David T Douglas: Cinephile

I have no idea when my love for films began. Was it when I was a toddler? Or was it ingrained into my nature before I was even born? Because, honestly, I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t watching and adoring movies. I sometimes wonder which was my first movie to watch… but I will likely never know. Regardless of how it came about, the love has grown and influenced my life over the years.

I never considered filmmaking—as a hobby, a profession, or in any form—until college. At the time, I was floundering. I was switching between majors and completely unsure of my future career path. Then one day someone asked: “If you could be anything in the world, what would it be?” I gave it some thought, then answered honestly: “A movie director.”

The answer suprised myself. As I said, filmmaking was not something I had ever seriously considered in the past. Nevertheless, with this new notion in mind, in 2005, I wrote, produced, directed, filmed, and edited a short film, The Passenger. It was a small project with merely a few friends gathered to help me turn my idea into reality. However, that little project was a huge influence on my life. Unfortunately, no, it didn’t turn me into a feature film director, but it did prove to myself that I could turn a creative idea into something tangible.

The following year, I helped a friend shoot his own short film. Then, in 2007, I wrote a new, much longer script, Fire Lake (inspired by the Bob Seger song of the same name), which I hoped to turn into another (much longer) short film. Sadly, I couldn’t find enough interested, reliable people to fill out the cast of characters; therefore, filming of the project never happened. (And in hindsight, I’m glad it was never filmed, because the dialogue was horrendous. Haha!) Nonetheless, writing the script changed my life.

If I had not written Fire Lake, I wouldn’t have rediscovered my passion for writing, nor would I have believed in my ability to write a story of more than 50 pages / 10,000 words. Plus, all was not lost. Ten years later, the story’s foundations, characters, and setting were reworked with new dialogue, actions, and twists to create my first stage play, Railbird.

As for my favorite films, I’m usually attracted to Classic, Foreign, and Independent movies. It’s rare for a big-budget Hollywood movie to leave me feeling anything but disappointed. Regardless of when, where, or for how much money a film was made, I find there’s nothing better than an intricate mystery, brimming with suspense. Hence, my overall favorite film is Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, starring Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly.

Additionally, Wait Until Dark, Rope, Dial M for Murder, and other movies based on plays and set in (basically) one room are why I was drawn to writing plays. I’m fascinated by tight settings, small casts, and the amazing stories than can be told within those limitations.

More specifically, in 2007, when I attended the Arkansas State University theatre performances of Wait Until Dark and The House of Yes—two plays that I only knew and loved as movies—the idea sparked that, one day, I’d love to write a play and see it performed in front of an audience. Hence, it’s no coincidence that in late-2007, I wrote Fire Lake, a suspenseful story set in one room, which, as mentioned above, would eventually be rewritten into my first play, Railbird.

16 Favorite Films

Rear WindowRear Window (1954)
Paris, TexasParis, Texas (1984)
VertigoVertigo (1958)
SuspiriaSuspiria (1977)
LolitaLolita (1962)
Nights of CabiriaNights of Cabiria (1957)
WalkaboutWalkabout (1971)
The Princess and the WarriorThe Princess and the Warrior (2000)
Le SamouraïLe Samouraï (1967)
The VanishingThe Vanishing (1988)
The Texas Chain Saw MassacreThe Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)
The Spirit of the BeehiveThe Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
Fish TankFish Tank (2009)
Léon: The ProfessionalLéon: The Professional (1994)
Days of HeavenDays of Heaven (1978)
DiaboliqueDiabolique (1955)