Ever since I was a kid I loved television.
Growing up I knew every theme song to my favorite childhood shows and I knew the tv guide like the back of my hand. On vacations, the guides were always different so I’d go and find my favorite channels before we even unpacked. For me, television was a priority, and as I got older film made its way to the forefront of my life.
It’s hard for me to think about my life without these mediums of entertainment being in them. For many people, including myself, the screen was an escape. Allowing myself to get caught up in sci-fi or the incredible worlds of fantasy provides a space to get away from the monotony of life.
The feeling I get after finishing a great movie or tv show is almost unmatched. The moment “the end” rolls across my screen I feel like there’s nothing I can’t do. As a kid, I took that feeling to the extreme. I thought I could be just like my favorite superheroes on the big screen, saving the day, fighting off evildoers, flying, and moving things with my mind.
While I knew that most of the feats I saw on the screen weren’t possible, as I grew older I realized that good tv and good movies should make you feel like you could do those impossible things that no human can do.
An artist in any medium should have a feeling that they’re trying to convey. Ultimately, their art is up to the interpretation of the public. However, great art separates itself from the crowd when it makes audiences feel the emotion the art was trying to portray.
Aside from filling my childhood with dreams of becoming a superhero, what I was watching inspired me to make the next big show, movie or comic book. In elementary school, we were given the freedom to create. So in my spare time, I tried to make a graphic novel version of my favorite show in the first grade, Prehistoric Park.
It was a fictional documentary series about Nigel Marvin, a man who would go back in time and bring dinosaurs to his park in the present to save them from extinction. As a fan of dinosaurs in my youth, I watched this series more times than I can count. So from time to time, I would color in dinosaurs on my paper in an attempt to retell one of my favorite stories. Unfortunately, the unfinished book is tucked away somewhere in my house.
Marvel and DC Comics were also inspiring to me. To this day my dad and I watch their shows and movies when they come out. These two superhero hubs were the reason I begged my mom for a cartoonist book. I wanted to learn how to draw so I could start the next Marvel. So when my mom finally got me what I’d been wishing for, I got to work. I started the infamous Trimary Comics, in hopes of making it big one day.
I began with the origin story of my first superhero, The Whip, a college student studying zoology who got his powers on a trip to Africa. Once again, just like my graphic novel, I never finished it. I only created the cover and the first page. But for these films and shows to push a little fourth grader to spend hours drawing and writing to make something special is still incredible to me.
As I moved through middle school, and high school and eventually made it to college my love for the screen never faded. A year ago I made a list of movies, shows and anime on my phone that I have to watch. The list expands frequently but I’m proud to say I’ve tackled a lot of what I’ve written down. This list has resulted in me watching what would become my two favorite movies of all time.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Her.
From cinematography, to acting, to music and writing these films have it all. With both of these films being in the romance and sci-fi categories, it was hard for me not to like them. But I never expected to be as captivated by them as I was.
After seeing both of these films I told myself, “I want to make something just like this.” When art does that to me it’s a big deal, whether it be a movie or music. The first thing that gave me that feeling was my favorite show of all time, Avatar: The Last Airbender. After a re-watch of the series as a kid, it cemented its spot as my number one and, for the first time, inspired me to make something just like it one day.
On Sep. 19, 2021 the 73rd Emmy Awards took place. In an event that saw no people of color win in a major category television once again found a way to inspire me. On Sep. 19, 2021 at 10:36 p.m., I took to Twitter and pressed send on a tweet that read, “I wanna win an Emmy one day…”
And years from now I hope to be referencing that tweet and this article when I’m giving my acceptance speech onstage.