Tag Archives: entertainment

Lesson #361: Hey, I just met you. And this is crazy.

7/16/15.

Today I rolled out of bed at 5:30am to start getting ready for my day, but no coffee was needed because I was headed to the Emmy Nomination Announcement Ceremony for my internship that morning—and that was enough to fuel me for the entire day.

I arrived at the Pacific Design Center and walked nervously through the beautiful halls complete with sleek modern design and old-fashioned gold detailing. I followed the Emmy Nomination signs to the theater destination. IMG_7368 I assumed I’d report directly to a set-up area labeled E! News like a few of the other shoots I had been on. I thought I would sit there until the crew and the producer arrived, and then I’d help set up.

Surprise.

When I arrived upstairs just shy of 7am, there was no area labeled E! News.  There was a medium-sized room full of breakfast foods and fruit, hot coffee, and a large number of very scary real life adults.

I love engaging with new people. But about 30 or 40 busy, experienced, and most likely stressed out professionals running around at 8 in the morning?

Not so much.

For close to an hour, I waited in a room with retro couches and standing tables packed with producers, camera operators, sound engineers, television hosts, reporters, anchors, and other high-up workers. The producer at E! that I was working under for the morning wasn’t there yet, so I had an hour to either sit by myself in the corner, or use this as an opportunity to chat it up as many industry heads as I could.

I sat in the corner by myself.

Luckily, I had an everything bagel and some strawberries and fruit to keep me company.

A few kind texts from my mom, too.

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I chose a seat in the corner next to a guy in his late 20s/early 30s—mostly because he didn’t seem as intimidating as the others and he was on his phone. This meant I wouldn’t have to awkwardly attempt to talk to him, awkwardly keep a conversation going, or scope out whether he was too busy to talk or if he didn’t want to talk at all.

I knew what an opportunity I was passing up, not out on the floor (or on the couch) interacting with others.

I mean—these are people IN the industry.

But I honestly couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I look 16, I’m obviously younger than the rest of them, and I had trouble thinking I would be taken seriously. What would someone do if I approached them to talk?

Who was I to them?

As soon as the guy next to me got off the phone, he turned to me, rolled his eyes with a kind humor, and a lightheartedly said: “Roommate drama.” I laughed and replied: “Yea, everyone knows about that.” We began talking.

Our conversation was interesting, and it lasted a good while. I told him why I was out here, how I got to where I am, and what I want (or think I want) to do. He seemed genuinely interested; it took me by surprise. Not that he seemed rude or mean from the beginning—or that any of these people did—it was just the fact that he was giving me a piece of his time. And that’s a precious, hot commidity out here.

After the first part of the conversation and a little bit of back and forth about our lives, I ask him what he does and how he likes it.

Turns out, he’s a producer at Time Warner.

We exchanged information, and now I have a new LA friend. Or at least, a connection.

A few minutes after 8am, we were finally allowed into the theater where the announcements would soon take place. Each network lined up in a row to begin preparing to record the live event. A few minutes later, the celebrity announcers, Uzo Aduba and Catt Dealy, gracefully pranced onto stage to greet the house and begin listing the lucky nominees. They were surprised at the end of the announcements when the president of the Television Academy came out on stage to read the last two categories. Both of them were nominated for their own show! They didn’t put that part in the rehearsal, so they had absolutely no idea it was coming. I had a huge smile on my face, watching the two amazing women humbly and adorably freak out on stage as they were selected for such an honor—especially Catt in her british accent.

Both seemed humble and sweet. Uzo was absolutely beautiful (she doesn’t have real life crazy eyes…hence the reason she deserves an Emmy) and flawless, and Catt light up the stage with the positive energy and presence she radiates. Before the interview, I told Catt I loved her romper (seriously it was so cute) and she smiled and laughed and thanked me. She went on to tell me how she loved them because they reminded her of Jimmy Kimmel’s pajamas. After the interview she thanked the crew and turned to thank me (for whatever reason). I wanted to shed a single tear of happiness, but I kept it together. What a kind lady.

