The art of movie making is one that is very tedious though this fact is not always clear to the audience in the movie theater. For me watching movies always seemed so simple and trivial, just something I did because I was bored enough to watch these thrown together pictures on a screen. I never thought about the actual work, stress and creativity that went into making them. I only thought about the product that came out of them. That was, until I made my first movie.
Over the summer, I had the opportunity to learn about movie making and make my own in a program called The Ghetto Film School (GFS). GFS is a 30 month program with a curriculum based on the University of Southern California’s film school. In the first year we started by using the camera as a tool to show emotion and tone without the aid of dialogue. This was one of the most stressful projects I have ever done but also the most fun. Filmmaking is one of my biggest passions and is something I am greatly intrigued by. However, I experienced a lot of stress and felt like I was jumping head first into something I had never tried before.
When I started the program I had no clue what to expect. Flashforward one week and I was already writing my scripts and working with others to perfect them. Then quickly after, we began casting, producing, calling locations, finalizing the script and finally shooting our films.
The Project entailed that students each made a non-dialogue six minute movie about anything they wanted. Something really notable is that GFS tries to give each student as much creative freedom as possible. The creativity of the class really colored the room every time we talked about our scripts and films. Anyone who walked in would know that every student was extremely passionate about the art of filmmaking.
The exhilaration of getting to put something on paper and then see it being acted out is an experience that could not be duplicated especially since this was my first time participating in anything like this. When I felt the rush of adrenaline from being stressed and excited, I thought about what this meant to me and, honestly, it meant a lot.
I began thinking not about what I wanted to be in the film industry but instead why I wanted to be in the film industry. Film and media has an immense power to impact the minds and lives of an audience and I want to use that outlet to give a voice to those who feel that they don’t have one. I want to tell stories that maybe aren’t the prettiest but are true, real and need to be told. That’s why I based my story off of a person in my life. This person had recently attempted suicide and since she means so much to me, I wanted to tell her story and spread a message about mental health.
Because this story meant so much to me, it became less about just going through the motions of making a film. I really handled each and every detail with as much care as I could. Still making it was difficult and I was even more sensitive to mistakes.
The stress I felt and the immense amount of self-doubt I had while making this movie made it difficult for me to overcome obstacles as I constantly had a looming feeling of being overwhelmed by every little thing. While it may sound primarily negative, the stress pushed me to do my best and try my hardest no matter what the outcome.
When it finally came to seeing my finished product I was weirdly scared. I didn’t know what to expect from myself. Seeing it on the screen at the Dolby Theater, I felt a sense of relief and pride. I thought that no matter how much stress I felt during the production of it, the final product had taught me that I could do this. Even if I fall a billion times, I would get up a billion times more just because the feeling of getting to see something I created from my own brain was euphoric.
Although when voting was over my film wasn’t in the top ten, the amount of knowledge I gained and the relieving feeling of finally feeling in control of my mind and creativity made me feel like, for once in my life, I accomplished something and worked toward a goal I really wanted to achieve. Now I’m on to the next step of my filmmaking journey and I will continue to try my best, learn a lot and meet new amazing people like the friends I made at GFS.