Having adopted a deconstructionist approach to watching horror films so that they would no longer scare me, I had accidentally affected the way that I would watch all kinds of films by proxy. In trying to protect myself I had accidentally broken this readily available form of escapism. In one sense at least.
As time passed, I found myself growing fascinated with cinema and its inner workings – when it came to choosing subjects to study at college I was sure that I wanted to learn about human psychology to learn about persuasion and study marketing so that I could understand the influences of advertising. I studied Film as an additional course, but soon dropped another class so that I could take it full-time alongside extracurricular world cinema. Everything else became secondary. And though I couldn’t lose myself to a story, by believing it’s characters and being taken into the world created through sight and sound, I would be immersed in a different sense, amazed and engrossed by the processes of cinema. For this reason I feel like I am separated from a true experience. As though there is a barrier between me and the transporting fantasy on screen. I feel like a robot fascinated by love – interested in the mechanical elements, how the pupils dilate and the lips redden, able to understand the functionality but never able to feel it. At least not without being conscious of the fact.
It would take me a while to understand that my own personal fascination with how things worked, how film and television had their own methods of persuasion and manipulation, was not shared by others. I assumed that others would be taken by the methodology at work in things that they saw everyday. I had glimpsed behind the curtain and was excited to share my knowledge, unaware that most people were happier believing in the wizard. Excitedly I would dissect the reality shows that my mother enjoyed watching. ‘That stranger in the crowd is mic’d up. How did they get a camera inside the house before the crew turned up? There’s only one camera, the interviewer is nodding at no-one right now.’ I couldn’t understand that they were better off than me, where I knew there was just a bloke and a machine, they had magic. I had assumed that, like me, the more interesting part of a magic trick was in working out how it was done. This was the appeal for me, and so I would never truly appreciate the magic of cinema in the same way as others.