On the way back to my car, I found myself walking next to an older lady on the way down the large ballroom stairs. She commented on how marvelous and grand the stairs were, and how she was waiting for her prince at the bottom. I laughed and made a joke about still waiting for my prince to come, and she said “I’ve been waiting for years.” We began talking—and again—I had a lovely conversation with yet another person.

Turns out, she’s a producer at the Television Academy for the Emmy’s and Tony’s.

I wanted to fall over and die.

I also wanted to tell her how funny and ironic it was that I applied to the Television Academy internship and didn’t get it—but somehow I still ended up here anyway.

I wasn’t sure if we were on that level yet, so I didn’t.

Even at my own internship, in one of the first weeks I ran into the executive producer in the bathroom without knowing it.

Sometimes we come across the best people in the most mundane of places.

Whether it’s a producer, a stranger with an interesting or inspiring past, your next best friend, or your future significant other—you never know who you are speaking with.

Be kind to all,

and most of all,

don’t be afraid to say hello.

Day 361.

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Lesson #359: Don’t you, forget about me.

7/14/15.

Another day, another lesson.

But it’s Tuesday—so you know what that means:

Some amazing, motivational, inspirational life and career advice.

Today in class, an amazing couple named Erin and Soon Hee Retting came to speak with us. Erin is a film editor for 20th Century Fox (he’s edited productions such as X-Men: Days of Futures Past and Fantastic Four…wow), while Erin is a producer and composer.

Let’s jump right in, shall we?

Here are 10 things I learned from this awesome duo.

1. Always take time to know and understand your Plan B.

Have a Plan B.

Why?

Because on your way to Plan A, you’ll always come across your Plan B.

When class began, Erin took a student’s laptop in the first row and held it up. The very first thing he asked all of us?

“What would happen if your computer died right now?”

Everyone shuttered at the thought.

“If my computer died, I would die,” Shelby, one of my friends and peers, responded.

Erin told us that in one of his first and earliest films, by the time he went to turn in the master track, the dialogue was off by two seconds. Luckily, he had everything backed up on disks. And if he didn’t… well… you get the picture.

So what’s your Plan B?

On your way to the top, you may have to use it.

2. It’s a waiting game.

Much like Ross from Glee, it took Erin one year, four months, and four interviews to get the job he has with Fox. So don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.

3. Interviews are fun.

Says no one ever. But they can be. Think of your next interview or interviews as a series of conversations. Be yourself. Chat it up. It’s like getting coffee with an old friend except for the fact that you just met but whatever. Let them get to know the real you. You obviously have the skills to be there. Now just prove them right.

4. It’s going to take time.

And it’s going to take a lot of it.

Things always tend to take a LOT longer than you originally thought they would,

especially if you want them to be great.

5. It takes a village.

You can do it alone, but you don’t have to.

6. Keep in mind who you are giving your work to.

Make it memorable. Make it relatable. Make it good.

Speaking of good…

7. Do good at every job you do.

Even getting coffee. Seriously.

If a coffee comes back sloppy they’ll think: “Are they sloppy in the rest of their work?”

When you make it easier for the next person, they’re going to remember you. When they need someone or something in the future, they’re going to remember you.

Be organized, be professional, and have that Plan B ready.

Everything is connected.

Every task matters.

Everyone notices.

8. A, B, C. It’s easy as 1, 2… caring.

Build relationships. Never ever ever just network. Erin said the people he can remember every time are the ones who showed they really cared. Not the ones who are necessarily great at what they do—but the ones who just wanted to learn more. An intern he worked with used to stay 10 or 15 minutes after her paid shift and ask, “Can I see what you do?” She watched what he did because she wanted to know more, and she was the one he called when a friend asked if he knew someone for the job. It’s as easy as showing you care about someone, and that you care about what you do.

9. You’re only as good as your last job.

So again, make it great.

You won’t get it perfect every time,

but if you work your ass off like this is the last thing you’ll ever do—

your work will show for it.

10. The number one thing Erin wish he knew:

Keep in touch.

It’s okay to call someone you know or admire, ask them for a little bit of their time, and thank them for speaking with you. Tell them your desires, your goals, and what you want to do. Ask for advice, and take it.

