Shaunn Grulkowski

When I was a kid, there was only one thing I wanted to do: I wanted to make movies.

Mind you, I was a kid in the late eighties and early nineties, back before we could even conceive of how a body got into make movies in the first place, let alone be encouraged be a reasonable parent to do so. The best we could hope for was ten minutes of an A&E biography of Steven Spielberg, where some family member or another would make a vague statement about little Steve and Super-8, whatever that was.

It was a pre-Final Cut era, as goofy as that seems.

As the Fall turned to other Falls, and I bobbed aimlessly into my teenage years in the mid-to-late nineties, I put away the childish pursuit of film, and turned to a serious ambition, for serious men, in serious suits. I decided I would be a journalist. As it turned out, however, the route to becoming a serious reporter was nearly as circuitous and byzantine as being a director. Also, it was real work. Lots of it. Research, sources, getting phones hung up on you. Unfortunately, I was a boy of extremely fragile constitution, with a terrible aversion to doing things accurately, and on time. So, adios, periodismo.

That put a pin in any ambitions for a while. I did what most people do, which is to say, not a whole lot. I just sort of blithely fell into the working world. I’m not knocking it, and I’m still a part of it, as most of us are, but there was still something rattling around my skull that needed to be addressed.

I loved telling stories.

Whether it was coming up with the most egregious lie to tell the new person at work, (we’ve all done that, right?) making up the plot of a movie I’d never seen to distract a rambunctious nephew from rooting around in any drawer in my living room, or just retelling an anecdote that I’ve told so many times, that it was no longer important that I probably hadn’t been one of the principals in the story to begin with. It didn’t matter. I just liked to tell stories, and that’s what filmmaking, journalism, and traditional writing all have in common. Just a little diversion to distract people from the crushing weight of their own bullshit, for a couple of minutes, at least.

It’s the least I could do.