Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How I got into film

I picked an interest in film in high school after enrolling for an after school program which taught the basics of camera work and broadcast dynamics at a local TV network in Pasadena, California. Since then I have worked on my art of telling stories through film, teaching myself what I needed to learn at the time to achieve constant improvement. After working a few odd events, I finally started making a few bucks on the side in A’level and by the time I was applying to University, it was apparent that mass communication was the next best thing to film.
At university I continued to teach myself, noticing that class was not as beneficial as I thought it would be. I have a pragmatic approach to things and naturally, in second year I joined the UCU film club, which was a collection of students that were passionate about film. A week after its inception, I pitched the idea of making a University podcast that informed and educated the student community on events happening around campus. With a great team, we managed to air six episodes in the dining hall every Wednesday of what was left of that semester. It was a unique project because I got the opportunity to create a product that required constant input from each member of the team, who worked so hard to ensure we had a weekly podcast. It didn’t take long for the podcast to be featured in the University newspaper, the standard and soon after advertisers were interested.
In the midst of the initial success, the vision for it was starting to take on a different directions, in the sense the University wanted some control over it which was why we started it in the first place; to tell our own stories our way. We wanted to tell stories which the University funded newspaper was too shy to tell. After that semester, I quit the show and it was difficult to kill ‘my baby’ however it had served its purpose which was to unite the film club with a single project. And not long after the club won its first contract from the student government to shoot a commemorative documentary for the outgoing Vice chancellor then, Steven Noll. The deadlines were ridiculously impossible to achieve but thanks to the template CTV (Campus TV as we referred to it) had created, it was much easier to implement. A week later when it was showing at his farewell dinner, it hit me that what I really wanted to do with my life was to make awesome films.
It took me another before the same conviction translated into action when I went back home after my finals to tell my dad I was moving out. It was a pretty stupid thing to do at the time because all I had was a duffle bag of clothes, an HP laptop and maybe 15,000/- in change with nowhere to go. However I had made myself a promise, that if ever I didn’t know what I was truly doing, that  as long as I was becoming a better film maker a photographer, that I would be fine somehow in my future.
It has been a remarkable journey which led me to start a film company with my classmate Carlos and we are still making films. Working to ensure that the next film is always better than the last, with the hope it will pay better too.

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