But the key?

Call again.

Send a birthday card, or a quick message saying Hello or Happy Holidays. Stay on their radar, always.

Don’t expect someone to remember you after the first time. In fact, Soon Hee told us on average it takes up to seven times for someone to remember you after the first encounter. They might even forget about you after the first twenty minutes. But keep yourself in their loop, and place them in yours.

I was actually talking to Frannie, my LA roommate, about this the other day.

I shared with her one of my all-time favorite quotes, and now I’ll share it with you.

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This may not be The Breakfast Club,

but much like Erin and Soon Hee taught us today—

don’t let them forget about you.

Day 359.

Lesson #355: SO MEATY.

7/10/15.

How does one not freak out while meeting Joel McHale?

Answer:

They don’t.

Check the triple chin of excitement

Today was one of the absolute best days ever (there can be like 50 of those, right?) because I saw a live taping of the infamously satiric show—The Soup—and it was so meaty.

My dad used to watch the show religiously. So growing up in my house, it was on every week.

I guess you could say I was pretty excited.

We gathered in the lobby of NBCUniversal, went through a security check and were handed badges, and then escorted through the doors of the studio. The E! News set was completely covered, and the studio-look was replaced by a hanging green screen, black curtains, and rows of chairs on each side of two large cameras.

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A few minutes after we were seated and hyped up by the awesome and hilarious producer, Joel McHale walks onto set: in the flesh and as hot as ever (I think he looks even better with age…….and facial hair).

And who was by his side as tonight’s special guest?

Oh, only JANE LYNCH.

GLEE STAR, GAME SHOW HOST, AND MY IDOL.

As I turned to my friends Wells and Shelby, I had to cover my mouth to keep from screaming any louder than I already was because all of my dreams were coming true and I didn’t want to be carried out on a stretcher—or worse—by security.

Joel was extremely funny and incredibly charming. During commercial breaks, he would talk to the audience, make us laugh, and tell us stories. In between takes, he would run over to a little stool, take a sip of his Starbucks tea, and then run back to the “X” on the floor and tell a joke to the camera like he never left. I’m pretty sure we should either be married or best friends or both.

After the show, Joel invited everyone in the audience to come up, meet him, and take pictures. He told everyone to not be shy and meek and like “hicanitakeapicturewithyou.” His exact words, and I quote, were, “Be bold.” It’s my mom’s birthday today (Happy Birthday, I love you!), so I asked if he could wish her a Happy Birthday. He told me he couldn’t do video, so I asked if I could take a selfie with him instead and put text under it or something, and he was like “Sure?”

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I hope he still wants to marry me.

Even though today was super cool, and Jane Lynch is really awesome, and Joel McHale is the greatest—

we already knew those things.

Or at least, I did.

So what’s the real lesson?

There’s always something going on behind the scenes.

When watching The Soup growing up at home, I laughed at Joel, laughed at the clip he was talking about, laughed at him again, watched a commercial or two, then did it over again until the show was over.

Today—and like the day I shadowed in the control room at my internship—I realized that there’s so much going on that we don’t even see; that we don’t even know about. At home, you don’t see the stage manager handing the wig to Jane to wear in the next sketch. You don’t see Giuliana and Jason talking to each other or laughing or checking Twitter in-between graphics and live takes. You don’t see Joel running to sip his drink or him pacing the floor in between two takes. You don’t see the producers scratch out two or three lines because they’re running short on air time.

There are so many cool intricacies. And I while I could have guessed what happens behind the scenes when the cameras aren’t rolling, how would I have truly ever known?

This goes for everything in life: people, places, stories, things. Just because you think (or assume) you know someone, it doesn’t mean you really do. You never know what’s going on in someone’s life. Sometimes you have no idea what they’ve been through that day, or that month, or that year. You might not always know the story behind a person, or a place, or a thing.

While we may not get to figure out everything that happens behind every scene,

it’s a lesson in itself to just realize that things are happening behind what you can visibly see in front of you—whether those things are good or bad.

