When I was in 3rd grade at Farmingville Elementary school things began to become very competitive, there were picture drawing contests, grades became important, sports started to matter, and I first began to feel a sense of stress. About halfway through the year something magical happened, I was taken out of class with just a few other kids, to participate in a small accelerated program called “Art Leap”. This was where I could breathe.
The first project “Art Leap” ever did was also the most exciting. I’ll never forget the way the teacher told us, he said “You’re each going to make a movie!” I thought to myself this is the craziest most exciting thing a teacher’s ever said to me! What he did was give us each clear strips of 35mm film only 6 frames long. The idea was that using special paint pens we would draw our story in 6 pictures, then with a light projector we would watch each frame and by the end it would have told a story. Only 6 frames! Genius! We began drawing on the frames the first class and I spent the next week thinking about what my movie should be about. But at the start of the next class the teacher told us there was a problem. We were told the movie project was being cancelled! Perhaps he didn’t “count the cost” as the parable says, but for whatever reason our movies were no more. He even took all our works-in-progress and we never saw them again. I remember I had only begun to draw a tree. The rest of the school year was spent drawing and painting but I would often think about my movie and what it would have been like. It was my first lesson in the emotional cost of filmmaking and unfortunately not my last…
What follows on this website are stories of underdogs, artists, and athletes. Characters who are compelled to rise again after they’ve fallen. Just a few glimpses of what I’ve been working on since my infamous ‘Art Leap’ class.