I Don't Have Time For This

I don't have time for this.

I don't have time to protest one night and wake up and march the next day.

I don't have time to take the blue line for forty-five minutes to get to the airport and hold a sign.

I don't have time to listen to the news every morning and cry for fifteen minutes over a new injustice.

I don't have time to think about history and the Civil War, the World Wars, the Cold War.

I don't have time to plan the resistance. I have laundry to do.

I don't have fucking time for this.

I don't have time to share another article or sign another petition. I don't have the money to give to the ACLU or other organizations.

I don't have time to explain to you why you should drop Uber and use Lyft while turning around and telling someone else that I might need to do whatever saves me a dollar because I still qualify for food stamps.

I don't have time to hate myself for being a hypocrite. I have work in the morning.

I don't have time to retweet M…

Political Parallels: The End of Act Two

The majority of narrative films follow a three act structure. This is best represented in the hero's journey narrative, including such contemporary classics as Star Wars, Harry Potter, or The Lord of the Rings (in the world of preconceived franchise films such as these, the same structure also works across multiple films). The opening act establishes the characters and the setting. The hero is in a comfortable and familiar space. At the end of this act, the character is thrust out into a bigger world.
Throughout Act II, the hero faces varying degrees of obstacles, such as trolls, murderous henchmen, etc. This all leads to the end of Act II, which is typically depicted through a different setting (the Death Star, Mordor, etc.) or introduction of something completely unknown. Furthermore, this is the point when our hero is left all alone (usually because of the death of a mentor) and the odds of overcoming the main villain seem impossible.

As a writer, it is difficult not to think of …

"Do You Hope to One Day Win an Oscar?"

I was asked the above question during a recent job interview. It was proposed immediately after the proverbial, "What are your hopes and aspirations?" question, which is often rephrased as, "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" and often reinterpreted as, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" by twenty-somethings with a lack of direction such as myself. 
I don't know what I'm having for dinner, let alone where I want to be in ten years. The question with the "O" word (not that "O" word...pervert), completely threw me during the interview. Up until then I thought I was doing pretty good. I nailed the "what are you good at" question and appropriately BS'd my way through the "what are you bad at" question (spoiler alert: being too good at things).

But I didn't see the Oscar comment coming, even though I probably should have. Fetishized discussion of the gold statue is far from uncommon by people w…

At 27, I Learned About Death

It's been a tough year.

At an age that most people typically start worrying about their own mortality, and rightfully so, I've found myself more saddened by the passing of others than any other time in my life. I know that this is far from uncommon for someone my age and I actually take solace in the shared experience of grief and knowing that so many can feel so much for someone they didn't even know. It's sad, but it's a happy kind of sad I suppose.
Until this past year, I have been fortunate to have not experienced as much personal loss as so many others have or such loss occurred at such a young age that the impact was less severe. It's always sad when someone dies, no matter who or what the circumstances. What has seemed so strange about this past year is the bombardment of deaths of people who I felt, and unfortunately only realized after their passing, how much they shaped who I am as a person. As a filmmaker and as an artist, this influence can not be ove…

A Queer Reading of "Star Wars"

In the lead up to Star Wars: The Force Awakens, there has been one burning question: where is Luke Skywalker? The speculation has led to a pretty popular theory that Luke has turned to the dark side and is actually the primary antagonist of the new film. Should this turn out to be true, it once again proves that JJ Abrams' "Mystery Box" thing is pretty meaningless because of the Internet. Spoilers don't actually spoil movies, bad storytelling spoils movies. Perpetuating fan theories creates expectations; expectations lead to disappointment; disappointment leads to...suffering?
Anyway, while this theory isn't really based on anything more than a couple of trailers, it has caused me to reexamine the original trilogy and develop my own reading of Luke Skywalker's journey. Though this reading may very well be debunked in the coming film, the interpretation adds a lot of depth and intrigue to the original story. Of course, I'm referring to the idea that Luke Sk…

On Criticism and Industry Peer Review

Not too long ago, director Joss Whedon tweeted about a clip from Jurassic World film, particularly responding to a post from the feminist website The Mary Sue, describing the clip as "70's era sexist" and summarizing the clip as "She's a stiff, he's a life force - really? Still?" Whedon since walked back his comments describing the comment as "bad form."

Now this post isn't about feminism, Whedon, Whedon's role as a feminist icon, gender roles in pop culture, or even the stupidity of Twitter conversations. This post is about criticism and film thought. When I first saw Whedon's tweet, I thought it was kind of badass. I didn't read it as a commentary on The Mary Sue but a mere reading of the clip. Sure, it was in somewhat bad form. And you can't (or shouldn't) judge an entire film based solely on one clip. You should also never judge a film merely by what its characters say. His comment, however, was an accurate reading …

Chicago is NOT a Steppingstone City for Filmmakers

I've lived in Chicago for about a year and a half now. I decided to move here after graduating with a B.A. and M.A. in Media Arts and Technology from Michigan State University, two degrees which I consider mostly decorative in my chosen field.* When I made the decision to move here, there was no specific reason to do so, but several small ones: It was an easy move, I didn't need a car, I was close to family, etc. Furthermore, I always loved this city. I have fond memories from my childhood visiting my grandparents in Elmhurst or going on a class field trip to a Cubs game at Wrigley with my father (the school made up some rationalization about batting averages teaching statistics or what not...needless to say I didn't learn much about statistics and still don't know much about batting averages, but I did learn about the wonders of Chicago food, another motivation to move here). 

Perhaps the biggest reason for the move, and what I've told many people, is that I simply…