A few days ago I asked for suggestions for what to blog on and James suggested I talk about when I realized I was a cinephile i.e. a film lover. So today I am going to tell you a bit about my film diaries and their role in my life as a cinephile.
At the end of 2002 when I was 16 - that is a bizarre though - I decided that for the next year I would write down every single film I watched in a diary. I can't really remember why I came up with this idea but it became my project over the next few years. I kept it up from the beginning of 03 the the very end of 2005 - I think possibly 09 as well but I haven't got proof.So if I did one after that I can't currently remember! I am having a (very) bad memory day *cough*lifetime*cough*.
Now let me get something straight, when I say diary it important that you are not picturing some fancy leather bound journal with my initials embossed into the corner and gold lettering on the spine. On the contrary my precious film diary is 9 sheets of white A4 paper folded in half and stapled. I am a simple being. These 9 sheets of paper saw me through all three years but is looking a bit worse for wear now.
Let me start with 2003. The cover is decorated in blue and black biros and I think one of those Berol pens you get for school because you think they are cool but actually it just means you have to write with the pen dead straight upright. I seem to have gone for writing 'Helen's film diary' in random style of fonts with GRR added underneath. I was obviously annoyed at something in 03. It is also adorned by lots of stars, spirals and general doodles including a snails. I used to draw snails a lot. I don't know why!
The cover of 2004's diary simply sayd 'Helen's film diary' in block 3D lettering, again in classy biro. This one doesn't even have any doodles. Perhaps I had a creativity slump in 2004 whereas in 2005 I had a creativity overdrive. 2005's cover says 'Helen's' in a big kazaam kind of explosion (in full colour I might add), film in a kind of attempt at 20s Hollywood poster fonts and diary in a thought bubble.... with ribbons and feathers for an unspecified reason. I also added a 3D block font 2005, AND, get this, a film reel in the background that says 5-4-3-2-1 LIGHTS CAMERA ACTION. It is pretty awesome.
So in 03, 04 and 05 I watched a total of 672 films which, considering I was at school and had little income, I'd say is pretty good going. The first page of 2003 starts with the date I watched a film, the title of the film, who it is directed by, and my rating out of ten. I can tell you that this lasted until 3rd February when I dropped the director. It was only the following day that I dropped the rating as well and from then on it was just the titles. The only additional information was CIN indicating I saw the film at the cinema and DVD, denoting a, surprise surprise, a DVD. By the way, it is interesting seeing the introduction of DVDs into my life. I can tell you I watch just 16 DVDs in all of 2003, 50 in 2004 and then 64 in 2005.
From skimming through the diaries I can see that several films pop up at repeat watches very often. These are the Back to the Future trilogy, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, School of Rock and The Mummy films. Thinking back I can remember these being those films that I could just watch over and over (and did) because they just cheered me up.
Anyway perhaps because of this diary I became very conscious and aware of the films I was consuming. It was during 2005 that I began doing my Film and Media STudies degree. One of my assignments was to write a paper on my relationship with a certain type of media. I chose films and used my diary as a reference point.
By this time I had also began my film database. I took all of these films and put them on an Excel spreadsheet with the amount of times I watched them (I would impress you with some figures now but it isn't on this computer, it is backed up somewhere deep and dark). I also added a personally written synopsis for every single film using the Radio Times 2005 film guide as a help. I love my film guide, only trouble is how out of date they get! I need a new one now!
It was during these years while I kept up my diary that I became a cinephile. I began to note film watching as more than a hobby, as a part of my life. I obviously felt like noting down what I watched which is almost a sign of the respect I have for filmmaking in itself. Although I do not still do this James and I do have He said, she said which is a film blog. I almost feel it is an extension of my diaries - a place where I can recognise film watching as an occasion even if I watch more than one a day.
I enjoyed watching films before 2003 but these were the years I decided I wanted film to be a part of my life. And while I don't still consider editor or director as a career path (partly due to the 15,000 a year tuition fee, partly because I am not sure I'd be assertive enough) it is a still a massive part of my life. I am so lucky to have found James who shares this love and feeling towards the world of lights and celluloid (or IMAX or digital or whatever these newfangled whotsits are).
QUESTION OF THE DAY: WHEN DID YOU FIRST DIISCOVER YOUR BIG PASSION IN LIFE (WHATEVER THAT MIGHT BE)?
My answer: Another passion of mine is art which I discovered early on from doing crafts and watching art children's programmes. But I really developed a love of sketching when I did art A-level (when I was 17/18) and realized I wasn't as bad I originally though.