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Personal Statement - MFA In Film Production (NYU, UCLA, Columbia)


rhythm23 1 / -  
Oct 9, 2021   #1
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why I want to become a filmmaker



Hello, I want your help to check the grammar but more importantly if the story is cohesive. Does it show why I want to become a filmmaker. What can I get rid of or what should I add to make the essay more cohesive and overall stronger? Thank you in advance.

My earliest memories are of my mother waking up everyday at 6 am to make breakfast, pack my lunchbox and get me ready for school before commuting an hour to work. Whether it was sunny or raining my mother never missed a day of work. And I rarely saw my father as sometimes he would be gone for weeks and months on business trips. One afternoon I overheard my mother on the phone with my aunt; in a somber mood she said, "Nargis, every night I come back and find my son asleep. I can't spend any time with him. He needs me."

I began to believe my mother's words. I did need her. That was the first day I thought to myself, 'Why do my parents work so hard?' On one of our walks back from school, I mustered up the courage to ask my mom, 'Why can't you quit your job? Dad's always working and so are you. I don't want you to work.' I saw her tear up a bit and then she said, 'One day when you grow up and get a job, then I will quit.' I didn't know what she meant but it didn't take long for me to realize that my mother was also the father figure of our house. The frequent absence of my father meant, she would have to do all household chores and take care of me. I admired her for being so hardworking and patient, but our life was still in a state of constant struggle. Many nights I pretended to be asleep while my parents used to fight over finances as we couldn't afford some basic necessities.

On my thirteenth birthday, I had just found out a tragic reality about my father. On many of those trips that I assumed were for business, he would visit my grandparents and take care of his disabled brother who was also suffering from dementia. My dad had to bear all my uncle's medical expenses. The reason he worked so hard was because he needed to support two families, not one. For so long, my father's kindness went unnoticed, but I began to appreciate him even more since then. I realized that my parents have so many sides to their personalities; traditional yet modern, wounded yet loving, struggling yet hopeful.

My dad wanted to become a photographer but found himself fighting to provide for his wife, son, parents and brother. He decided to quit his passion and get a job in a non-profit. My mother, who fell in love with a photographer stood by him with utmost support through thick and thin. The more I learned about my parents, the more it inspired me to learn about other people's lives and their stories. I realized that our stories can help us understand each other, break stereotypes and positively influence the society. I fell in love with the idea of storytelling and in my heart decided that I want to be a filmmaker one day and tell stories of tragedy and triumph that explores the human condition and moves people.

Fast forward a few years, I came to the United States from Bangladesh to pursue my bachelor's in economics and computer science at the University of Rochester. I would spend hours in the library doing math and science homework and preparing for midterms and finals. But I had no intention of giving up on filmmaking. During weekends and in my free time, I would watch films from around the world and write my own short stories and screenplays. I took a directing class in my junior year of college which further solidified my interest. I learned techniques such as, blocking and framing. I spent hours rehearsing with actors helping them build their characters, researching and developing my vision for my short film. When the camera started rolling during our first take, I felt a sense of joy that I never felt before. I saw my imagination being brought to life, it was magical. I recalled the moment when I first realized my love for filmmaking; I listened to the whisper of my heart and held onto that feeling through all the ups and downs of life.

At the end of the semester, my short film was selected to screen at our university film festival. There were times when I questioned if I have the discipline and passion to become a filmmaker. All my doubts disappeared when I saw my friends, teachers and all the attendees of the festival clap with a big smile on their faces after watching my short film. It took me a moment to fathom that I was the reason behind their reaction. I was able to move an audience with my story and scenes that I directed.

A new inspiration was set in motion, I decided I want to make films more earnestly. I didn't have enough money to buy a camera, so I rented them from the library or borrowed from my friends. I would walk around campus for hours and record videos of students crossing the bridge, lights reflecting on the Genesee river, leaves changing color in the fall. I wanted to see the world through a lens and feel what the camera was recording. I joined the undergraduate film council and became their business manager the following year. I actively helped in numerous video recording and student short film projects with the help of this club.

After graduation I moved to Denver for a new job in tech. Here I started visiting local film theaters and meet ups. I made new friends and connections with several independent film groups. I worked on projects as editor, script supervisor, writer and director. During COVID-19 lockdown, I kept myself busy editing videos, writing new stories and making short films within the confinement of four walls. The joy filmmaking brought (and still brings) me in those lonely days rekindled the fire and reminded me why I must never let go of my dream.

My parents who now live 9000 miles away, were always my biggest source of inspiration. In early 2021, I finally decided to share my passion with them. I told them that I wanted to attend film school, I want to master the craft and become the best filmmaker I can. I want to tell stories of adversity and achievements, create authentic characters who we can relate to and compose imagery that feel like poetry. I have seen firsthand how my parents struggled and emerged victorious and I know how their stories empowered me. That's why I find it paramount to tell such stories and positively influence my audience. In hindsight, sharing my passion with my parents was the best decision I made. My father wants me to become everything he never got the chance to be. And my mother, she believes in me. That's all I needed to continue my journey and weave my dreams into reality.

As an aspiring filmmaker, I promise to strive for honesty and authenticity in my work and create stories that will inspire generations and make the world a better place.


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