Choosing Full Sail & Moving to Florida

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When I was 12 I made my first movie.  Shot with an HP point and shoot, and edited on Windows Movie Maker, I had created my first ever film.  I can distinctly remember feeling a rush, a tingling sensation, that swept over me. Watching clips flash before my eyes as they moved to a Coldplay song was beautiful to me.  I had taken one special moment of my life and made a snapshot that I could watch forever.  I was freaking hooked.  There was something ever so satisfying about planning, filming, editing, and then showing something I had made.

It’s the typical “falling in love with movies” stories.  I became addicted to watching every movie I could get my hands on.  Christmas became the perfect opportunity to stock up on my collection; I think one year I got nothing but 20+ DVDs.  Like any young kid that loved films, I brought my camera everywhere and tried to film everything I could.  When friends wanted to go to the mall, I wanted to stay home and edit.  I would drag them in for “photo shoots” and beg them to film with me.

When I entered high school, my love turned into a passion.  From the very beginning I got my hands on any project I could be a part of.  Shooting everything from the school’s basketball team to the school play.  I started getting pretty good, winning photography contests, and getting paying gigs.  My sophomore year, I was approached with the concept of creating a video which prompted schools across the country to explain why they were in need of financial aid for their art programs.  I found out later, that this project was hosted by the TV show, GLEE.  No big deal…. 🙂  Our school was rewarded $10,000 for the video I made.  Our diminishing music program was provided with what they needed to become successful again.  I was amazed at the support from the school and the community.  What I found even more incredible was the power that my gift of filmmaking had.  With my videos, I could trigger change, and ignite sparks.  I could do awesome things, in a way that could include a lot of people.

High school couldn’t have been better.  I grew up in the quiet, picturesque, smelly, historic, Lebanon, Connecticut.  It wasn’t the typical ideal location for making movies, however, the surprising chances that I got are something that I will always be forever grateful for.  I learned more than academics.  I learned how to be a respectable person, and how to approach art.  I learned the technologies behind cameras, sound, and light.  No other school other than Lyman could have ever provided me with more.  Don’t be confused, Lyman Memorial was not an “artsy” school AT ALL.  At Lyman I was given opportunities because I searched for them.  There was no film class, or TV production.  Sometimes I think it was better that way.

With a passion for moviemaking, I think one really decides if they truly want it by themselves.  If you love something enough, you will go after it; even if it’s not going to be handed to you.

Summer going into senior year I woke up at 4 AM with my dad and traveled to the mystical and wondrous Full Sail University, in Winter Park Florida.  I had read about this school, heard about this school on Spotify, and seen pictures in Rollingstone magazine; and finally I was going to see what would hopefully be my dream school.  On the plane ride down I was nothing but excited.  Spending time with my dad and going on that adventure together is a moment that will always be very dear to me.  On the Behind The Scenes Tour we ventured through the sound stages where students were building sets, we saw the Dolby Sound Mixing room, the recording studios, the Live Venue stage, “Candyland” the equipment mecca, the extensive backlot, and oh, yeah, classrooms.  ——–WOW!! It was soo incredible.  I literally was in complete awe.  This was where I had to be.  This was where my passion wasn’t just going to be a dream, it was going to become a reality.  The 20 month program was simply so appealing with it’s short time and “get right to it” attitude.  I wanted everything that they had to offer.  I didn’t want to go to some other 4 year school where I would waste my time on silly classes that wouldn’t ever effect me.  I wanted to learn how to make movies-now.

So that was it.  I was going to Full Sail.  Well, I mean, there was this whole time frame of phone interviews, applying for scholarships, and dealing with the logistics of everything.  My recommendation: Do everything sooner rather than later. I did, and it worked out beautifully.  There will be ample time then to figure it all out.  Going into senior year, I was set.  I was going to Full Sail, I had gotten an awesome scholarship, and I was worry-free.  During that final year of high school I continued to work on my craft.  I participated in the first ever Quiet Corner Film Festival, in Killingly, Connecticut; where I won Best Cinematography and Best Film.  It was an absolute mind blowing experience.  It really was my first time with a new audience that didn’t know my name.  They liked my work too!  It was a satisfying and reassuring feeling.  That night was perfectly executed, and just an overall incredible experience.

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The Explorer takes a cruise on Daytona Beach! Thank you Tyler for this great shot! 🙂
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A little Breakfast Club moment after graduating…

I graduated, said goodbye to my friends, and packed my bags.  This was definitely the hardest thing I’ve ever gone through in my relatively short life.  There’s something so strange about having to pack up your finally perfectly decorated room, and shoving into totes and boxes.  The car was literally bursting at the seams.  And then so began the 23 hour drive to Florida!! Yay! ….not so much.  Actually wasn’t too bad, but 23 hours with your mom and dad in a car just doesn’t have that much appeal.  My ski town bumper sticker-covered Explorer looked a little out of place in central Florida, but that was quickly fixed with the addition of a Ron Jon Surf Shop sticker.  And the rest is history!! I was in Florida with a great roomie, and I was living my dream

Let’s be honest for a second.  That would have sucked if I had been lying this whole time… no worries!  I’ve been completely honest this whole time, but for real, Full Sail is different than I expected.  I don’t know what exactly I was expecting, but it’s been different.  The first four classes are brutal.  Not in difficulty but in attention grabbing.  Also, there is no “making movies” part.  So 2 classes a month that brings us to the 3rd month where things just start getting good!  Power through, you can do it! There were a few weeks where I was really down on myself, and questioning if I was in the right place, and took dozens of reminders and hopeful comments to keep me going.  But it’s all good now.  I learned to involve myself in everything else around campus.  I joined clubs, did outside work, and helped on school productions.  It reminded me that I was in fact, in the right place.

So here we are.  More specifically, here I am.  By the way, my name is Aurora.   I forgot to mention that!  I am just beginning month 4 at Full Sail, studying Storytelling and Creative Writing.  Should be interesting,  because I’m not the best writer!! *gets a blog to improve writing*  I don’t know.

The gist of this, is that when I was looking at Full Sail as a possible school, I had wished that there was something like this that was brutally honest, and true so that I could get a better understanding of what Full Sail really was. Hopefully, this blog will be a place for people who have a love or a passion for something, and need something to push them that last step.

I’ll keep you updated with how school is going, and what I’ve been working on, and what I’m learning both in school and in life.  I hope this blog makes you smile, teaches you something, relates to your life in one way or another, and encourages you to follow your dreams.

That’s a wrap!  Oh my god.  So cheesy.

Thanks for reading my thoughts.  That was really nice of you.

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-Aurora

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