At the age of 14, I went to the movie theater quite a lot. It was a simple formula: look at the movie times section of the paper, cross over the movies with reviews from Rotten Tomatoes, call up a cousin or two, go to movie. Many times I found myself watching something of sincerely great quality, while other times I found myself gazing at a film that was just plain good.

An example of the “good” is movie like Michael Mann’s “Collateral” starring Tom Cruise as the smooth and deadly hitman Vincent, and Jamie Foxx as the aspiring entrepreneur-cab driver Max; the two characters within the film share a dynamic relationship that is humoring but also full of conflict. I remember viewing this film with my father at my side, and since then I imagine this to be a father-son thriller film. A “good” movie that one can enjoy in a movie theater without needing to fulfill certain important prerequisites, such as a film school education, or belonging to a niche group somewhere out in the deep recesses of the film-viewing public.

At the age of 23 I have decided to do what seems more impossible than probable, and more ludicrous than logical: become a professional screenwriter – although I do see myself quite the novelist; go figure.

As an aspiring screenwriter, I have the desire to create something that is “good.” It is common for all of us writers to imagine a world in which our art says something deep about humanity, something bold, something intrinsic but also not yet discovered. This is the first thought that permeates my mind, it causes the firing of neurons and a dopamine trail is left behind in the same fashion as a a jet stream flowing behind a passenger air plan across dawn-fuilled skyline.

“Write Something Great – Write Something Great.”

And on – And on – And on.

And you quickly become Vincent from Collateral with all of his smooth talk, deadly accuracy, and upswinging confidence that gives him the energy to fulfill all tasks at hand no matter how challenging. But the brutality of the mountain you climb-called Mount “The writing process”- is realized, and you look up and see no summit, no end, just obstacles, and the weather is horrendous, and cold chills crash against your face; you feel up against an immovable force, something greater than you. This is much like Max, whose ambition to create a luxury cab company seems honest but his progress is lacking, and he deluded his sick mother into believing that he works for “important people” when it is obvious that he is just another cab driver in a giant metropolis, not an interesting thing about him, or unique. And a case can be made that Max is too inundated by the great task he seeks to perform, so he just drifts.

On the other hand, Vincent does everything he wants, anything he feels, and no task is too great for him; this is why he is an assassin because his ability to kill others is entrenched in the confidence he has to do anything he desires. And why not get paid to pull off the ultimate crime: get away with murder.

Writers are not murderers, but we do get away with murder – just read a comedy off of the blacklist and see how it rubs against your liberal arts education etc. That takes some balls, in the way it takes vincent some serious “huevos” to murder an asian mob boss in his own club, and also murder a detective from the LAPD, all within a span of fifteen “movie minutes.”

So, yes, to write something great you need balls, balls of steel, like giant boulders that not only roll down mountains and crush everything in their path, but also can defy gravity and roll up mountains. Yes: gravity defying balls.

The downswing: do I have those kinds of balls?

Futbol lover, Writer of Film and Fiction, wanderer of two worlds.

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