Tom Cruise Blog Guest Writer Phaylen Fairchild: What Film Means To Me

From the Official Blog:

Here it is! The first official guest blog entry, submitted by Phaylen Fairchild from New York!

“What Film Means To Me”

The first film I remember seeing as a child was The Wizard of Oz. My Father had decided that, at 6 years old, I was mature enough for my first cinematic adventure. We lived in a small Victorian town on the shores of Lake Erie in Northwest Ohio, so quite often the films that played were classics; Alfred Hitchcock films, old Doris Day movies, they were their specialty.

I was far more impressed by the sheer magnitude of the theater than by the grainy black and white images on the screen. The high ceiling with ornate woodwork fascinated me, as did that speck of light coming from somewhere in the back of the mammoth sized room. I was a precocious child and felt the need to know everything.

I remember quite vividly my Father taking my arms and insisting I turn around in my seat, but the dim world around me was far too fascinating to be ignored. A second tug on my arm ensued after I realized those cloth covered seats folded up into themselves.

“Turn around and stop fidgeting,” He scolded.

I slumped down into my chair and decided I would do what any indignant six year old would do, I would pout. I pushed out my bottom lip, waiting for him to notice the devastation in my little eyes, and melt with regret. In those moments, and quite inadvertently, my eyes found the screen in front of me, a mere four rows back from it. Dorothy’s house had just landed in Oz resulting in the undoing of the Wicked Witch of the East, as she moved toward the door and apprehensively pushed it open, I was immediately captured. The world was suddenly filled with the most vibrant colors and hues that have ever been captured on film. I sat entranced, and found myself deeply concerned with the perils of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion.

“Why is she throwing fire at the Scarecrow? She’ll burn him!” I exclaimed with intensity etched on my face. “Why are the going to sleep in the flowers? They were almost there!” I said further in, and in the following scene where their images appeared in the Wicked Witch of the West’s crystal ball I turned my head and said with great disparity, “Ohhh, noo.” My reaction invoked a few chuckles from several rows back which I ignored, again, my Father shushed me.

As we left the cinema and walked toward our 78′ Nova parked alongside the curb, I felt the most overwhelming disappointment- Not in the film, but in the fact that it was over.

It was a milestone in my life, one I can only see in looking back today. From that moment on I acquired an insatiable hunger for storytelling, and I consumed every film I could get access to. To me, they were possibly the closest thing to true magic. Indeed, there is a vast power in films. The power to make you curl into your neighbors arms and scream. The power to invoke emotion as you, if you’re like my mother, sit stiff lipped and narrow-eyed to refrain from crying. (I thought she would hyperventilate when Bambi’s mother was shot. Her stiff lip totally failed her.) Therein lies the magic. When we step into a darkened theater for two hours, we hand ourselves over to master storytellers; and there are many in the process. The actors who bring the characters to life in flesh and bone; the composer who cues his score with a beautiful precision that strengthens key moments; The director who frames each shot for maximum impact, not altogether unlike the page of a book on which words lay; And of course, the writer, the storyteller, where the journey begins. Together they craft another world for us to lose ourselves, if only for awhile.

I knew early on that it was the path I needed to follow. And I did. At 16 years old I had my first story published, and then in high school directed my own self written Christmas play. I stood in the wings waiting a climactic moment when the blind man was given the gift of sight again, and we had crafted hundred s of Christmas lights around the auditorium to allow the audience to experience that moment with the character. I was ripe with anxiety as I peered into the audience toward the 9th grader with the electric cord to give him his cue… and I noticed a little boy in the front row situated in a seat that seemed to swallow him up. He slid to the left, then to the right, and his Father took his arms and whispered something into his ear that I couldn’t hear.

And then he pouted.

The lights came up, red white and green, drenching my very first audience in a world of color. Through the waves of Oohs and Aahs my eyes found that little boy, and he was sitting quite still, a smile situated on his face as he turned he gazed around the transformed room and then back to the stage.

And I thought to myself…

“I know you.”

Want to let Phaylen know what you think about her blog? Go ahead and leave a comment!

Click to register for the exclusive monthly newsletter!

Click to add this Blog to Your iGoogle Page!

  • Darwin Eisenhart

    Very nicely written! It reminds me of my own early experiences in a dimly lit theater in Benton Harbor Michigan in the 1960′s. Sitting with my parents, and watching James Bond 007 movies. One of my most memorable experiences was going with my older sister to see Oliver Twist in 1968 (I was 8 years old). It changed my life in many ways, and started me talking with an English accent whenever I wanted to pretend I was the Artful Dodger. Phaylen, your story pulls the reader in, and sweeps us up in the detailed descriptions that invokes an emotional connection. Well done!

  • Fizz

    Hello Phaylen,
    congratulations on being chosen by my dream hero:)
    Your write up is crisp and enticing.Someday I hope to see your name in the theatre as a copywriter of a megamovie.cheers!

  • Sasy Scarborough

    As usual, whether reading a blog post of yours, or sitting and listening to you live; you moved me to teary eyes..I unlike your Mum have never ever been able to stiff upper lip it. This was a beautiful post on the experiences you have had, and now shared to let them be experiences of our own. I admire you more and more every time you let us see another layer to the many that are you.


  • Pooky Amsterdam

    Great blog Phaylen, we are moved together in the great collective dark the theater envelops us in and your post is so full with moments that last a lifetime, resonant and clear.
    How we are shaped and transformed by the truly moving (in more ways than one) images, stories, sights and sounds you capture spot on!
    Thank you for this great share from you to us.

  • soamiUnsums

    nice design!= and greate news

  • Dryca Lys

    I liked this idea. I will make some references search. And I will begin write. But I write every day.
    Thanks to give to us this opportunity

    Dryca Congratulations my hero.

  • Rosy Calvin

    Movies have always been the magic of our lives. Without the actors in these art creations, our imaginations would be blank. It is because of film that many go out and actually do what they want in life. If not for that one inspirational speach, or the meaning of the musical score. Movies are what makes us happy. I have MS and I am a 5 time cancer survivor. I know that movies got me through the very worse of my pain. They made me laugh, cry and think. Thank you to all of the actors past, present and future or bringing us joy and magic!

  • Knockysleense

    We need to assist needy countries, because even little help can save someone’s life.