After my incredible semester in New York City, I returned to Texas to graduate. And then… well, to be honest, I had no idea.
There I was in Waco, Texas, fresh out of college with a degree in Film & Digital Media. I knew I wanted to work in the film industry, and I knew that Waco was not the place to pursue my goal. I didn’t have a lot of money saved; moving to Los Angeles or New York seemed impossible. When a good friends told me she was moving to Austin and was in need of a roommate, I was more than happy to volunteer. I had been to Austin, but had never spent a significant amount of time there. I was aware that the city boasted a successful indie film scene and this seemed like my best option to start on my path towards a career in filmmaking.
In the summer of 2007, I moved to Austin, Texas. I quickly found an unpaid internship in the screenplay department of the Austin Film Festival and a waitressing job to pay the bills. I was excited and I hoped that it would provide a great opportunity to break in to the indie filmmaking industry in Austin.
Unfortunately, this would not be the case. My excitement faded quickly as I spent that summer sorting through mediocre screenplays and dealing with unappreciative customers. I began to realize that there were no connections to be had through my coworkers at the internship. The festival was quickly approaching, which meant my only job in the film industry was nearing it’s end. With no other prospects, I began to feel lost. I began working long hours at my waitressing job and spending more money than I should have.
I needed to leave Austin. I felt completely unmotivated and stuck, and began to feel depressed. This was the first time in my life that I felt as though I wasn’t progressing towards my dreams. It was time for a drastic change.
I decided two things: I would apply to film school and, while waiting for the results of my applications, I would return to London.
Getting back to London proved to be surprisingly easy. I discovered a program called BUNAC, which offered work abroad programs to recent grads in a number of English-speaking countries.* The only hurdle was that I needed to arrive in England within six months of my graduation — a deadline fast approaching. I booked my trip for December 1st, with only a few extra days to spare.
With three months until my trip, I went to work on my film school applications. The promise of a six-month trip to London had renewed me. I wrote some seriously amazing stuff in those applications — most notably my letter to USC. Even then I had this weird confidence that they would accept me.
By the end of November my applications were sent, my bags were packed, and I had saved a reasonable sum from waitressing full-time. I was ready for my next adventure.
Looking back, it was an amazing strength that got me through this stagnant period in my life. I have always had big goals and dreams, and my confidence in them was what allowed me to recognize that it was time to make adjustments to the course of my life. People always tell you to follow your dreams, but not many have the strength. I’m so glad I did.
Stay tuned for more recaps of my amazing adventures!
*At the time, BUNAC offered work abroad programs in England, though it now seems to only offer internship programs. Work abroad programs through BUNAC are currently only available in Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland.
Be sure to read the next chapter of my travel series, in which I reflect on the courage required to travel solo.