I started making 2D animations in MarioPaint when I was 8. When I was 10 I got TrueSpace and moved into the 3rdD. Most of my work belonged to (or I made it part of) my Realms of Chaos canon, which you can look into here.
In terms of screenwriting, I had finished the screenplay for a reflexively stylized fully CG dinosaur film about star-crossed lovers when I was 11, before Jurassic Park had hit theaters or I knew the plot of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet. By 13 I also had a screenplay written about mystical tribal warriors who lived in an eternal blizzard and a temporal loophole, and could “free their minds” to combat each other any way they imagined, choreographed to Stabbing Westward songs, two years before The Matrix came out (robbed!). The screenplays for a trilogy of Realms of Chaos films were written by the time I was 15.
It wasn’t until I was 16 that I actually picked up a video camera and just started making gangster genre pastiches with my little brother and his friends. I then joined the Video Journalism program in high school, where I was on the Debate beat. That led to a stint as lead anchor for the intraschool morning news program (for which I also did the 3D animated titles) and occasionally subjected the student body to music videos I did for Prodigy and Chevelle tracks… lol.
I switched majors from Symbolic Systems to Film & Media Studies in the winter of 2006, more or less immediately upon exposure to the candle scene from Andrej Tarkovsky’s Nostalghia. On the encouragement of my academic advisor, I sought hands-on film production coursework elsewhere, specifically enrolling in NYU Tisch’s Summer Sight & Sound program. There I learned the ropes of light metering, field mic’ing, Steinbeck editing, and working an antique 16mm camera. Upon returning to Stanford in the fall, I made films for Campus Movie Fest and the Insomniac Film Festival, and leveraged these and my NYU work to skip Stanford’s regular film workshop and jump right into the Advanced Film Workshop. In AFW I produced one short film for the “Outside the Box” Pumpkin Pie Film Festival, then recruited the contacts I made there to produce another 3-minute short which ended up ballooning into my heftiest undertaking thus far: a 25-minute film for the Stanford Film Society’s 2007 Student Film Festival “Cinema on the Edge.”
Check out my film criticism here: