Journey of a Student Filmmaker Part 4: The Competition

It’s done. I am officially a resident of California. Last week was my first foray into three years of being a graduate student at USC’s Cinematic Arts Program. It’s amazing to think a few months ago I was only dreaming of the prospect of attending one of the best film schools in the nation. Now it has come to fruition.

This is not to say the journey is over. Instead, I must emphasize the fact this is a baby step in the grand scheme of commandeering my future. At the beginning of this series my goal aimed towards finding myself within the industry. This prospect could be achieved through graduate studies in an institution known for its girth within film or merely jumping headlong into the workforce. Thankfully, I’ve been able to succeed in both of these measures. Now, I’ve set my goal towards finishing graduate school while building a career during these three years.

Looking beyond this, I also realize these goals relate to a much loftier pursuit. My universal desire, the common man ideal I worked towards is more ambiguous. Simply put, I hope the films I work on touch generations long after I’ve met death as its equal. I want to create a piece of art which is lasting, a gem appreciated a hundred years from now even if my own name is forgotten. It’s quite an existential meal, but every day I engage this thought through achieving the concrete steps I place before myself.

I must do so for the the individuals who matter, specifically my siblings.



This may sound cheesy, but an affliction I deal with continually is choice. The afterthought you set aside. The perpetual biting of your nails. Did you make the right choice. Will your efforts be rewarded? My biggest fear is one day admitting to my siblings I pursued my dreams, and failed. I can’t allow that to happen.

California will be a beacon of fulfilled dreams or dashed hopes. Who am I to ascertain the future. To grasp victory when those before me (who have worked just as hard) were unable to find their final gratification. I can only work hard, and build. Hard work does not guarantee success, but success does not come without hard work.

This is why I consider myself in a period of competition, literally and figuratively. In a literal sense, I am currently in competition known as Lenovo Seize The Night Alternate Ending. Fifteen filmmakers were asked to produce an alternate ending to the Lenovo “Seize The Night” film shot by the company. At the moment, I stand in the top three, but my spot isn’t guaranteed if I don’t keep pushing. Be sure to support me. Watch the video and share it with as many people as possible!

Figuratively, I’m in a competition of significance. I need to prove I can succeed within a passion. If it’s possible for me, then no one should ever forsake their love for a life of mediocrity in something they do not enjoy.

Be sure to watch my film, DO. Watch, retweet, and share as much as possible. If you’d like to personally speak to me on a personal or film note look me up at @XLNB or @QueTheLights.