I think these questions or their answers stay with you all your life in some form or fashion. I've been thinking about mine recently. What were my childhood dreams?
My first memory of what I wanted to be was an Italian. I think because I liked spaghetti. Then for some reason I wanted to be a dentist. This is still a mystery. Maybe because I went to one. Those were preschool thoughts.
When I started to seriously think about it, as seriously as a child does, there was a space theme. Pretty common for someone born in the sixties ('69). I wanted to be an astronaut. I wanted to go to the moon or walk in space or anything as long as it was out of our atmosphere. Then I wanted to be an aerospace engineer. One of those guys that sat in mission control smoking Kool Cigarettes or pipes pushing buttons and speaking into headsets. I thought that might be a back way to get to space. Then I had dreams of becoming an astronomer. If I couldn't go to space, then perhaps I could stare at it every night. I'm realizing now that I had a tendency to get more and more practical for some reason.
Star Wars, Close Encounters, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and E.T. changed my life. I wanted to make movies. I wanted to be an actor. I wanted to work for Industrial Light and Magic. I needed to be a part of that. I needed to make my own magic. Those films were so wonderful. ILM was an obsession. I drew sketches of ships. I made models and masks, I studied storyboards. I loved "making of" documentaries and books. Motion control photography, go-motion animation, steadycams, blue screens, sound effects. I told myself that I wanted to act and I'd become an actor by working behind the scenes, but really I wanted to be on a crew. I wanted to pull the lens or troubleshoot an action sequence.
I finally decided that I should be a cinematographer. I'd go to film school and study Nestor Almendros or Gordon Willis or Haskell Wexler or Michael Ballhaus or even Barry Sonnefeld. But the Internet got in the way and here I am.
Here is a list of some of my childhood dreams:
1. Go into space
2. be a baseball player/hit a homerun/do something with baseball
3. Work for ILM or George Lucas/Make a special effects movie
4. Be in a band
5. Live in Europe
6. Invent something
7. Be an artist
8. Be an actor
9. Join a motorcycle gang
10. Be an astronomer
I had others. Some were more fleeting. But many are still with me. Sometimes I wonder why I can't or am not doing any of them. Are we told to forget our childhood dreams? Are we told to grow up? Is that what's expected?
I live across the street from a country firehouse. It's a training station as well. Right now I'm looking over and seeing the new recruits gathered and learning about whatever it is they learn. I wonder how many of them wanted to be a "fireman". I wonder how many of them are fulfilling their childhood dreams. I hope all of them. That would be cool.