Updated: Feb 8, 2021
I have always admired those who took the leap and undoubtedly followed their passions. This series, Meet the Creatives, is an inside look at those who are currently pursuing an education in the arts. I have learned so much from everyone I have interviewed and am excited to share with you the wisdom I have gathered along the way!
Columbia College Chicago // BFA in screenwriting with a minor in writing for television
The yearning to become a film major struck Marisa in her high school freshman English class while watching a film adaptation of Romeo and Juliet. Disappointed they didn't watch the version with Leonardo DiCaprio, Marisa went home and watched it herself. "I remember as soon as it ended, I was pretty winded but I watched the whole thing again - it was just so cool." Marisa accredits this movie to opening her eyes to the world of filmmaking.
I asked Marisa if there was anything she wished she would have known before pursuing a career in film. Marisa responded, "I think it was really hard to get adjusted to a creative curriculum, especially growing up and having a more academically focused one in high school." She goes on to explain that she wasn't fully prepared to use a part of her brain her high school courses didn't usually exercise. "I didn't realize how exhausting it would be having to create a bunch of ideas."
In addition to this new style of learning, Marisa told me that the creative work she does in college tends to show a more vulnerable side of herself, which can bring on a lot of insecurities and self doubt. She added that having classmates and professors critique her personal work is stressful but helps build the tough skin needed for the film industry.
Marisa shared some valuable advice for anyone wanting to enter the world of film. "The major thing is to not care about what others think of your choices." She went on to say that the pressure to prove herself to those who entered a more secure career path can at times make her feel insecure. However, entering her junior year this fall she has learned to disregard those who perpetuate the stigma that "people who go into arts aren't necessarily as smart as other people." Marisa confidently told me that there is nothing she'd rather be doing than following her passion and telling stories through film.
Michigan State University // Media and information with a focus in film production and a minor in Spanish
Growing up by a Family Video store, Daniel says that movies have always been a constant part of his life. "When I was younger, I would watch a movie scene and if it didn't stick with me I asked myself, okay, how can I make this better? And I would kind of rewrite that scene."
Daniel explained that at Michigan State University there are two paths you can take as a film student, you can either go the route of film production or film studies. Wanting a more hands on experience Daniel chose to pursue film production. He shared that one of his major goals is to write and direct his own feature length film or TV show. At the moment Daniel is fully invested in his newest project, a TV show he plans to execute this school year. As a film student Daniel wears many hats. When describing his upcoming project, Daniel said he is cranking out episodes, working on set designs, and has begun to corral a team of people to help him with this ambitious project.
I prompted Daniel with the question, "what advice would give someone wanting to pursue the same career path as you?"
I enjoyed his answer so much that I have decided to leave it as one big quote so you can soak it all in.
Daniel passionately stated, "my advice would be, just do it, literally just go out and do it! If you want to make a movie. Make it. If you want to make a video, if you want to start a YouTube channel, if you want to start making short films or start writing, just do it, get that practice. Putting yourself in that space, that I really want to do this, and I know that I can do it. Let's just do it. People are going to criticize, people are gonna say whatever they want, but at the end of the day it's your story. It's your art."
New England Conservatory // Composition and vocal performance
For Tyler, music has always been a natural calling. "I think at 10 I knew for certain that this was what I would do for the rest of my life. There was no other choice." Tyler nostalgically shared that as a toddler his parents would play a song on the radio and turn it off right after the first chorus. "I could sing back the whole chorus having memorized it the first time," said Tyler, "it's just how I've always been."
As we began to chat about Tyler's time at New England Conservatory in Boston he described how wonderful it was to find his people, and to have also found his niche in the music world. I learned that classical music is a broad term encompassing nearly 450 years of history. Tyler told me that his niche was found in the last 50 of those years, more specifically he "fell in love with the sort of experimental band of classical music" that began around the 1960s.
I asked Tyler if there was anything he wished he would have known or heard before pursuing a career in music. He spun my question and told me that there are things he wishes he never heard - "so much of what I heard was be careful, maybe have a second career plan. I wish I hadn't heard that."
After being told for years he should have a back-up plan Tyler assured anyone considering the music field to "[not] worry about that yet." His advice was "just go live the creative life. Go find a college space where you can be fully yourself, and where you can exist as a creative and expressive individual. Never doubt your choices for a minute because that's where you will find out who you really are as an artist."
Liberty University // Commercial music with a focus in songwriting
Hannah, a recent high school graduate, started by telling me honestly that she "never thought [she] would ever pursue music just because it's so scary." However her mind was changed in 2019 when she visited Liberty University in Virginia, and took a tour of their music school. Hannah told me she was planning on being a communications major, however, she really had no passion for it. While on the tour she discovered the university was starting a new major called commercial music - a perfect fit for Hannah.
When asking Hannah about the future she excitedly said, "I hope to record either an EP or an album soon." Entering her freshman year of college, Hannah is also eager to start building her network of people who share common musical interests.
"Probably something that I'm just now realizing is you have to be all in, or not at all. I was going to minor in music, but deep down knew this was my ultimate dream and knew this is all I wanted to do... but I was still really scared. You have to give it all you've got because the people who make it, they completely devote their whole life to it. This is your dream!"
I hope you enjoyed the first segment of Meet the Creatives!
Part 2 will be coming soon so stay tuned
and as always keep LIVing in Style :)