So be nice to people, realize that everyone and everything has something going on in one way or another, and that everything has a story.

You never know—it may be worth finding out about.

Right, Joel?

Day 355.

Lesson #354: Staying late.

7/9/15.

Today’s lesson is about after hours,

but in no way, shape, or form is it hot or sexy or steamy.

I stayed at my internship an hour late today to finish up work after I was asked to do a few more things.

I usually really don’t mind.

But this time the sun was setting, and there was a total of four of us left in the office.

I was exhausted, I had a prior commitment that I had to push back, and after a really long day I just wanted to go home.

But as soon as I felt those thoughts starting to come on, I stopped and reminded myself how absolutely lucky I am to have this internship. I reminded myself how opportunities like this only happen once, and how someone needed me. I remembered that everything I do or touch, or everything I don’t do or don’t touch, has an effect on the final outcome. I remembered what I was here for, and that I was chosen to be here. So I sucked it up. I wouldn’t let them down.

As walked across the room to take something somewhere, one of the producers I was working with noticed and stopped me.

“How long are you supposed to be here for?” he asked.

“Until six,” I said. “I’m staying late today.”

The corners of his mouth flipped into a smile.

“That’s how you get ahead,” he said. “That’ll set you apart.”

I’ve always thought it was a myth—the whole idea of staying late and looking good for it. I’ve always thought, “Couldn’t anyone do that to look good?”

But tonight didn’t provide me with some huge realization that it’s not myth, or that in order to be great you have to stay behind.

It just made me realize that people are always watching. People are always noticing.

And that’s nice.

Scary,

but nice.

The real lesson?

Always do your best,

and do what has to be done.

Even if that means staying late every once in a while.

Day 354.

Lesson #353: Learning to slay with Andy Cohen.

7/8/15.

Does Andy Cohen really need any introduction?

The author, executive producer of The Real Housewives franchise, and host of Watch What Happens Live on Bravo is well known for his sense of humor, his style, and his bold personality. Andy has written three books, was the head of development at Bravo for over ten years, and continues to rock out as the host and executive producer of his own late night talk show.

And did I mention he’s won an Emmy?

Lucky for myself and a group of other interns in Los Angeles and New York, we got to listen to him, speak with him, and ask him questions.

I promised myself when I started taking down all of the great things Andy was saying that I would only choose one to write about.

But seriously, who was I kidding?

We all know I can’t do that by now. Plus—there’s always room for more lessons, right? ;)

Andy is actually just as hilarious in person as he is on camera. But what you may not know or see is just how hardworking, motivated, and dedicated he is behind the scenes.

Here’s 10 incredible things I learned from Andy Cohen.

Is it too early to drop the mic?

1. “Be motivated and aggressive, but in a decent way.” 

Andy Cohen started his career as an intern at CBS news alongside Julie Chen. He said that he would literally get in wherever he could in order to learn whatever he could. Andy laughed as he told us he would snoop around to see where the soaps taped. “I would bust through any door I could just to watch what was happening,” he recalled.  Later on in his career, Andy decided to go out on a limb and directly ask— “What do you think about me being on camera?” It didn’t happen right away, of course. In fact, he did a million other jobs before then. But the moral of the story is: if you want something, ask. You never know who could help. You never know what could happen.

2. “You can’t have the authority to say or do something if you haven’t done it.”

Andy stayed at CBS News for 10 years. He started as a desk assistant and moved around the company. He got experience in the edit room, the control room, on the field, answering phones, etc. He practiced wearing a variety of hats, and when the time came to be a producer, he wouldn’t just be able to say, “I want to be a producer,” he had the ability to say, “I know how to be a producer.” Much like we’ve learned from many other people and speakers and guests this month, if you want to be somethingbe it. And if you can’t “be it” on your own terms, then get experience that directly relates to it.

3. “If you don’t get something, it’s actually for a reason. And it will lead you to somewhere you’re supposed to be.”

