What were you least prepared for when entering the BFA in Production program?
The harsh truth is that no matter how much of a star my mother believed me to be, I entered a school of people who overwhelmed me with their talent. I wasn't prepared to feel this much jealousy, awe, and respect toward people who would later become my best friends. Without these classmates and the wake-up call they provoked, I'm positive I wouldn't have grown as much as a filmmaker.
What advice do you have for prospective applicants of the program?
Apply as the person your friends and family know you to be. If you're goofy, be goofy. If you're a stickler for schedules, come with your calendar in hand. The last couple of decades have fostered a personality; it's silly to apply showing anything different. The best applicant is the person who has always been and will always be themselves, and those students make the best films.
What does a typical day look like for a film student?
There is no such thing as a typical day for a film student. But I know what a typical day will feel like. It will start with a battle with an alarm, that you will lose, and a complete disregard for a sense of fashion beyond what is absolutely necessary to survive the day. For set, attire you're not afraid to get messy or for editing, clothing you know you won't be seen in - either way, you'll be comfy. In between your college kid's excuse for a breakfast and running out the door, you'll check your emails and discover something new has been added to your workday. The rest of the day will have a swing of emotional highs and lows, because you're doing what you love and that love breeds a special brand of insanity that society accepts. And no matter what you're doing; you will laugh that day, you will curse that day, and you will be exhausted by the time you're on your way home. When you arrive home, you will have the best shower of your life, yet again, likening it to a baptism that washes away the sweat and stress baked into your skin. Then you'll make your way to a bed that feels more foreign than it should and notice in a few hours, you're going to do it all again. Oh boy.
Tell us what past experiences led to your passion for filmmaking.
At this point it sort of feels like a blur, but I recall long nights as a theater techie and feeling excited, but never quite being in it 100%. I cycled through many forms of expression in the same way. It wasn't until I did a silly video with a group of friends that I felt something that all those other arts were lacking - stress. I became stressed over something that had no bearing on anything else in my life. I wasn't being graded on this and I wasn't obligated to show it to anyone, but for some reason I became so stressed that I felt compelled to spend a whole night editing this dinky little video. And when it was done, the stress lifted, and I felt amazing, I felt smarter, I felt better. Now, I go to school to experience that cycle of stress, release, stress, release and so forth, because that's what passion is: diving into a pool of stress hoping you'll come out better than you were before.
How much sleep have you gotten in the past three days?
A whole 14 hours. It's been a phenomenal three days.