Me & donQmedia
by Jared Mark Graham
My film degree was earned more than thirty years ago when home computers were the fodder of science fiction and 16mm film was the medium of independent filmmakers. When I returned to college to become an elementary school teacher I didn’t know when, or if, I would ever return to filmmaking. However, photography and filmmaking found it’s way into my classroom through recording experimental data, such as plant growth, and having the students run the school newspaper and website. We also created an animated art film every year for art class; one of the advantages of teaching all of the subjects.
Now, after twenty-five years in the classroom, I’ve decided to pursue making short films again, but this time using software instead of clay puppets or animation cels. As I work at developing my skills and processes this site will record some of that journey, as well as offer anyone interested a look into what I’ve discovered as I venture forth.
What’s in a name?
As you may have deduced from the artwork in the Q, Don Q Media is short for Don Quixote Media. My fondness for Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra’s book The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha and sympathetic feelings for the protagonist Alonso Quijano aside, the book has had a staying power that cannot be denied. Part of the novel’s appeal comes from the fact that Don Quixote represents different ideas to different people, both today and throughout its 400 year history.
Through a re-casting of his glorious acts of heroism (or his comic misadventures), such as battling enchanted giants and entire armies (or windmills and flocks of sheep), he has been employed both as a Romantic hero and as a foolish, anachronistic madman, for the purposes of representing either high idealism or utter insanity, and sometimes both. He has battled both Spanish fascism and American imperialism; he has defended and shaped national identities and cultures on both sides of the Atlantic. Indeed, the paradox of Don Quixote at four hundred years old is that despite his supposedly anachronistic nature (a seventeenth-century character who aims to revive medieval institutions of chivalry), he has proven to be truly protean and adaptable to modern and postmodern circumstances.1
To me, Don Quixote represents the pursuit of dreams or ideals no matter the obstacles. Admittedly, my journey into the world of animation and filmmaking isn’t as perilous or grand as Alonso’s crusade for chivalry, but the goal of independently producing short animated films is no easy task. While my Quixotic adventure may be mild by the standards of great literature, for me it is following a dream I have long deferred.
1Bayliss, Robert. “What Don Quixote Means (Today).” Comparative Literature Studies, 43.4 (2007): 382 – 97. DOI: 10.1353/cls.2007.0010