Even after all of his experience at CBS, Andy Cohen didn’t get his first dream job he applied for. When he was denied the position to be the network runner of a new channel called Trio, he thought it was the end. But one thing led to another, he was introduced to Bravo through a person he knew—and seriously—just look at where he is now. Might I point you to the first two paragraphs again? Keep dreaming. Seriously!

3. Set yourself apart. 

Yea, you’re cool and all. But are you different? When Andy first became a producer at Bravo, he made it a point to be unique. But how? He thought: “I’m going to be the only producer blogging for a network, and I’m going to do it every single day.” (I am Andy Cohen… surprise) The blog was hilarious, and people loved it. It opened the door for him within the network and later contributed to him landing his own show. He had personality—and it was recognized.

4. Has anyone ever told you about—I don’t know—good communication?

People tell us “having good communication skills” is important, and they tell us constantly. We hear it from the day we start applying to our first internships and jobs, to family members (and non-family members… I don’t know which is worse) lecturing us about relationships at wedding receptions, to the inevitably basic advice we receive during our first class public speaking class. If you’re not as sick of hearing about it as I am, then you should receive an award.

And maybe a little gold star too.

I can’t pretend like I’m good at it, because I’m not. I like to hold conversations with anyone and everyone—from a friend to a stranger on the bus. But that’s not necessarily good communication—that’s just talking. When it comes to asking for what I want or breaking the bad news or talking about a problem or anything up that alley?

Hi. I’ll be in the corner, trying not to barf.

When people say the words “good communication,” I instantly think: “Seriously. What even is this ‘good communication’ you speak of? And what exactly does it entail? What does it actually even mean?”

And I think Andy was the first one to actually answer it for me.

(He’s a good communicator, clearly)

He said this:

“Be able to communicate clearly, concisely, and decisively—about what you want, and why you want it.”

If I could underline this a million times, I would.

Spit it out!

What do you want?

And the real key to being a good communicator…

why do you want it?

5. Speaking of what you want…

We’re not talking about your dream job, or dream significant other, or the $10 bathing suit bottom you just saw on sale.

We’re talking about the task at hand.

Andy said you need two things to do it,

and two things to do it well.

1) A strong sense of vision. What do you want? What do you not want?

2) A strong sense of the brand. What are you like? What fits you? And if it’s for a company—what fits them?

In other words?

Know yourself and know what you’re working with.

6. How do you balance—well—life?

I had the opportunity to ask Andy a question, and you could probably guess what it was.

“You do a lot of things: from writing, to producing, to hosting—to now starting on a new project in the fall. As someone who wants to do a lot of things as well, how do you balance—well—life?”

Andy paused, laughed, and then said: “…I really don’t know.”

After a giggle from myself and the audience, he told me four of the most powerful words—and four words that I needed so badly to hear.

“Work deadline to deadline.”

7. You will receive criticism, whether you like it or not.

It’s inevitable. You’ll receive positive feedback and negative feedback and see bad comments and hear horrible things. That’s just the way it goes. “You have to let it roll off of you,” Andy said. He told us to not let the good stuff go to our heads, and to not let the bad stuff derail us. “Consider who it’s coming from and go from there.”

8. Monitor your breath, always.

When someone asked Andy: “What’s the number one advice you would give an intern, if you could only say one thing?” He replied with this. Seriously.

“Monitor your breath. Always,” he said.

Everyone laughed.

“I’m dead serious.”

He told us it’s the absolute worst first impression you can leave with someone.

The stank may not last, but that memory of you does forever.

9. Do you, boo boo.

“Focus,” Andy said. “Don’t get too political or backstabby or crazy. Just make sure whatever work you’re doing is good.” That’s what really matters.

10. Be #you. 

You are you! You’re your own brand. You’re own person. And that makes you awesome in itself. Andy told us, “I try to be myself and not think about it too hard.” He said people can always tell when you’re not being yourself. One thing he always remembers is what (he thinks) Oprah once said: The key to being great on TV is being the same you on camera as the you off camera. One of the most important things you can do is work somewhere that allows you to be yourself. This applies to every industry and every person—no matter who you are.

Now, I know I said I would tell you ten things.

But I think I’ll leave you with one last piece of advice from Andy as good luck.

