“However long the night, the dawn will break” -African Proverb
I wish I could say that after 7 months out here in LA, I am finally living the dream. I’m nowhere even close to it. Naturally, it’s hard to see my non-film-degree college friends starting their journeys in their entry-level jobs or getting into the grad school they’ve always wanted. Am I happy for them? Of course. But there’s a sort of hollowness that sits within me when I feel as if my entry-level job is 5 years behind everyone else.
Going into college, I had an aunt once tell me to have a second major as a backup. I was shocked and appalled that my own family didn’t trust that I could “make it” with my major of choice—my passion. Whenever I feel like waving a white flag or whenever I feel particularly disheartened, I go back to that memory with my aunt and wonder if I should have double majored. Maybe I would have stayed in New York, had a job, and spent my weekends partying with all my friends. Maybe I would have been happier.
But those are just the gloomy days. And unfortunately, within the past month, those days have come up a lot. Working in retail, borrowing money from family to pay the bills, deferring loan payments, barely scraping by with $25 groceries—it’s surely not where I wanted to be 10 months after graduation. And that daunting realization has taken its toll on me several times.
Luckily, though, I’m too much of an ambitious person to move back home. I’d feel like a quitter, and, for me, there’s a false sense of accomplishment with quitting. Hell-bent, I will make a career out of writing and directing. And I’m doing it in Los Angeles. You’ve got to start somewhere, right? I’m planning to reach the very top, so if that means starting at the very bottom (selling mattresses…) then so be it.
And competitions like the Nichols Fellowship definitely help to keep me going. There are countless of programs like this that I could apply to that I had no idea about, and luckily, a lot of them are tailored for anybody to apply, not just students. It’s amazing how winning any of these could set you off on the right track. I wish I could have learned about these during senior year in college. I feel like I would have been better prepared.
And with that, here’s a brief list of competitions, workshops, programs, and fellowships coming up.
*ABC Studios Production Associates Program: deadline March 30.
*Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ 2012 Student Academy Awards: deadline April 2.
*Producers Guild of America Power of Diversity Workshop: deadline April 20.
*Nicholl Fellowship: deadline May 1.
*Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab: deadline May 1.
And, of course, music helps me cope. “Every time I close my eyes I see my name in shiny lights…I swear, the world better prepare for when I’m a billionaire.”