It's interesting...your whole life, you are told that you can do whatever you can dream. Seriously, that is the American Dream. We are infused with a belief that no one can tell you what your life will be except yourself. So, you go through life, accomplishing what is important to you at that time, and then you make certain decisions that you hope will bring that dream for you. Sometimes you make bad choices, rather, just not-good choices, that you find out actually hinder you from accomplishing your dreams. But, you rebound.
Is that not what we're taught?
If not explicitly, certainly implicitly.
It's been an interesting few years as I made the choice to switch from pursuing a Biomedical Engineering degree, to a Mechanical Engineering degree, to a Film Studies degree, and I've been absolutely aghast at the response from my peers and family.
You see, I was very successful throughout high school with my studies, especially mathematics, and was named Valedictorian of my graduating class. I came to University with an immense passion for learning, and went through the motions to go into the Bio-med field. I quickly realized that I didn't want that--I felt like I was doing it for the wrong reasons. I eventually switched to Film Studies for various reasons, but explaining it to people just never worked. I was martyred, in a sense, as people criticized me for turning my focus from helping and saving people to a profession that is oft-misunderstood and seen as the quickest way to the devil (maybe that's just where i'm from?). I was never able to articulate my passion and desire to pursue film until today.
I was at school and we had a guest lecturer, Jason Todd Ipson, an up-and-coming director whose most recent feature, Everybody Wants to be Italian, is opening around the city soon. He talked about his past and how he's working to establish himself as a figure in the industry. The interesting thing about him, is that he was a surgeon finishing his residency (at the U!) when he decided to drop out of med school and go to USC for a MFA in film production. People thought he was crazy, and I understood where he was coming from. But he said something to this effect, and it articulates well what I've been trying to say: I love education. That's why I'm into film. I never want to stop learning and teaching, and film was/is the best way for me to continue that passion.
It's so simple, yet exactly why I love what I'm doing. You can't do a film about spaceflight, without researching and understanding spaceflight. You can't do a film about World War II without researching and understanding WWII. Selfish, you may say, until you understand yourself the second part of education. It's not just about learning, but it's about teaching. Why do we research and learn about WWII? So we can make a film and teach the viewer about WWII?
Granted, I realize that many people eat Hollywood alive for the "artistic liberties" taken when a topic is presented, but I stand firm that it's still a viable, even one of the best, forms of education that we have learned.
Anyway...go see Jason's movie. It's a low-budget independent, so the story's got to be good.