The princess runs away, fast as her feet can take her. Chasing her closely behind, a giant thumps his feet with a booming voice preceding his every step as he tries to catch her. Their distance keeps on narrowing, so the princess opens the bag she’s holding and throws a handful of salt at the giant. Soon, a deep blue sea separates the two. Beyond the sound of crashing waves, a familiar voice calls my name.
I lifted my head from the book. The voice turned out to be my primary school teacher’s, and I spent the rest of that period standing in front of the classroom.
If I could only choose one word to describe my childhood, I wouldn’t even have to think: fantasy. My kindergarten teachers would complain that I did not pay enough attention in class. I spent almost every waking moment in the world of words – where letters build the bricks of the castle and imagination breathes life into the people trapped inside the books.
But I couldn’t help it. The ordinary world was just too dull and paled in comparison with what my brain thought it could be.
By the end of my junior high school, I started to feel restless. I felt that something was missing, something that even a full mark can’t replace. But I shushed it away and tried focusing on my exams instead.
It was not until the eleventh grade I finally realized what the itch was. School alone just wasn’t enough. What would be the best possible result after I study day and night? I’d ace all my exams. But after I got stellar marks, then what? Sure, it’d come in handy when applying to universities, but what would make me stand out among hundreds of stellar-marked students from other high schools?
One day, it suddenly hit me. Apparently, what I wanted to do had been staring me in the face the whole time: film.
Today, I am no longer the kid whom buries her head in books and daydreams the whole time. But I never really left my childhood’s imaginary world. That’s why, naturally, film draws my attention. That’s also why I decided to join my high school’s Cinematography Club.
In Cinematography Club, I learn that making film is anything but glamorous. Making film is a labor. A single thirty-seconds take can take hours to complete. There are too many parties involved: the actors, the director, the cameramen, and the producer to mention a few. For example, a mistake made solely by the actor will result in the whole film crew having to reshoot the scene all over again.
As tiring and exhausting it is, that’s part of what makes film special. It’s a communal activity that puts people from different backgrounds together – nobody can make a film by himself or herself.
But the main reason why I want to go into film is because I’m forever indebted to film. Film has helped me through my ups and downs in life; it gives me strength and inspiration when I felt like giving up. After experiencing the power of film by myself, I found my dream. I want to make films that can open up new perspectives and give people strength, just like how film gives strength to me.
Majoring in Bachelor of Arts will give me the chance to explore cinematography in depth – a chance that no other major can offer. By digging deeper into the world of filmmaking, I hope I can expand my knowledge and expertise and as a result, be able to make engaging and meaningful films.
I know that the road ahead would be rough and unfamiliar. Working in the film industry also doesn’t offer much in terms of personal finance and job security, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take.
The American novelist CG FEWSTON has been a Visiting Scholar at the American Academy in Rome (Italy), a Visiting Fellow at Hong Kong’s CityU, & he’s a member of Club Med & a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce (RSA) based in London.
He’s the author of several short stories and novels. His works include A Father’s Son (2005), The New America: A Collection (2007), Vanity of Vanities (2011), A Time to Love in Tehran (2015), and forthcoming: Conquergood & the Center of the Intelligible Mystery of Being; Little Hometown, America: A Look Back; A Time to Forget in East Berlin; and, The Endless Endeavor of Excellence.
He has a B.A. in English, an M.Ed. in Higher Education Leadership (honors), an M.A. in Literature (honors), and an M.F.A. in Creative Writing & Fiction. He was born in Texas in 1979.
You can also follow the author on Facebook @ cg.fewston – where he has 400,000+ followers