What Up Yo.
An about page…
I don’t know exactly what one is supposed to write here.
Something about my life?
About my where my love of film and television began?
I can do that.
And I can give you a mission statement.
Why I choose to post, where I’m coming from.
I’ll break it down for you.
Part 1: My Introduction to Film
I, Wes Candela, have been a film buff since I was 3 or 4 years old when, before she passed away, my mother introduced me to cinema.
She introduced me to films, she instilled in me an appreciation of art and artistic expression.
Watching films with my mother with her are some of the fondest memories I have with her.
Film transported me and quickly I fell in love with the world of make believe, under her guiding eyes at first… and then,
as if I had discovered a secret door into a magical world, I went through alone and went wild inside..
absorbing as much as I could.
She introduced me to the great musicals of her youth,
“My Fair Lady”,
“West Side Story”
We watched films like “The Black Stallion”, “Grease” ( she didn’t love the dirty language) and a handful of other films that she either considered to be film treasures, or films she was interested in seeing.
The first film I remember falling in love with, was “Superman: The Movie”, Richard Donners 1978 epic.
Because of my love of that film, my mother and I also watched “Somewhere In Time” together with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour.
My love for time travel movies began there.
It was also the first time I realized that Christopher Reeve was an actor playing a part in fact, and not “ Superman”
Then there was “Star Wars” which I remember watching at a drive in from the back seat of a car with my 2 cousins, my mom and my pop.
But it was the next film we watched together that jacked my young mind up completely. That cracked my imagination wide open.
My mother came to me this one night in 1981 and told me:
“Tonight we are going to watch a movie together called ‘Excalibur’. It’s about Merlin the magician, King Arthur and the knights of the round table…and the magical sword Excalibur.”
We were both transfixed to the television watching this beautiful film in total awe.
Now, understand that back then, cable TV was brand new to the world.
Suddenly no TV antenna’s were needed in the roof. No commercials would cut the movie to pieces. There was no “Edited for Television” displayed at the beginning of the film.
Family’s were now given the ability to watch films, uncut and unedited at home which was impossible before.
Prior to this, you had to go to a movie theater to see an uncut film. We could now watch at home.
Now to me, I would grow up with this service being commonplace, like children growing up now will grow up with telephones in their pockets being the norm…but for my mother, this was happening in her 36th year of life and it was very exciting.
We watched ‘Excalibur’ a few times together, and if you have ever seen the film, you know how hard core it gets.
I remember the colors, the violence, the sensuality and romance, the wickedness and the magic.
It is that film, and those experience I had watching it with my mother, that I often attribute as being the spark that ignited my passion for cinema.
To me, it was a window into another world where anything was possible.
That world would seduce and envelope my imagination, as it does for most film buff out there.
It was my escape and my safe place, my solace and my control.
Film was a drug to me. The more I saw, the more i wanted to see.
My appetite for film grew as I did.
But, being a sensitive kid who had terrifying nightmare of the wicked witch of the east chasing me after seeing ’The Wizard Of Oz” for the first time, my Mom and Pop saw my limits and decided I probably shouldn’t watch horror movies.
Which is why I still,
to this day,
find it absolutely baffling why my Mom thought it was a good idea to have me sit with her to watch this new vampire miniseries that was on one foggy night in 1979.
The movie was called “Salems Lot”.
So we are watching the movie, my father is milling about, brother and sister are off somewhere else in the house, and all of a sudden there is a noise outside.
My mother, as nervous as her 5 year old son, yells for my father to go check out what the hell was going on outside.
We walk outside with him and stand by the house as he ventures across the lawn.
There was a fog that night so thick we couldn’t see 2 feet in front of us and my father disappeared into it, in search of the source of the noise.
We had no clue where he was.
My mother started to yell for him after a few minutes…and there was no answer.
We were freaked the fuck out man.
Ran back inside, she’s losing it…after 20 mins, he walks back in.
”AL!! WHERE DID YOU GO I WAS YELLING FOR YOU!!!”
He was calm, aloof, confused by the ruckus.
”Chris, it was nothing…i think it was a dog.”
Well, we go back to the movie rattled, and then one of the kids in the movie gets turned to vampire and goes to his friends house looking all fucked up, hovering outside his second floor bedroom window, rapping on the glass….
”Let me in…Let me in…”
When I woke up screaming later that night,
I was absolutely
This lasted for weeks.
Nights after night…I couldn’t sleep without the nightmare of seeing that fucking kid outside my window.
And every night, I would wake up, scream my lungs out until they came running and go sleep with them for protection.
Once my mother had passed within the next year, the escape film provided me became more crucial to my sense of well being than ever.
At first, I would follow actors. As I watched more, I started to realize there was a whole army of people behind the camera that we weren’t seeing.
People that were crafting these films… and that’s when I began to focus on film directors.
Now, there was no internet to do the research, but there was the local library where I would go to sit for hours reading about the great directors and the essential films of the past.
Christmas, 1984, my father bought the family it first VCR.
