Don’t Drop The Ball

Posted on by Scott Caseley

I, for one have never liked the idea of a ball dropping being the symbol of a year coming to an end and a new one dawning. It just runs counterintuitive to my very nature. Why celebrate the passage of time with dropping the ball? Shouldn’t we hoist something into the air to mark another year striving toward ascension of some sort instead?

On New Year’s Day, I went to see “Interstellar”, the film by Christopher Nolan whose career I have followed since well “Following”, his debut back in 1999. He was an inspiration to me, since we completed our first features around the same time. Both of our inaugural projects were experimental, however, his unlike mine was quite successful and led to the movie that became his breakthrough, “Memento”. Both films dealt with the issue of time, a recurrent theme that flows through all of his work to one degree or another.

“Interstellar”, though, that really hooked me. I have seen thousands upon thousands of films in my life. Sadly, I have become so skeptical about finding one to escape into. Only a small handful has moved me in my adult life. I’ve become very particular, and I hold films to a very high standard. Everything from the acting to the direction and everything in between has to reach an echelon of greatness for me to thoroughly enjoy my movie going experience.

While, “The Empire Strikes Back” was the movie that made me want to become a filmmaker, I did not have a singular film that stood out to me as “The Best Film I Have Ever Seen” throughout childhood. Then, at sixteen, that all changed. My dad, my constant cinematic experience companion and I watched, “Citizen Kane”. Right away, the storyline, the deep focus cinematography, the acting, mise en scene, etc., just convinced me, I need to stop dreaming this, and I need to do this. Then, when I found out he was 25 when he did the writing, directing along with starring in it, I said, “I will do my first film as a young man too.”

Many, many years later, I have been very fortunate to realize that dream of becoming a film director. And, I have tried to encourage others to follow their passions too. I want to help others to see that dreams are attainable as mine were. They don’t have to be large, they can be any size you want them to be, you just need to feel like you can do it and go for it. Cynicism can overtake us, it can make us feel like we’re destined to never reach above mediocrity, and sometimes an escape from the day to day life is what is needed to bring about the optimism again.

“Interstellar” has a core theme that books, knowledge, and love all become what can truly save us and help us to achieve the impossible. These three things are of high importance to me. And, the crucial thing to realize is that it takes all different kinds of books, knowledge, and love to save us. This theme and the execution of it really awakened in me so much appreciation for film again, and the power it can wield if done properly. Nolan and his team all operated on full thrusters, yes, I had to use a space travel pun. For all of the 166 minutes, my eyes were glued to the screen and my ears to the speakers. I have seen Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Michael Caine, and Jessica Chastain in many projects over the years, but I totally allowed myself to forget that that was whom I was watching. Instead, their characters took over. And, when that happened, my childlike wonder joined them on the screen. Now, I’m inspired again. I’m ready to do a new challenge, and take my goals to the next level. Don’t know what that means yet, but, hey, it’s only January 2nd, the year has only just begun . . . I will just toss a few balls into the air and see how far each ascends.

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