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Chasing Thunderstorms

Last Saturday afternoon, dark blue clouds closed in on Grayville. I got into my car, rode all the way to one of our film sets, hoping to catch that lightening stroke above the "evil empire's headquarters" on film.
Or the rain as it crossed the gray waters near us.
Thunderstorms are incredibly powerful images on film and in real life: they scare you, or calm you, or fascinate you...with their lightening bolts illuminating y/our selective view of the world for that millisecond of life.
Impossible not to notice.
Come to think of it, they are my this world's experience of Japanese earthquakes: the true power of nature. Experiencing a single moment in our lives as humans, simultaneously making timetables, continual obligations, and assignments run late meaningless.
As I have begun to collect little close-ups with my students in preparation of a - somewhat heroic - trailer for our film, I am delighted to be able to catch them in those moments of post-production well after they took possession of their characters that I wrote for them. For tiny moments at a time, we can get lost in those miniture incidents where this world and that - creative - world transcend their boundaries and become one. When I can shout out  "Love it" - meaning their acting or gesture or tone of voice is beyond all of my imagination - and they are happy too, because they enjoy that unbelievable feat of slipping into an imaginary world AND be themselves for the blink of an eye.
Then lightening and thunder are in absolute sync.
To experience those moments seems entirely selfish to me as a writer and producer. I am forever thankful for my students to allow me to catch them in those instances.
The magic of lightening lies in the unpredictabiliy of its form and shape and strength and brightness. The extend to which my students shine is equally unlimited, unpredictable. Their power to do so never fails to amaze me and, honestly, I cannot get enough of it. It is my greatest joy.
The weather forecast predicts new thunderstorms for the coming Saturday. My car's tank is full, my camera's battery loaded. Perhaps I will be able to catch the thunderstorm this time. It would make a fantastic backdrop for ...
I survive the daily catastrophes, the scheming behind the university's policies, the endless bureaucratization of life by dreaming up imaginary lives and ocassionally finding people who share those dreams. In those rare moments of filmmaking with my students dreams come alive.
I will not apologize for my casual escape.
Thunderstorms remind us of our natural powers and surprise us with their random beauty. I want to soak up their energy and feel the rain pouring down on me. If lightening ever hits me, you will know I smiled.

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