To Film: How Changing My College Major Changed My Life

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downsized 0928111108 To Film: How Changing My College Major Changed My Life

(credit: Rosalie J. Kakos)

It was after realizing that I’d serve the world better going after what I truly wanted that I changed my major for the final time. From Elementary Education, to English, and finally, to Media Arts and Studies – or, Film. I remember taking a career test in high school (never really believed them but they did entertain me), and feeling anxious and excited for the score. Well, because this test was an official career test. Not like the ones you find in a google search. Oh no, these were the real deal.

Well, after an hour, yes, an hour of answering questions (it was online), and trying to give them the truth rather than what I wished my response could be, I got my answer. In the 98th percentile – film director. Hmmm, I thought to myself. It made sense and it didn’t because, while I was in love with the camera, I never saw it as something I could spend my life doing.

During my last year of high school, in a psychology class, I wrote a script for the group I was assigned to because no one wanted to help. It was the first script I had ever written. It had some crude humor, but that’s the beauty of film – you can be and not be under the guise of – it’s only a movie. Then, after watching some home videos of myself handing the movie camera (those huge,  bulky, VHS cameras), and watching myself perform, sing and dance, as well as spotting myself in pictures with a camera in my hand, as young as 11 –years-old, I knew that test may have been more accurate than I expected.

I consider myself a writer, first and foremost, and a poet at heart. It wasn’t until I began to write a novel that I realized just how truthful that career test was. Just how important film would become in my life. As I sat down to write this story, it came out in screenplay format. Strange, because I didn’t know the official format. But it was close enough. Brief descriptions, dialogue, and scene headings. I didn’t know in what form this story wanted to be. But every time I sat down to write, it came out in screenplay format. So I ran with it. I entered a screenwriting competition, but didn’t win. No worries though because I wrote that script in one week. I didn’t see my family for that entire week either. Complete solitude and focus and I finished my work.

On August 4th, 2010, I changed my major. And that day, I’m telling you, I felt more alive than ever. I felt purposeful, joyful, and peaceful because I wasn’t living a lie anymore. I wasn’t lying to myself. I love writing and I love film, what better way to combine the two?

Fast forward to now and I’m shooting a short film. I’m going to chronicle the process of student film making from writing, to pitching, to shooting. There’s a lot more to it than you think. Like how it can take up to 8 hours to edit together a five minute video. Yes, you read that right.

Go pop some popcorn and turn off your cell phone. The movie is about to begin…

Rosalie J. Kakos is a Community Affairs Intern at WWJ-TV/CW50 CBS Detroit.

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