For Damien Chazelle, it's all personal

creators damien chazelle
creators damien chazelle

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For Damien Chazelle, it's all personal 03:05

(CNN)Damien Chazelle is a director whose critically applauded work pulses with life. Whether he's telling the story of an overbearing music teacher or one about two singing-and-dancing lovers in Los Angeles, his vision is clear. His artistry is evident. And his skills as a "creator" are undeniable.

Where it started:
Though he at one time was on track to become a musician, deep down the Rhode Island-native always knew movies were his future. "I think in the back of my head I always knew that [drumming] was temporary and that movies were really what I wanted to be doing." It all began with a deep love of Disney animated films, and eventually turned into a desire to be like Walt Disney. When live-action films entered his orbit, Chazelle's young world opened up even further. "Once I learned how to write, I segued from drawing all the time to writing all the time, and that's probably how I got interested in screen writing eventually," he said. "As far back as I can remember I wanted to make movies. It's just what those movies were and how I understood how they were made that changed."
Movie-making motto:
"The Holy Grail, for me, is making work that's personal -- even if that means [it's] weird and unusual -- but on a scale that plays on the big screen....to marry the big to the small, and try to marry your little, personal -- even embarrassing -- secrets to a grand canvas where you're painting with all the possibilities of the medium."
What's next:
Fresh off his second critical success, Chazelle, 32, will next shift his focus to "First Man," a Neil Armstrong biopic that will reunite him with "La La Land" star Ryan Gosling. "It's my first time doing a real-life story," Chazelle said. "To me it became -- or it's becoming -- a story about sacrifice, and in some ways like 'La La Land' or 'Whiplash' -- having the dream and the cost of pursuing that dream, the price of it, the cost of pursuing any goal on a very personal level."