Life is a movie, movies are life, or at least to Sean Riley, a teen pursuing a career in film.
"I look at life as a screenplay and an angled shot. Sometimes you can catch me telling people what they should do better, overdramatizing my common lingo, or even holding my hands out in front of me to form a shot," Riley says.
According to his friends, Riley is a guy who always has pushed the limits and is a self-proclaimed "attention hog." He stands out from the crowd with his straightened red hair and light skin covered in freckles.
"Describing his personality (the) word is eccentric. Everywhere we go we meet new people. There hasn’t been one waiter at a single restaurant that Sean hasn’t befriended. Every time he meets a new person he introduces himself as ‘Sean Riley, the coolest person you will ever meet,’ " says Riley’s best friend, Robert Cook.
Riley’s love of attention shows through his movies.
Riley is described by his friends as a character, not in the movie sense, but his personality. His favorite word is "kickass." His best companion is his composition book, which he named "Darla." Riley takes his companion everywhere to jot down ideas for new film material.
At one point, Riley wanted to be in front of the camera rather than behind it.
"I’ve always been an attention hog, and I guess acting was the best way to get that. I quickly realized at 10 years old that I wasn’t going to ‘make it’ as an actor, so I switched to behind the camera, and only there laid my true happiness. I’ve pretty much had this fascination of movies since, well, the womb I’d say. Film is my life."
Inspiration is "everywhere" for the filmmaker. But he says the two people who have given him the most inspiration are teachers: Henry Chanin, who teaches American and British literature, and Gary Handley, who teaches social injustice and anthropology. Literature and current events play a major role in Riley’s films.
With his inspiration from literature, a five-minute modern re-creation of "Frankenstein" is Riley’s next endeavor. Riley boasts that this never has been done before.
With inspiration from social issues, Riley has a "kickass" story coming up. The film is a satire of an America separated strictly by the rich and poor. Set 10 to 20 years from now, the film portrays the country with illegalized abortion and immigration, no middle class, and a call for revolution.
"It is a critical replica of the French Revolution used to portray the disasters of America’s current economic, social and political problems," Riley says.
Each of Riley’s films portrays a social message by his use of symbols. "I use slight dramatics and comedics to provoke cringes and laughs, but mainly I focus on thought. I want my people to see my movies and think, so they have something to talk about the next day."
Cook says everything seems to have a meaning to Riley.
"I remember him once explaining how a cheap windup car was directly symbolic to life. Every countless script of his that I have read was controversial, attention-grabbing, and everything had a meaning of some sort, from the opening line to the color of some guy’s hair," Cook says. "Not just because he’s my best friend, but I think he’s a prodigy. It’s amazing what this guy can do."
Riley’s advice on becoming a filmmaker: "Passion is all you need."
Check out Sean Riley’s films at www.myspace.com/dildarthejew.R-Jeneration
SEAN RILEY’S FILM/FILMMAKER PICKS • "Clerks," by Kevin Smith, for "his undeniable talent for dialogue and independent focus. I mean, he made one of the greatest movies ever with only one semester of film college and zero outside support." • "Requiem for a Dream," by Darren Aronofsky, for "his beautiful cinematography and use of symbols. He is a great storyteller who is rivaled only by, well … me." • "Man on Fire," by Anthony Scott, for "his kickass twisted plots and editing skills." • "Children of Men," by Alfonso Cuarón, is Riley’s favorite film because it "is the greatest story told with amazing acting and glorious cinematography. Everything about it is just godly. See it."