11. “Swing as many times as you can before you find where you want to be.”

Like Andy said,

follow your bliss.

And if you keep working towards it,

you’ll be just fine.

Day 353.

Lesson #352: The ultimate “glee.”

7/7/15.

You could say today was basically the best day of my life,

because one of the writers from Glee, one of my favorite show ever, came to speak to us in class.

Let’s just say that I have a slight obsession with Glee.

I’ve been watching the show since the very beginning. Episode one, season one—I was sitting in front of my TV the night the pilot aired in 2009. I died laughing at the dry humor, was fascinated with array of characters, and dreamed of being apart of something as cool as a singing group of people who were weird but could also somehow sing and dance at the same time: my life dream. I, myself, was a freshman in high school—just like the characters of McKinley High. I grew up alongside of them.

I had a poster, a shirt, a key-chain, and even pajamas. I used to have season premiere and season finale viewing parties in my living room; couches full of friends.

I cried when Will’s first wife lied about the baby, and when Kurt and Santana came out to members of their accepting and non-accepting families. I cried when Will proposed to Emma with a Rihanna song, even though I hate Rihanna. I wanted to be Mercedes after she sang “Bust yo Windows.” I yelled at the TV when we found out Quinn was pregnant, and every time Sue ruined anyone’s life, and whenever Kitty was a bitch to Marley. I had a crush on Mr. Schuester, Ryder, and Blaine too—even though he was gay (#why). I tried to learn the “I’m a Slave 4 U” choreography after the Britney Spears episode. I called my parents and told them I loved them after the school shooting episode. I was heartbroken when Cory Montieth died. I even watched both seasons of The Glee Project and became attached to people who would never even go on to be apart of the actual show. Actually—I was so obsessed with the show, that a dance network on YouTube found my channel and contacted me to host web video recaps for two seasons.

Even though the show began it’s inevitable downwards spiral after the second season (it’s okay—Ross, the writer, agreed), I held on for dear life through graduation, and through the “new” New Directions members, and through NYADA, and continued to love the twists and turns and dynamic characters of the show.

Right before I came to LA, I finished watching the last episode of the very last season. I do not kid you when I tell you I sobbed in bed by myself as they sang One Republic on stage for the last time.

Glee was officially over, and so was my teen-hood.

So now—you could probably guess how excited I was to find out that I would be meeting and hearing from one of the people responsible for the creation of the memorable characters and moments that was a part of my life for so long.

Ross Maxwell was as cool as he sounds.

He graced the classroom with his kindness, his wit, and his intelligence on the business.

More than anything, it was just cool to finally ask someone all of my fan girl questions and to be in the glory of his presence. Ross gave us some really great advice, as most of the other speakers on Tuesday classes usually do . But what I loved about Ross, was that above all—he kept it simple.

Here’s the top three things I took away from Ross Maxwell.

1. Temp. He told us, “Get your ass into any kind of door you can.” And it’s as simple as that. You gotta start somewhere. And that “somewhere” will help put you somewhere else.

2. Your life—at least if you’re going to an industry like entertainment—will consist of lots of waiting. Ross had the interview for Glee in March, waited, like, six months to hear back, got a “maybe,” waited another month, and then finally got the gig and dipped out of his job at E! News (Where I’m interning now… eep!). So the lesson here: Good things come to those who wait. Rather—good things come to those are forced to wait, hate to wait, but do it anyway at the price of getting to have what they want or love in the end. Pay close attention: this a good life lesson in general.

3. You’d be surprised who will come into your life 10 years later. Be nice, always.

Amazing, right?

But my favorite, favorite, favorite thing Ross said?

“These are all lessons I still try to tell myself.”

I’ve mentioned something like that in a blog post way, way, long ago.

This, my friends, is life.

As we all know—nothing is perfect. We are not perfect. And just because we learn something once, or because we find or realize something, doesn’t mean that the skill or idea or lesson is automatically instilled in us. Just like anything else in life, it takes practice. We’ll have to keep reminding ourselves. We’ll have to work for it. We’ll have to earn it. We’ll have to learn.