He had rented 2 videotapes. “Goldfinger” & “Romancing the Stone”, but more importantly, he brought a few blank video tapes.
Now, I could record what I was watching and build a home video library.
Every Sunday after that, I would religiously rifle through the Sunday papers until I found the TV Guide, and with a pen and paper, would go day by day and list out every film I needed to see over the course of the next week.
Some were on once at 3:15am on a Wednesday morning, so I would have to master programming the VCR to record at all hours for me.
We had 3 movie channels at that time: – HBO – Showtime – The Movie Channel
After circling what I wanted to see and record, I would ask my Pop to bring home X number of videotapes when he went shopping later that day.
Every week, he came home with at least one.
He knew how important film was to me, and always supported my habit. Thanks Pop.
I would record everything I could, then watch.
I amassed quite a collection of video tapes quickly.
Then, In 1985, ‘ The Movie Channel’ released and began to run 5 recently uncovered Alfred Hitchcock films that hadn’t been seen by anyone for over 10 years.
And that’s when I first saw “Vertigo“, I was 11 years old.
It rocked my face off.
My teachers were concerned:
“Um…Why are you watching movies like “Murphy’s Romance”? Thats a little to mature for you.”
As were the woman that were raising us, my brother, my sister and I.
I could curse like nobody’s business at that age:
’NO! I’M NOT GOING TO DO THAT! YOU TALK LIKE THAT TO ME IN FRONT OF MY FRIENDS WELL FUCK YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!!”
DeNiro said that to Costner in “The Untouchables”…I was learning from the greats.
They knew the subject matter of the films I was watching was a bit much for someone my age.
Other kids my age were watching “Top Gun” and “The Goonies” and “The Karate Kid”.
Now I was also, but that was in addition to “The Falcon and the Snowman” & “Sophie’s Choice”.
I saw “Back To The Future” in the theater when it was realized in July ’85.
It did something to me, that film.
By then we had 2 VCR’s. Those in the knowing remember that you could connect 2 VCR’s together, play a video tape o one machine and record it on the other. But VCR tapes had a ‘ copyright protection’ coating on them, rendered the copy you made a mess of a video.
I had to have a copy of the film. Had to. It was life or death.
At that time, the home video market worked very differently than it does now. In the mid 80’s, when a new film was released in the theaters it would take an average of six or more months for it to be available on home video. And the videos weren’t priced for the to own for the consumer, they initially sold for $79.95.
The video stores would buy a copy to rent, maybe two.
You would go in and hope it was there. If not, you would put it on hold, but there was a waiting list.
Well I found a copy for sale. They wanted $60 for it.
I stole the $60 from my brother and I bought the videotape.
Because there was no way to explain suddenly having the film to my father, I decided i would give it to him for fathers day.
Genius, I know…
My father opened his gift, saw the video tape and immediately asked me:
”How did you get this? And why, I don’t even like this movie!”
I had pulled it off.
However, what I didn’t factor in was the fury of my brother, Derek.
Within a few days, my brother looked in his New York Jets piggy bank and noticed that there was $60 missing.
Thats when the sky fell.
I came that day to find all the furniture in my room thrown over and holes in the walls of my bedroom.…
ALL THE FURNITURE IN MY ROOM.
HOLES IN THE WALLS.
A wild fucking animal?
Or did he know? Had he discovered my theft already?
I had to play stupid here…
I would play it as if we had all been the victims of a robbery, where the burglar who had entered our home happened to have a thing for piggy banks shaped like little ceramic footballs.
I would help my brother find this criminal and bring him to justice.
I convinced myself I could pull this off, no problem.
My bother lived a floor below me, I would open the door and walk downstairs…
But there was no need for that, because as I turned around with the performance of my life in my mind, my brother was standing in the doorway of my bedroom.
I was going to be an actor mother fucker.
Let the performance begin:
”Hey. What’s wrong, did someone come in the…
I barely got the question out before I saw his face.
They were the eye’s of a beast.
A rabid animal.
He looked at me like he was almost glad I stole from him, because he would now be able to exact a brutal punishment on me that I deserved.
He was so fucking mad his entire body was vibrating, anxious to begin.
It felt like an hour waiting for this to explode, but in reality it all happened in 4.5 seconds…
Then the fury came.
He approached me…
”What’s wrong man?”
I don’t remember much after that.
Except when he left, he looked like Norman Bates, dressed as Norma, leaving the bathroom after killing Marion Crane in the shower.
And as I laid on the ground, my body and head pulsating from the thrashing of a lifetime, I knew one thing…
I had the tape damn it.
I had the ‘Back To the Future’ videotape.
“And by then, I didn’t care… The way I saw it, everyone takes a beating sometime.”
I became a fixture at my local video store by 12.
A 2 mile walk into Huntington Village for me that I made multiple times a week.
When I turned 12, I met Mr. Daniel J. Peters (Rest In Peace) of the Flower Hill Elementary school in Huntington Bay, Long Island.
