Through most of my childhood, Mom used to take me onto the movie set where she worked. Sometimes, I visited in her trailer filled with flowers and chocolates for Friends or Herman’s Head, but other times, if I was good, I got to sit in the audience. There, I would sit quietly and watch wide-eyed as the world around me was transformed into the Land of Pretend and Fantasy. The actors were like dolls, trying on different beautiful costumes, living in pretend “doll houses” and following the orders of the one who played with them all: the director. The whole world was centered on the stage, and the God who created the world sat in the director’s chair and yelled, “cut” at the end of each take.
When I got home I would dress up my Barbie’s in the costumes that I would chose from their extensive wardrobes, and arrange the dollhouse with its tiny furniture and accessories to my specifications. Muttering instructions to my “actors” I directed them through elaborated plots I dreamed up out of my little head. In this world, I was the boss, my dolls would do whatever I wanted to, and while it made my world of imagination complete, it was never the same as the real thing.
At the end of the month, Mom would bring home a treasure-the Jellybean Jar. Each night, if my brother and I ate all our dinner, we were allowed to have a few for dessert. At the time, I believed that the Jellybean Jar was my mom’s wages for her work. For a little girl who did not yet understand monetary value, this was the ultimate payment for a job where one got to play with “dolls” all day.
I am seventeen now, so I understand the difference between my childish perception and reality. But one of the things that has never changed is my love for the world of the movie set. To be a director, and be in charge of manifesting the ideas in my head into reality has been my goal, for as far back as I can remember.
When I attend Chapman University, I’ll be able to learn from mentors who can help me become a better director as a whole. I don’t have dreams of being able to get a job in Hollywood and directing big stars like George Clooney or Nicole Kidman. I don’t want to be a glittering icon that dazzles the eyes of my fans. I want to be seen as I truly am. I am a girl with big dreams, who has lived on the Big Island of Hawaii for the past three years and I’m proud of it. Being in this land of paradise, where everyone seems to know one another, I have learned the true meaning of community. It’s important that I find a school in which I can create malama-which in Hawaiian means to care- a family and a home from the world of the director’s chair.
So far, I have created three short films with an extraordinary group of people, and every time we finish, we always feel bonded together by our experience. Sometimes my brother condescends to join us, or I ask classmates and friends to help. It’s my dad and my mom though, who are always there for me. Showing me how to work the camera, suggesting alternate ways of introducing a character, and lending a patient hand when I’m stuck, I couldn’t ask for more. Working with my family and friends is an experience that I never want to end; yet when it does, I am always looking forward to the next project.
Whether I chose to make films to make people laugh, or cry, or be inspired to do great things, I want to make a difference. My dream job is to have a place where I am respected, and surrounded by actors and crewmembers that are my friends. And of course, lots of jars of jellybeans.