By Wal Ozello
I know we usually write about rock n roll here on pencilstorm and other life moments. But it's May the Fourth and that's means it's Star Wars Day (May the Fourth/Force be with you - get it?).
So please, allow me to geek out for a moment with an open letter to J.J. Abrams, the director and writer for the new Star Wars movie.
Dear J.J. Abrams:
I'm sure by now you've started filming the next Star Wars movie: Episode VII, titled who knows what. It may sound crazy, but I hope you're not sleeping at night.
I hope that at 2 a.m. in the morning you wake up, tossing and turning, and then never fall back to sleep. I hope your mind is filled with excitement and anxiety that you just can't shake.
Let's face it, this is the most exciting thing you'll ever do in your life. Sure, you've done Lost, Alias, the Star Trek reboot, and a bunch of other things that the average filmmaker would love to have at the top of their resume.
But this is STAR WARS. The biggest film story ever. It's magic. Pure magic. And you're at the helm. I assure you, and billions of fans would agree with me, you're doing the most important thing in your life ever.
It's the equivalent of taking the first step on the moon, coining the word Rock N Roll or even inventing the light bulb. This is huge. While you're in the midst of it, I hope you take a moment to look around and see Luke Skywalker, Princess Leia, and Han Solo instead of Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and Harrison Ford. At that moment it's okay to say to yourself, "HOLY SHIT I CAN'T BELIEVE I'M DOING THIS."
Then also realize that you can't mess this up. The pressure is just as huge as the moment is. Could you imagine what would have happened if Neil Armstrong tripped coming out of the Lunar Module? You could do that. All you need to do is take a look at the prequels to understand the potential failure here.
Listen... think about it this way. Someone just handed you Frank Lloyd Wright's Falling Waters and asked you to build an addition. Or pulled you into a music studio and asked you to write new additional few songs for Pink Floyd's The Wall.
If you mess this up you'll never be able to show your face in public again. You'll be the Jar Jar Binks of Hollywood. We can forgive George Lucas for the prequels because, hey, he made Star Wars to begin with but we'll never forgive you if you mess this up.
See right now, all of us movie lovers are drowning in superheros and wizards. From Marvel and DC to Potter and Gandalf, we are stuck watching guys in spandex fly around in New York City or wizards leading short people around to battle dragons, find horcruxes and destroy a ring. We need this Star War movie to be great. We need manna from heaven. We need you to be our Moses, part the red sea, and lead us from the world of comics and fantasy novels.
Please make this the best thing ever. Give us a new hope. A hope that movies don't need to be overproduced to be fun. That they don't need to be over thought and intertwined with a million other movie and television plots. We want to enjoy going to the movies again!
So when you're on set, and the pressure is piling on, let go and go with your gut instinct. Be like Luke during the trench run on the Death Star. Forget all the training and technical instruction you've learned with filmmaking. Forget all the rules and certainly don't listen to the Disney generals who are calling the shots, yelling at you for turning off your targeting computer. Instead, go with your gut. Go with what feels right. That's message behind the first Star Wars movie - when you go with your raw inner instincts and believe in yourself, everything will work out well in the end.
We're all wishing you the best J.J. and can't wait to see what you do.
Wal Ozello is the author of the science fiction thriller, Assignment 1989: The Time Travel Wars and lifelong Star Wars fan. He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.