When it finally came time to upload my first ever YouTube video, I was scared of not knowing who or where in the world it would end up. My finger hovered over my mouse until it cramped up. There was no willpower in Will (aka me) to click and let the video go public. I never thought that I’d witness myself write these words…but hey, could you check out my YouTube channel?
The decision to pick up my phone and start recording was haphazard. The inspiration to start a YouTube channel felt rushed. The anxieties in my mind built an obstacle ahead of me that I didn’t overcome. Rather I bulldozed through all of my doubts. The anxiety I'm talking about came from the criticism, mediocrity, and embarrassment that didn't even exist yet. Maybe I was fueled by confidence, or nativity. It could have also been a cocktail of all of these emotions creating a volatile mix that just sparked my creativity. No matter the catalyst, I felt driven in crafting a video to put out into the world.
The video I crafted is titled, “HOW I WAS INVITED TO THE OSCARS TWICE - Answering Instagram Q&A About the Industry.” It’s a project that came into existence over several days. However, while the Instagram polls and writing took days, I only gave myself a weekend for the video. I gave myself only two days to shoot, edit, and upload. For those experienced in visual content creation, I’m sure they’d call me crazy for trying to do so much at once.
This same weekend, I was writing and rewriting my script. It was important that every time I did a new take my answers went deeper. And all this was not even taking into account the care it took in designing a banner or content writing. Why was I putting myself under all this pressure you might ask? Here’s my answer; I felt like if I didn’t start now, then I never would.
“Aren’t you 5 years too late?” “Who do you think you are? A wannabe influencer?” or “What do you know about making videos?” These are all the questions that crawled around my mind before I even hit the record. There’s a quote I live by, that my college mentor granted me, she said, “We are always in our process of becoming.” This quote was the remedy to the anxieties that started to cloud my mind.
This first video would not, and could not, dictate my skills or the opportunities ahead of me. I am at the foot of a new journey. Ahead of me is a chance to grow in my faculties as a storyteller. My passion in life is to understand and practice language and its impact on people. I’ve always loved visual mediums, that’s why I work in entertainment. Even though I think I’m late to the content creator party, who's to say I can’t throw myself one?
When those questions came up I knew how to answer them. “No I’m not too late, I’m finally ready.” Just like in my college days when it came time to rally, I could never show up for pre-party pictures until I felt ready. “I know who I am. I’m a storyteller. I’m a young professional. I’m a Latinx in Hollywood. And I’m an amateur fitness enthusiast.” Knowing oneself is knowing one’s brand. I’m glad that I studied the arts of rhetoric, media, and composition. Understanding my identity and being able to convey that with confidence is powerful.
My last answer to those anxieties is, “I don’t know much about making videos. But I know how to learn.” Because I wanted to make a video with purpose I made sure I researched the form first. I noted some of my favorite YouTubers and I studied their style, the visual grammar, and their delivery. I treated making a video with the same care and respect as when I write a pitch to a reporter. I have to feel confident in my own knowledge of the material to convince someone else of its merit. Through watching videos, and asking friends what topics I should speak on, I felt beyond proud when it came to finally click on, “Public.”
I wanted to write a blog that acted as my director’s statement. Sharing my concerns and the labour it took to make the final product is part of my process. In my life, I’ve been critiqued as someone who only shares my success. I take this comment and I have acknowledged it. Through writing this piece - and in making the content that I’ve recently made, I want to show people my depth. It’s true it’s easier to tell you about that time I waved hi to Meryl Streep, but that moment exists because of the endless hours it took me to research, network, and showcase my talents in the industry.
Whether you know me already or do not, I thank you so much for engaging with my work. As a writer, the greatest joy I get is when I know that someone was impacted by my words. All I can do is share my stories and hope that the impact of my words inspires someone to start their process of becoming…
We had just arrived at my friend's house, and I announced myself through saying, "I'm home." My friend's dad said, "Welcome back...I guess." While no one thought much of it, his utterance resonated with me. It proves to be more true every-time I come back for a break.
I can call Los Angeles home, but in reality for the last 3 years Geneva, NY has been my residence.
When I talk about school, I'm constantly smiling. I am well too aware of the rose colored glasses I wear when sharing my anecdotes. But, the truth is that whether I genuinely like HWS or I've made the best of my situation, in less than a year I'll be on the steps of Coxe Hall grabbing the diploma that equated to 4 years of hard sacrifices.
I've recently worked out something harder than moving away from home. Moving away from the person you used to be. I used to think that I really knew myself. However, we are always in the process of becoming. And I have become a version of myself that is hyper focused, sharp, and also sometimes erratic. One of my strengths is how I can go from 0 to 100 in .5 seconds. It can also be my greatest weakness. I can get passionate about something so quickly. Yet, I can also jump off ship before we even hit the ice berg. It's been my time at HWS that has helped me realize this fury that is double sided.
In talking with a close friend, I know that I have a lot of potential to do amazing things in life. And I also have the potential to crash and burn if I'm not ready.
So here's to a summer where No Chill Will gets some chill. Because, we all have to grow up eventually.
April has arrived, and not only is the world blessed knowing that my birthday is approaching, but it's also formal szn here at HWS. Spring was supposed to spring, and it did for a day, for like an hour. Regardless, we're still rallying regardless of the risk of frost bite. Silly bands may have gone out of style but #YOLO lives on!
This spring, I have had the fortune of finding my way into an amazing friend group that I can declare as squad goals. From my fellow juniors, to the seniors suffering from the scaries, and even the sophomores and first years whose names I'm learning, this spring has been such an engaging one. I've not only come back to make new friends, but most importantly I strengthened some. Being able to know that I'm only a text away from finding a friend is a sentiment that I missed for almost 3 years since I got to college. Thanks to all my friends this spring, I feel like Hobart is closer to being called home.
