Friday, November 16, 2012

J.J. Abrams’ Mystery Box


             “Why do I do any of what I do?” Asks Abrams to himself as he humorously kicks off his Ted Speech back in 2007. He says people are usually surprised at the mystery of his projects, including the whole purpose of the island of Lost, which happens to be my all-time favorite TV show. He credits his grandfather for inculcating imagination and creativity in him. 
As the speech goes on, he pulls out a box with a big question mark on it. He bought it decades ago at a magic store with his grandpa and hasn’t opened it; he wants to keep it as homage to him. “It represents infinite possibility, it represents hope, it represents potential,” he says after jokingly asking if he’s allowed to cry at Ted.

            I like his description of mystery, and how it can lead to imagination and infinite possibilities. This part of the speech makes me want to start creating something, whether it is a song, coming up with an idea for a short movie, or trying out a new workout exercise. It also takes me back to Lost and thinking of all the mystery involved in the show; it finally starts to make sense.

            I also find very interesting his talk about analyzing and thinking about the importance of investment in character and the meaning of stories when it comes to films. “E.T. is about divorce, a crooked family, and kid trying to find his way. Jaws is really about a guy who is sort of dealing with his place in the world, with his masculinity, with his family, how he's going to make it work in this new town..." His ability to dig to the root of stories is admirable and reminds one to think deeper when it comes to character and story development.

            “The creation of media is everywhere. I use to say in classes and lectures… Go write, do your thing, you don’t need permission to write; but now I can say, go make your movie. There’s nothing stopping you... No community is best served when only the elite have control." As a fanatic of objects and machines, he encourages aspiring filmmakers like myself to get out there and shoot. Indeed, there is nothing stopping us from getting out there and doing something. This quote will stick with me for a long time because it's true. It's amazing to think where technology will keep going to in the next decade and so.

            This man is a truly inspiring figure in the industry because of his hunger to ask questions, create, and yet leave something mysterious behind. Before this speech, I wasn’t that big of a fan of his, but now it makes me want to look at all of the work he has made and re-visit Lost. For six straight Christmases, this would be a gift from my mom. Each year we would sit down and watch that year's respective season with my cousins. Watching the last episode was a bit melancholic.

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