Sunday, July 29, 2012

We're Back! - Part One

So, it's been a while, hasn't it? Considering that we haven't given a real good update since last summer, this post will be rather long and action-packed. Jo asked me to write this post since most of our recent adventures surround my pursuit of a filmmaking career. So, here we go...

   To begin, let's jump back to the year 2011. It's a hot Arizona Sunday in January. My parents are away at church. Jo and I lay sick on the couch while Ethan runs circles around us to release some of his pent-up energy. As usual, my mind is caught up in trying to figure out how I can get into the filmmaking world from our current situation.
   At this time, I had a temp job at an Amazon warehouse that promised to eventually blossom into full-time position if I worked my posterior off. The job was good, but it wasn't what I considered a worthy career goal for me. At the same time, I had been in contact with some friends from Rexburg and making videos for various competitions in hopes that we could win some money that would eventually help us establish ourselves as our own video production company. That option wasn't panning out very well for us. At the same time, I was trying to get a small business loan to start up my own video transfer service. That wasn't looking good either.
   Well, Jo and I began to talk this over and discuss things that we could do for the time being. Eventually, the conversation floated over to film school. At first, I rejected this idea with great rejecting powers. I had just finished school and, in my mind, I was done with my education. Well, the more we discussed this, the more it seemed to make sense. Eventually, I felt very strongly that going back to school was the best path for us to pursue. So I began looking at a number of film schools and working on applications.

   Skip ahead to May of the same year. I had already applied to several film schools and was awaiting replies. I had actually been approached by 3 schools already at this point: Full Sail University, Academy of Art University, and New York Film Academy. I had already turned down these schools in hopes of being accepted into higher-rated schools like UCLA, USC, and the Los Angeles Film School.
   As far as my temp job was concerned, I had already been promised a full-time position if I didn't screw up in the next month or so. Me and Jo were looking at local apartments so that we could move out of my parent's house. Things were moving along slowly, but progressing better than they were back in January.
  May 10th... I had gone to work and was in a particularly bad mood that day. I really didn't want to be at work (no specific reason) and was moving slower than usual. While working, I was approached by a happy co-worker. He asked me how things were going and I said, "Eh, they're going," trying not to be obviously grumpy. We preceded to have a short conversation before he randomly asked, "What are you doing here?" Confused, I asked him what he meant. He responded by asking me what my career goal was. When I told him it was filmmaking, he again asked me what I was doing there. I told him that I was just working to build up our savings until I was accepted into school. This optimistic man then proceeded to toss out a series inspirational stories and quotes. He finished our conversation by telling me that I needed to stop wasting my time at Amazon and go out and be a filmmaker.
   As he walked away I felt the Spirit strongly confirming his words to me with an unmistakably powerful urge to up and quit Amazon right then and there. But that seemed too illogical. I had no back-up job, we hadn't raised enough money to support us for longer than a month or two, and I didn't exactly know where to go from there anyway.
  For the next two hours I continued to work and tried dismissing the feeling as a symptom of my bad mood. But the feeling got stronger and stronger with each passing minute until I could no longer ignore it. During my first break, I phoned Jo and explained everything I was feeling to her. She said that if I felt that strongly about it, then I needed to act on it, no matter what my doubts were. Emboldened by Jo's faith, I walked back into work and quit.

   After quitting, I felt that I needed to contact the New York Film Academy and see if their invitation was still open to me. It was, and I accepted. The next three months were filled with grueling trials that built patience and strengthened faith as we tried to figure out how I would get there and where the money would come from.
   Two weeks before I was to start school, I received an email saying that I had missed orientation and that I wouldn't be enrolled in classes. Confused, I called up my school supervisor and asked him about the email. It turns out that while the email was not meant for me, it did lead us to discover that I had somehow been withdrawn from enrollment. We fixed my enrollment, but due to the error, my student loans weren't released to me until halfway through the first semester. Just another trial of faith.

   I started school in September of last year working towards a Master's degree in Screenwriting. For the first month, I was graciously allowed to stay with Alexis and her husband while I searched for housing and Jo and Ethan stayed behind at my parents house. We eventually found housing and moved in in the second half of October. And here were are, in a sunny suburb of Los Angeles.
   While attending, I loved school. I had really great classmates and we all got along very well. While my classmates loved going to bars and getting drunk over the weekends, they still liked me enough to enjoy alcohol-free parties at our home every now and then. They are all very talented story tellers and an inspiration to me. We have all formed a very strong friendship in a short amount of time and I am grateful for that.
   And my classes were awesome. I learned a great deal about writing and the film business in the short time that I was there...

To be continued in "We're Back - Part Two"