Anyways, let me get back to the juice of this piece. The hype for all things formal season. You already know all the Insta captions from, "Formalaties aside" to "A little formal never killed nobody." While these captions are tired, and we have all see the sorority squad to death, I'm here to say DEAL WITH IT! J.K. C'mon people, step it up!
This is the time when Beef expectations are thrown aside and people transcend their fashion and kidney's limits. From online shopping, to not eating the week before the formal, this is the time to rally and really show up and show out. I'm personally excited to see my Snapchats every Sunday morning, because I know it's something I won't remember. Formals can start to add up, which is why I don't recommend going out all month long. Instead, I would rather go to 1 or 2 where I know all my friends will be. That way, I can get the most bang for my buck. Of course, if you got the coin to show out every week then hey more power to you! April is an exciting and nerve wracking time because this is crunch time for people at the Colleges. Everyone is moving up, earning new responsibilities along the way. The seniors have to start worrying about the real world, the juniors have to start doing adult things like finding housing and internships, the sophomores think they run the show, and I think the first-years are just trying to stay alive.
We all have our crosses to carry, just make sure you have a great friend group to help carry your Swarovski encrusted one.
Tomorrow starting at 9 AM PCT, I will be taking over the Oscars’ snapchat in honor of the Academy Gold Program’s graduation ceremony. Along with being elected as the student speaker, I will be giving an inside view of the closing today for this revolutionary program. Make sure to add the Academy’s Snapchat: Theacademy to see the full story.
The ceremony will include recognizing interns from across 20 of the most successful companies in entertainment like Disney, HBO, FremantleMedia, Fotokem, Technicolor, Warner Bros., and many more. The Academy will also announce the mentor pairings for the Gold interns. Each of the 68 Gold interns will receive a mentor.
Mentors are Academy members, many Oscar winners, who have volunteered to offer their time and expertise about breaking into Hollywood. Along with having mentors, the soon to be alumni will be invited to continue to attend Academy screenings. For those interested in fellowships and contests, the Academy will waive the fee for former Gold interns to enter contests.
Tomorrow is sure to be an amazing ceremony, and I hope you can follow along. The Academy’s Snapchat is theacademy .
One of the most sought after moments in the industry is when you are allowed to go on set, and I am here to tell you that it's not as magical as you may think. Being on set is a lot of hard work. The day is long, the tasks can be repetitive, but if you carry a great attitude and some friends than it could be one of the best days you have ever had.
I am no stranger to being on a television show set. I am a well seasoned spectator as I have to tapings for shows like Ellen, Good Morning America, The Late Show, and a few more. All of these outings have taught me that television is not as easy as you may think, and you need a lot of energy to be an audience member. Consider that the 1 hour you see stems from 3-5 hours of footage.
On shows like GMA, the pressure is magnified as it's airing live. Imagine not dozens, but hundreds of people working on a wire making sure that nothing happens otherwise they are out of a job, probably 5ever.
I mention the strenuous nature of tapings because people outside of the industry think that as soon as the camera starts rolling it's smooth sailing in Studio City. But I am not here to talk about what people think, after all assumptions and stereotypes are the reason we're in such a mess, I want to share with you what it's like being on set.
I have to give some love and a shout out to my friend Alondra, center above, as she is the girl who has put in the work to get me on some great shows. See you don't have to work in entertainment to get onto a show set. All you need to have is a Wi Fi connection. My friends always ask me how I have gotten on these shows, and the truth is that tickets are free!
Rule 1 Plan Accordingly
Get your computer, log onto a site for audience tickets, and then pick a date! Yes! Its that easy! Getting to be part of a live studio audience seems like a mysterious endeavor, but it's really about planning ahead and organizing your time. Tapings take about 3-4 hours depending on the show you are on. Often, the wait is the worst part.
You should also know that for shows as big as Ellen, your RSVP does not guarantee you a seat. This is why when you sign up to be on a show you commit your day to it. One of the most important points I have to stress is that just because you show up, and for those who may feel entitled, that doesn't mean a seat is waiting for you.
Rule 2 Get Your Mug Camera Ready
You will often hear a producer or the hype man talk about the importance of exuberayting energy. The audience is cued to stand up when the host or talent steps out and you are expected to hyperbolize every reaction. Great practice for any thespians in the crowd.
The tickets and producers stress the importance of smiling and coming off as this is the greatest day of your life. Sometimes it may feel like the exact opposite though. After multiple takes of the same joke to get a good laugh track, or the first hour of sitting in the unergonomic chair, than the smiles are probably forced. It is also not uncommon for groups to be split up and spread across the audience if more than 1 episode is being taped. Try to get cozy with the stranger next to you otherwise things will be #awkward.
Rule 3 Never be a Fan
This may not make sense right away, so let me explain. The worst person in the world is the person on set that makes it impossible to get any work done. You may be having a day off or indulging in a vacation, but remember that everyone around is working. The people on set are trying to get their livelihood. I have been on sets before where talent interacts with the audience, they may call you onto the stage, or you can run into them while going to the bathroom. What you should remember is that celebrities are always being photographed, and harassed, and that they are people too.
You never want to seem uncultured, or crazy, by chasing after a picture with talent. If the opportunity rises than do it for the Gram, but other than that try not to geek out. You don't want to be kicked off a set for making people feel uncomfortable. Believe me this has happened before.
Rule 4 Have Fun!!!
Remember this is an industry built off entertaining and bringing people together. Go with a great attitude and I guarantee that you will leave with great memories, and if you are lucky a gift card or coffee mug.
I've left with both #GetIt