Life won’t always be “glee”ful.

But the best thing you can do?

Appreciate the lessons learned.

And keep learning them.

Day 352.

Lesson #346: Getting clear.

7/1/15.

I can’t quite explain what was happening in my brain as Amy was talking yesterday, but somewhere in the midst of it, something clicked for me. And today only confirmed it further.

Like Amy, early on in my life I fell in love with the way movies made me feel; how all these elements could come together and move a group people—even change people. Before I lost all my baby teeth or knew how to write cursive, I already was putting on shows with my Barbie dolls on my bedroom floor. By the time I was 10, I had a notebook full of novel ideas and chapters, pieces of movie and television scripts, and short plays. I wrote and devoloped a television series about a group of pre-teens living on the beach before I even had boobs. I remember asking my mom and dad to use the family computer to type all of these scripts and chapters, printing out pages and pages of stories and sticking them in Lisa Frank folders (that I still have… it’s hilarious). Kids were asking for Polly Pockets and Easy Bake ovens, and I was the kid asking for a typewriter.

My friends would come over after middle school, and we would re-enact scenes from Hannah Montana in the living room for our parents. On a shitty flip-cam that I got for Christmas one year, my neighbors and I would record ourselves singing songs we wrote in spiral notebooks that were falling apart from being written in so much. We even took turns strumming my small green guitar that we had absolutely no idea how to actually play. 

When I picked up a much better (but still shitty) camera at the age of 12 and made my first semi-real video with a friend, we decided to post it on YouTube for fun. I later found a video editing software that came with my laptop, and started experimenting with more videos. That’s when it really began.

I started making and filming my own original skits—then music videos—then movie scene re-makes—then my own short films. I gained a YouTube following and started building relationships with people in the online community who loved doing the same thing. My interest in being in front of the camera began to grow as well. During my first year of middle school in sixth grade, my mom encouraged me to try out for the school play. I won best actress for my role as the school nerd that year, and tried out and acted in the plays every year after that. I continued to do theatre all throughout high school, making friends and falling in love with the costumes and characters and stories; both performing and directing. I took what I knew from the stage, and let it inspire me to do some of the same things on camera—and I loved it.

In one of my first production classes in college, it hit me: I was developing and writing treatments before I knew what they were, and shooting low angles and high angles and rack focusing before I even knew they had names. I was a writer, producer, and sometimes actor, and I didn’t even know it. I was just doing what I loved.

As I got older, I realized it wasn’t just the act of movie-making that I loved.

It was storytelling.

As you can see—I used the word “love” at least four or five times while explaining my story.

And if that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what else does.

When Amy told us yesterday to get clear on what we want by tuning in to what we love instinctively—it only solidified the answer for me.

Storytelling runs through my veins; it’s constantly on my mind and in my heart.

But I’m still pretty confused.

I mean—I’m 20.

Storytelling is a very broad term. I like a lot of things—so many things that I don’t know exactly what I want to do yet. I don’t know where to start. I want to act. I want to talk and discuss. I want to write. I want to develop. I want to produce. I want to direct.

At my internship this summer, I love being there. I like what I’m doing and how much I’m learning. I’m working hard.

But in the midst of Amy talking, I realized something right then and there.

There are two different kinds of hard work. There’s the kind of work where you try hard because you want to appear good, be good, or look good.

And then there’s the kind of work where you’re working hard and you don’t even realize it. Where you stay up all night (like right now on the living room floor writing this) to perfect something, or understand something, or finish something. Where you work hard because you want to discover, or find, or build, or be better; because you want to make something the best that it can be.

You’re working hard for yourself.

And I realized the second is the one we’re supposed to chase after.

I found that where I worked my hardest, is creatively.

Using my brain to create. To problem solve with my eyes, heart, and mind. To figure out where something should be placed, or what to capture, or how something can be told. To strategize how it can be marketed and advertised and sold. To execute visions, and write ideas. To bring something inspiring to the world. And it’s what what feels right to me.

I don’t know where I’m going yet.

But I do know that feeling is what I’m going to follow.

Day 346.