I think about Mr. Peters a ton. He was that teacher to me, he saw my obsession with film as wonderful and important, not disturbing and dangerous.
He recognized my passion for what it was and he was the only adult in my life besides my father to speak to me as an adult about film.
Impressed by my vocabularyof movies at the age of 12, I would ask him to explain the plot details to some of the films I was watching that I didn’t understand. The Bay Of Pigs invasion. The Cold War. I was watching films with plots so complex that I was misunderstanding huge sections of these films.
He would take the time to explain it to me.
He would go on to pass away a year after he taught me, and I still think of him every week.
God bless you, Mr. Peters.
By 15, I was watching “The Godfather films.
I watched both. Closely, After digesting these, I researched the director.
Francis Ford Coppola.
I saw “The Outsiders”. Finally, “Rumble Fish”, and I was in love with Coppola.
By 16 I discovered Martin Scorsese and Taxi Driver and was introduced to a whole new world of visual storytelling.
I had seen “The Color Of Money”, that is what I knew of Marty…which really meant i didn’t know anything.
Once I saw “Taxi Driver”…the floodgates opened.
Next was “Raging Bull”, then “The Last Temptation Of Christ” I bought his books, “Scorsese on Scorsese”, researched him endlessly.
He was currently shooting a new film about the mafia called ‘Goodfellas’.
By the time I turned 16 in 1990, I had seen it 3 times.
At 17, after a year of solid begging, my father bought me a laserdisc player for christmas.Thank you again Pop.
I found a Laserdisc rental store in Syosset, NY and began to rent from there. Only laserdiscs.
This enabled me to see films in their native letterboxed formats.
This was essential for films by Brian DePalma like “Dressed To Kill”,“The Untouchables”, “Scarface”.
DePalma uses the entire film canvas to make his films, and to only see 50% of what he shot is harmful to your experience.
I was also hearing directors commentary audio tracks, which wouldn’t be mainstream until DVD’s came out at the end of the 90’s.
1991, I witnessed the film I still call my favorite film of all time, “JFK”.
At this point, Oliver Stone had won his Oscar for “Platoon” and had made the masterwork “Wall Street”, but it was “JFK” that cracked me open to a new style of filmmaking, and introduced notions that the world wasn’t as honest and
polished as we had been taught it was in school.
Film was now part of my DNA, my physical make-up.
Then the 90’s came.
“Natural Born Killers”
Part II: Building The Mountain
Cut to the year 2000, things were very different on the digital landscape then they are now.
Computers weren’t as prevalent as they would be within the next 10 years.
The internet as it was, was slow, dial up, the ways to communicate via this new virtual world were limited.
But not for long.
After signing up for a Facebook account, I soon created a page for me to post about Film.
I pondered a name for the page, and after an hour…I deduced that this page would exist so I could have my voice heard, about all things film.
So I named it:
– a particular opinion or attitude, expressed.
– Self explanatory
Now I had a page to post to, but couldn’t seem to get a film and TV audience.
I decide to branch out to Twitter.
Voices: FILM had better luck there.
Branching out into the abyss that is Twitter isn’t easy.
You post something on Facebook, people like it cause you know them.
But on Twitter, they’ll ignore you unless you have something to say…
Getting followers isn’t difficult, but getting good followers based on your brand, that’s difficult.
I stayed at it. Connected with the right people, then one day Tom Cruise starts following me. Then Yoko Ono. The Variety magazine.
Next thing I know, I’ve got almost 2.500 followers.
2,500 film and TV fans…
But…the 140 character limit thing…started to get on my nerves.
I noticed that best film accounts on Twitter had a webpage base to them.
This got me thinking that maybe I needed a web page. A blog called Voices: FILM.
A virtual mountain to scream from…
Seemed daunting. I knew computers…but not how to run a website.
Part III: Voices: FILM
Something leads me to GoDaddy.com.
I find myself looking at domain names and I next thing I know, I see that “VoicesFILM.com” is available.
It was a sign. I know them well now.
“Launch the site Wes. Grab the domain now.”
I bought it.
“Build the mountain.”
And that was it.
That was September 2013.
And thats my story.
In short, Voices: FILM exists because I needed an outlet, a mountain to yell my praise of all visual storytelling from.
I’m passionate about what I love.
And I love film, television…visual storytelling.
Part IV: Conclusion
It’s been a year now.
I hope we’ve entertain you and I hope you’ve enjoyed your time here.
I can’t promise you that we will be like the other sites out there.
That you will find the headlines here that you will see on 30 other film and tv sites.
Or that you will see articles that exists simply to slam someone else’s efforts.
But what I can promise you…
High-Octane Gasoline drenched recommendations.
Passionate film talk, film praise…a celebration of all thats amazing in the world of Film or Television, as I don’t see them as being different entities…
They are simply visual storytelling, and we celebrate them all here.
I thank you for stopping by.
– Wes Candela, 2014
“It Was A Mission Statement.”
– Jerry Maguire, 1996