Sep 6, 2015

Statements of Purpose

In a world where people are so often searching for meaning and purpose, it seems that there would be more manifestos floating around the internet.  What better way to aid your own transformation than to dig deep and declare your purpose?…at least for the time being.  It is a way to focus your attention, and to inform others what is important to you (they may even jump on board and help you out).  

I recently applied for (and was accepted into) the UCLA Professional Program for Screenwriting.  As part of the application I was to provide a statement of purpose that contained three things:  

- A little about myself

- My writing experience

- My goals

I asked a friend to proofread it, and was somewhat surprised when after reading it she responded “it’s great to get to know you!”  

Depending on how the conversations lean amongst the people around us, we may be missing out on what they’re all about and why.  We may not be digging deep into our hearts and souls in every lunch conversation, we may get caught up in short term concerns rather than big picture/long term plans.  We are not in the habit of sharing our passions on a regular basis. This is where manifestos, mission statements, and statements of purpose come in.  Imagine a world where facebook posts are filled with a depth of intention, where all of our "friends" know our goals, passions, and motivations.   

"Manifestos bring clarity."

Manifestos bring clarity.  They have the power to unite many over a common purpose.  Countries and civil rights movements are started, and gain momentum and numbers, once the clarity of a manifesto is provided.  Lives change, companies are started, and fictional characters like Jerry Maguire are set off on exciting new courageous journeys once they’ve asserted and released their manifesto.

So, I suppose I have my statement of purpose for this year, and will write a new one at the end of this program.  It may not be the kind that can start a cultural revolution, but it’s a great way to get to know me:

Statement of Purpose*

      I was born and raised in the shadows of New York City, where my life was influenced by a mosaic of culture and music.  Undergraduate studies took me down the coast, to the southwest, and abroad, studying in Siena, Florence, and London.  Classically trained in the arts, I evolved from working with two dimensions to three or more, creating sculptures I could climb into and interact with, wearable sculptures that developed into performance pieces, and film that was initially explored as an alternative of capturing not just the information, but the essence of live art performances.

     I chose to experience more of "the real world" before creating art that would comment on it, starting with the "pseudo peace corps experience" of working in a shelter for women and children.  I returned to work in the art world, eventually went freelance, returned to school for video editing, co-created a feature length documentary, built a successful production company, and now work for a “.com” that was recently acquired by a big data company.  I now feel comfortable declaring that I’ve broadened my worldview and have a lot to write about.

 "I now feel comfortable declaring that I’ve broadened my worldview and have a lot to write about."

     As an editor of documentary style videos I often act as a writer and director as I structure the story, rearrange dialogue, establish pace, and choose visuals that enhance the “script.”  In screenwriting classes I wrote a quirky short comedy script, and Act One of my passion project: a feature film that dives into the world of live art performance and incorporates multimedia elements in the storytelling.   I have since completed that script independently and am continuing to revise it.  I have also written many essays, songs, raps, part of a musical, and hundreds of educational video scripts.  

     While working on Act Two of my passion project I experienced a writing phenomenon when I set up the scene but the characters seemed to play it out on their own.  It was as if I was watching the film play in my head and all I had to do was document it.  

"This openness to the world around me proved to invite the most interesting and, at times, surreal situations."

     Performance art classes introduced me to an exciting new way to see the possibilities around me and assemble a creative piece by connecting a collection of seemingly random thoughts and observations into an exciting multimedia performance.  What was once mundane, like standing in line at the bank, became packed with meaning and visual metaphors.  This openness to the world around me proved to invite the most interesting and, at times, surreal situations.

     During a film festival viewing of a documentary that I not only edited but poured my heart into, I experienced a moment of deep satisfaction and contentment as I realized that the entire room, over five hundred viewers, were silently witnessing my soul that was on the screen before them.  I recognized the potential connection that could happen and discovered a new way for my voice to be heard.

 "I wish to write for those moments when you can hear the music crescendo around the scene that is just starting to pour out from your fingertips."

     I wish to write for those moments when you can hear the music crescendo around the scene that is just starting to pour out from your fingertips.  I wish to develop the mastery needed to translate more of my ideas into screenplays and combine many of my talents and interests through this medium.  I hope to eventually sell or direct my scripts and I am likely to continue after this program to both the advanced screenwriting and the television writing program. 

*quote pulls were not included in the original statement