Good Tuesday to you my dear friends and family, worldwide! Today, I'm sharing a re-cap on what my life is looking like nowadays and just what Vagabond et Virtuosa is, and is to me. Tomorrow, January 16th will mark six months since I've launched this blog. Back in July, this notion was a leap of faith into a place where I would further discover myself. I quit a job at a company that was seemingly "perfect" for me, but just as I left with the intention to create a life that revolved around who I was and what I loved most, that's what I found and continue to develop as each day passes (with the help of some guardian angels I call my family). Now, let me tell you a bit more about what this life consists of and what the future has in store.
Where I was
In May, I graduated film school with a degree in Film and Digital Content and a concentration in directing and screenwriting, from Studio School LA (formerly known as Relativity School). Being a part of the inaugural class here (which overall was 21 students and seven film majors), with no previous experience in film, was definitely eye-opening and life-changing. I grew up writing and illustrating my own books, drawing and painting, creating and performing fun skits at our school's Cabaret, and from time to time, filming myself singing, "The Phantom of the Opera," on our family's camcorder, alone in my bedroom. That was the closest thing I got to filmmaking growing up. I guess you could say editing together fan videos from the couples in Harry Potter and Twilight on Window's Media Maker would be something I could add to my preliminary skills as a filmmaker as well! ;) Either way, the point is, I grew up in a very small town, where I was able to do so many things and had a lot of opportunity for its size, but never enough opportunity in the area in which I would give my future to.
I moved to Los Angeles, California from Rio, Wisconsin at the age of 19, to be the underdog of my peers at a school that wasn't even accredited at the time. I left my little town and everything I knew, with the dream of creating these immaculate stories that would engage people's imaginations and minds. I envisioned theaters jam-packed with audiences watching my movies, crying, feeling, allowing themselves to be vulnerable towards their feelings. My largest hope was to create a sense of belonging in something make-believe, creating friendships with the characters on screen, understanding the beauty of being human, and most of all, give those watching the courage and inspiration to create a life for themselves that would consist of them going after their dreams and opening their minds to others. This still stands true for me today, but after growing through the beginning of my adult years of life within the entertainment industry, I've come to understand that I'm not going to give my life to it in the way so many end up losing theirs.
Through five years of being immersed in many mediums of which this industry is built on - working on sets in multiple positions, working for companies involved with production, sales, distribution, etc., acting, modeling, working to become a writer, the list goes on and on, I've realized that it's a place where magic does happen, but it comes at a price.
The price is losing sight of who you are. It's changing everything from the inside out to be what other people want you to be. It's becoming cold over periods of time so no one can try to manipulate you, so other's know that you're the powerful one, or maybe it's because you haven't had someone genuinely ask you how you are in a matter of years. It's the matter of living a life by a set of check points and expectations that tear you apart inside, in hopes that someone, someday will read your script. The biggest price tag of all, though, is the idea of having to depend on someone else to dictate your future.
This being said, I have met some incredible, down to earth, talented people who are just bright balls of sunshine ( I love them to death), but ask them how this industry's changed them, and they'll agree. That's why I left. That's why I built and am continuing to build this platform as each moment passes. When it came time for me to leave my industry job, I was told that I was doing the right thing. Coming from someone I look up to, they said they wanted to be a director/producer after they finished college, but then they wound up in an industry job that they still are currently at. Of course, they are executives now and are extremely successful and talented, but they never truly achieved that dream.
Where I am Now
I graduated with the same intention as I had going into Studio School, but had a much deeper understanding of who I was and what I truly wanted to do with my life. During my four years there, I had taken so many classes in acting, musical theater, illustration, and concept art on top of my filmmaking and screenwriting classes. Compared to being dedicated to just one of these crafts, I found myself whole when actively doing them all. I became friends with dancers and we shot concept dance videos together. I started taking headshots and editorial photos of my other classmates after a while. I was in musicals, directed "The Wild Party," and pieced together and student directed "Tarantino Night." I was introduced to Tom Southwell, the illustrator behind so many incredible films such as Bladerunner and The Goonies, concept artist for The Sandlot and Star Trek: Nemesis, and storyboard artist for X-Men among many other epics, who became a teacher, a mentor, a friend, and someone much like family to me. With so many things that were like magic to me, I couldn't choose just one. I wanted my work to mean something, and I knew I wanted to share myself with the world through who I was, not through who people wanted me to be.
I also understood that through screenwriting, there was a chance that my stories might never be made into movies, and if you have read a typical screenplay, they aren't exactly literary masterpieces. Directors usually make what they will with them - they're a blueprint. I realized I didn't want that. I wanted to give the story to the world to imagine for themselves before anything was to be imagined for them. Therefore, I decided I'd go back to my childhood roots and write the book of the stories I've created first - then I'll adapt them into screenplays if the world wanted to see the movie. Also, if I wanted to make a movie, I would write it and make it myself.
With all of these things compiled together along with my love of travel, meeting new people, learning new things from those all around the world, inspiring young women, and the need to constantly create, I decided I'd take matters into my own hands and shape my own opportunity. So, I created Vagabond et Virtuosa.
The mission of Vagabond et Virtuosa (or V&V), is to inspire female artists to go after their dreams, travel the world, and create wherever they go. This ideal came from so many thinking they had to move to a big city in order to become a successful artist. Of course, it doesn't hurt, but through this platform I've made it my purpose to share my experiences and my journey along the way to prove that needing to bend to the mold isn't necessary. Also, I find it extremely crucial for any artist to go out there and immerse themselves in as many different cultures as they can, as frequently as they can. This allows a chance to grow as a human being, the opportunity to create experiences to build off of in creation of any work of art, and to live a full life.
This blog is made up of my travel tips, stories, and guides, learning experiences as an artist out in Los Angeles and how to succeed sooner than later, information on how to create a business for yourself and understanding the entertainment industry, analysis on different forms of artwork (mainly films) and how to learn to analyze them for yourself, and of course, healthy doses of inspiration and reminders that you are a gosh darn superstar who needs to share their gifts with the world.
Where Vagabond et Virtuosa is headed
Yes, Vagabond et Virtuosa is a blog right now, but come the end of this week and into the foreseeable future, V&V is about to be so much more. With currently 10.3K visits to the website and six months of building under my belt, Vagabond et Virtuosa is about to become a community where my lady artists come together, create with one another, and take the leaps they need to in order to get out in the world sharing their gifts with it!
This will begin with my Youtube Channel, where I will be posting cover videos and hopefully some original music down the road, along with vlog videos about my travel experiences and tips with working in different artistic mediums, behind the scenes to my photography sessions, the different films, concept dance pieces, and music videos I create, and especially videos of me on my different trips around the world, what inspires me while I'm gone, what new things I learn along the way, and of course, me creating while I'm on the road and sharing it as I go.
From here, I will create different contests and challenges to have everyone be a part of, to inspire them to get their work out there into the world, and maybe join me on a trip or two! I would also love to collaborate with all who are willing!
What's coming next is extremely exciting for me, and I absolutely cannot wait to start this journey! I hope you come along for the ride! <3
Here's to making dreams come true!
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