How has your time in the School of Cinematic Arts' Summer Program changed your view of your discipline? Carving out six weeks of summer to live somewhere new and learn film is a disciplined act in and of itself. What took this experience to another level for me was then reminding myself to become fully immersed in the projects, people, and opportunities SCA had to offer. Stepping out of my comfort zone and doing to the thing I loved at a time where I could’ve been at home with friends showed me how much I truly love film. The course I took (directing intensive) taught me how to make great work under a time constraint, and it showed a whole new side of my discipline I never knew I had.
What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to the program? Do it. It seems daunting and scary especially for someone like me who lives far from LA. Prior to signing up I thought I didn’t have enough experience in film and that other kids would be ahead of me, but that wasn’t true. Everyone is there to learn, and all that matters is that you’re passionate about what your doing. I remember choosing between a course that seemed relatively in my comfort zone and a more advanced one that intimidated me. I signed up for the latter, and it was the best decision I made. If you’re an introvert like me, choose the class that scares you. The professor of that course inspired me to believe in myself more and I cannot imagine not having met him. The fact I almost missed out on that course to take the easy way out is something I would have regretted.
How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline? In my short time so far at the School of Cinematic Arts, the classes have prepared me in a myriad of ways for a career in video production. Summer program students will hear it numerous times, but collaboration truly is the key to success. Everyone has their own, unique voice and it’s so valuable to listen to other’s creative points of view. I’ve learned so much from my classmates since being a student here and those connections made in class are vital for a career in one of the most collaborative fields of work.
What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? The assistant dean of SCA, Bhanu Cruz, told me last summer,“You can’t make movies about movies.” As simple and obvious as it sounds, it’s something I’ve been struggling with at USC. I feel as if everyone has hundreds of stories to tell and projects to work on, but I find inspiration by getting out and experiencing. It’s important to live a little, hang with friends, and explore other areas of interests at USC. The challenge for me is balancing social life, work life, and creative life. Though it’s not easy to manage these things at once, it excites me to wake up and know I have so many resources in SCA at my fingertips whenever needed.
What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? I am in love with stories. I’m an avid reader and enjoy taking pieces of life stories from anyone who is willing to share them. Growing up in the small city of Ladue, Missouri I used stories as an escape at times to make the world I lived in seem a little bigger. Since there were no film classes at my high school or great programs in my area, I had to become creative in the ways I would teach myself this medium. I began acting in seventh grade and continued to take lessons for four years just to figure out what it’s like on the other side of the camera. Doing this gave me a new lens into the world of directing and how important it is to try any and all positions that may interest you.