at this point it is all I have. Something I sometimes lament but it is the choice I have made.

So back in 2002 or  2003 (I think it was early 2003) a branch started to finally poke it’s way out of the ground from the seed no one thought would grow. Some I’m sure thought it had died. I needed to somehow go out and make a feature film. I just needed to start that ball rolling. If you can make one you can make two. If you can make two you can make three. One of the reasons why it took so long was the fact that I made it alone. It took years to write the script. It went through very different versions. I think one of the things too was I wanted to just blow the roof off with ‘Distortion’. I wanted it to be the film that I made that if someone watched it they could see that I knew what I was doing. I was ready to explode with the build up of a lifetime behind me. It may hurt the film on some level as perhaps I tried to do too much. Hard to say. I’ll leave that up to the audience. I hope not.

Shooting 'Distortion' (and almost 35 pounds heavier).

I made ‘Distortion’ much the same way I made the journey, alone. I don’t say that from an egotistical standpoint. It was just out of necessity. Although it is quite fitting. Is this the start of a new chapter in my life? We’ll see. That little tree is growing. Every so often someone comes along and breaks a branch off and it’s hard to grow a new one but I still try. Hopefully one day it’ll be big enough where it won’t be so easy for people to break. It’s a long road I’ve traveled and one I am still on. I don’t see the end in site at this point. Just the road ahead. It’s a long empty road which is filled with much loneliness, sadness, and despair. It’s, as the saying goes, the road less traveled. But if you can reach the end then it’s filled with joy and happiness. At least it better be or I’m jumping on that other road with the sunshine, flowers, and talking squirrels.

This blog is a testament to this part of that journey. It is with this that I offer any of you that have any interest in the projects, past, present, or future, or even in me, my sincere heartfelt gratitude.

*When I thought of the title of this post I realized it’s the same name as an amazing piece of music done by Jerry Goldsmith, one of film’s most incredible composers, for the film ‘First Blood’. So I guess as a sort of soundtrack to the post here is that track.