The Smallest of Things

This has been a momentous week for me.

What has happened, you might ask? Did I get a job? No. (Well, actually sort of, but it doesn’t really count as a real job.) Did I get my degree conferred? Perhaps, my successful completion of college might have been confirmed by UCLA, but I still don’t get a diploma, and I won’t until the end of June – which is not, by the way, when I walk the stage. Despite finishing a couple of months before everyone else and having my degree conferred a month before I walk the stage, I still won’t be handed a diploma, and it won’t even be ready at that point. I don’t know how UCLA can expect to teach us time management when they’re clearly not very good at it. Also management of finances seems to be difficult for them, so I’ll just blame the school for my frivolous spending ways. At any rate, I think I can still use the privileges of a UCLA student for a while longer, so I’m still sort of stuck in limbo. Also, there was never really any reason to doubt that my degree would be conferred, so the email informing as such isn’t really all that surprising.

So what could have happened that’s gotten me so excited?

The best movies ever made, the full versions of which were never shown in theaters, are going to be playing on big screens for one night each this June.

If you’ve heard from me recently, you probably already know what I’m talking about, and even if you haven’t, if you know me well enough, you can probably guess. Lord of the Rings has been a longtime obsession for me, and not only the longest, but probably the … what would the adjective be? Strongest? Deepest? Most alarming? 
Suffice it to say, I quite enjoy these movies and books. In fact, I think that people who know me now probably don’t understand the level at which I’m obsessed with these movies. As crazy as I might be about it now, it is substantially muted compared to what it used to be.

Lord of the Rings hit me right at that special age where kids become just generally obsessive, right around middle school. Think about it, think about what you were obsessed with between maybe 9 and 14, and think about just how crazy you were about it (are you still obsessed with it? At the very least, you probably still hold it in a special place in your heart). It’s the despised “teeny-bopper” phase, the period of life that screaming teenagers are borne from. It’s this period that we can blame for the Twilight phenomenon. Fortunately, in my generation, there was a much better movie to get hooked on…

There are plenty of stories about me and my 12-year-old obsession, and if you didn’t experience it, you can hunt down one of the people I went to middle school with and root out the truth. But here’s the important bit. After seeing these movies, I decided what I was going to do when I grew up. The idea that things like this could be made, and that there was a slight chance that I could be a part of it – that was one of the most incredible realizations I had ever had.

Getting a degree, getting work, moving onwards and upwards – those are big deals, to be sure. But not so big as suddenly knowing what you want to do for the rest of your life. That sounds terribly cheesy, but I think it’s true. It’s something to anchor to. Sometimes I wonder, all the huge decisions we make once we’re older – what school to go to, what major to study, which jobs to pursue – how they compare with the decisions we make when we’re  little kids who still think that Hogwarts really could exist.

It had such a profound effect on me as a 9-year-old that it made me want to make films. The next day I got my parents’ Super 8 movie camera and started to do stop-motion animation with a clay dinosaur.

-Peter Jackson, about a Harryhausen film

The potential effects of the formative years has some worrying repercussions. I worry about the Twilight generation. Not only will they have extremely lowered expectations for literature and film, but they may be inextricably doomed to a life of waiting, even subconsciously, for a pale, sparkly mind-reader. My twelve-year-old decision to be a part of the next monumental  epic in filmmaking seems much more practicable in comparison. And that may be an encouraging thought. 

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  1. Donald

     /  April 30, 2011

    Those movies are def the most epic movies ever made. I really wish I could watch those movies on the big screen. It was cool reading about how these movies affected you so much and your decision to make films.

  2. Annie Hines

     /  May 3, 2011

    You write so well. I love reading these little snippets. You’re pretty smart. Good job, UCLA!


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