In 2007 I wanted to be Indiana Jones. I was twelve years old, and starting to wonder what I wanted to do with my life—for real this time—not like when I was four and wanted to be that guy on the back of the dump truck that got to jump off and toss the garbage bags into the back of the truck. It wasn’t like when I was six and wanted to work pumping gas because I loved the smell of petrol. I was old enough to know that aiming to become a sanitary worker or a gas station attendant wasn’t exactly setting my sights very high, but I wasn’t quite old enough to understand that the study of archeology was a far cry from what Spielberg portrayed in the Indiana Jones trilogy. So I adored Indiana Jones, and I loved to build things—specifically Legos. I swear my Lego collection combined with that of my older brothers’ created a literal hoard of multi colored toe-breaking plastic bricks.
December of 2007 was the month in which the Indiana Jones Lego series was released. I had to have every Lego set featuring the second plastic reincarnation of my favorite action star ever. I already had Harrison Ford as little plastic Han Solo, and was shaking in my boots for December 25th- when I’d surely have little plastic Doctor Jones to add to my collection. (On a side note, I swear I will buy my first Lego set after my long brick building hiatus if they ever release Harrison Ford as little plastic Deckard from Blade Runner). Christmas came around, and sure enough I was gifted two new Lego sets both of which were Indiana Jones themed.
The rest of this story comes together with another fateful Christmas gift. My dad bought my mom a brand new digital camera that same Christmas, and this meant that she didn’t need her old one anymore. Being the youngest in the family, I was no stranger to hand-me-downs; I had my first camera. A few days later I was playing around with my new toys and introduced photography to my Lego collection. What followed was something that I thought was some kind of momentous breakthrough in the world of photography. I would later learn that it was something called “Stop-Motion”. I realized that if I took a picture, moved a Lego figure, took another picture, moved them again, and repeated this process, I could recreate the iconic chase scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Being a resourceful young millennial, I used the internet to figure the rest of this whole stop-motion thing out, made myself a YouTube channel, and posted it for the world to see. I felt something foreign to me when I made this retrospectively shoddy 1-frame-per-second animation. I felt like I was doing something—well, for a lack of a better term—really freaking cool.
A few years later I found myself abandoning my Lego figures in favor of my friends who I had gotten hooked on this time based media train. I had a little production team- a camera man wielding my trusty used digital SLR I bought when I got tired of my mom’s old camcorder. All I had to do was post on Twitter that I needed actors, and my high school classmates would come to my aid. By the time I had finished the twelfth grade I had assembled a number of personal productions including a 26-minute-long Quentin Tarantino parody titled “Back Water Cats”, a surreal and frankly silly crime drama directed by and starring yours truly as Waldo from the Where’s Waldo book series (in which Waldo was a particularly hard to find serial murderer) called “Come Find Me”, and a mortifyingly amateur found footage horror flick I’d prefer not to talk about.
I think I know what I want to do with my life, and I owe that to little plastic Indiana Jones. That may be a little bold, as it may be more fitting to announce that I know the general field I want to pursue. I am eternally grateful I spent these four years at college acquiring invaluable guidance, proficiency in film software and hardware, and an eye for filling a frame. I am surely a shoe-in for that position as a gas station attendant.