It Took Orlando

I sat in a bar tonight, surrounded by friends (some of whom I haven't seen in a few years) in a town I haven't visited in almost 3 years and felt good. There is a vibe to being around school, around all that creative desire again that sort of took a new breath of air in.

The first moment was when I started driving down Colonial and I recognized a Best Buy that I had almost applied to when I was getting desperate for cash (before moving back in with my Mom for a year)... All these emotions of wanting to be a filmmaker, move to Los Angeles and "make it big" came back. All these desires that film is all I know and all I ever will know.

I also remember feeling so alone. I was still in the closet and afraid of who I thought I might be. There was a tension and uneasiness to the future that I held so close. So many of my films in school were about being closeted and alone.

The Time Keeper's Quandary: about a guy who can't seem to make a decision. First a girl comes, then a guy... by the end of the piece a whole crowd is surrounding him. Until he suddenly feels boxed in. He closes in on himself.

The Unread Masterpiece: a guy who is writing, so desperate to make his mark. Make his masterpiece, that by the time he finishes it - no one is around to read it. The world has ended.

Afternoon Phone Call (aka Early November): a phone conversation with someone else. A man or a woman - I found that exciting. NO one suspected that he may be speaking to another guy.

These films all had these hints of who I am. It was intoxicating. I found so much joy and relief in filmmaking. I could tell these stories about how my life was going. What I felt. I could perform therapy on myself through these films.

Lonely Lights was my coming out film. But in a way that wasn't necessarily a "coming out" film. It wasn't about that - it was about coming out - as me. As Ben. I find it rewarding when I tell people that Lonely Lights has had a Gay Film Festival circuit and they seem sort of shocked... as if - what does that mean? It's not a gay movie?

I think it's important to change the tone and ideas and language of cinema. Not that I'm some great artist, but playing Outfest in a room full of very gay men and women, a film I made was a very proud moment for me. And a moment that I didn't know I was proud of until a few weeks ago.

I guess, I'm still learning.