I am not made like any of those I have seen. I venture to believe that I am not made like any of those who are in existence. If I am not better, at least I am different.
– Jean Jacques Rousseau
I had always planned on visiting Los Angeles before I started my senior year of college, and I’m glad everything worked out. This last month has been wild, and I’ve learned more than I could’ve hoped for from industry veterans, as well as locals from around the city. With that being said, working in the industry is no joke and it requires a lot of dedication. I’m currently working as a development intern at Disruption Entertainment with seven other students from schools across the country (Harvard, University of Texas, art schools in Chicago etc.). I was extremely nervous at first, and it showed, because I messed up… a lot. However, I recovered pretty quickly, as I began to realize that I have a slight edge on the rest of the interns. It’s all due to my perspective on life.
Let me explain:
My dad is from inner city Chicago and my mom is from southern Virginia. They met at the CIA in the 90s and got married shortly after. A couple years later, they had my brother Josh and I, and we’ve been chilling in the suburbs ever since.
What a wild ride it’s been, man.
From Tae Kwon Do students, to band kids, to summer camp counselors (EVERYONE SHOULD BE FORCED TO WORK 3 MONTHS AT A DAY CARE OR FAST FOOD RESTAURANT. BUT THAT’S ANOTHER DISCUSSION), my brother and I were exposed to a lot of different activities and groups of people. In general, I guess it’s the people I’ve met over the years that made me seriously consider filmmaking as a career. (Don’t get it twisted, though. I literally carried my VHS tapes and camcorder around the neighborhood when I was a kid. I think I still have a video of an old fight from elementary school. Movies have been a part of my life ever since I can remember.)
My friends and I did a lot of dumb shit in high school, and I think it was then that I realized our aimless adventures through NOVA meant something. It was the adrenaline rush I got from trashing the neighborhood and laughs shared while loitering in public parking lots that made me want to capture the same energy and emotion on film.
I’m not gonna go into details concerning the influential people in my life, cause some of it is personal and I don’t want y’all stealing any ideas (yeah I’m serious), but my experiences with friends and family are what keeps me going. Both of my parents grinded throughout college and fought through difficult times in their lives, only to have their dreams come true. They’ve instilled this drive into my brother and I, which is why I know I’ll make it.
To be clear, I don’t think that I’m better than anyone else. Everyone has different views and ideas that could be light-years better than mine. I’m simply blessed to know why I’m in Los Angeles and what I want to do, because many don’t. It’s only a matter of time until I’m able to channel my thoughts and feelings into the works of art that have been playing in my head. Sure I’ve been frustrated and angry (PEOPLE REALLY TRY YOU OUT HERE) but I’ve just had to keep everything in perspective and focus on the bigger picture: my desire to make emotionally driven films that mean something. My life hasn’t been perfect. I’m sure yours hasn’t either. It’s the positive and negative memories you take from your past that help you grow into the person you want to be. Your experiences are much more unique than you realize. Know what sets you apart, and use it to your advantage. Keep this in mind while working your ass off and I’m sure you’ll make progress in whatever it is you wish to do in life. I dunno man, that’s what I’ve tried to live by and I’ve gotten this far.
It’s only up from here.
-Lesson by Jeremy Benbow-