By Orly Israel
“I think I can, I think I can, I think I can,” plays in my mind on repeat. I feel like the Little Engine That Could out here in Los Angeles. The SULA staff doesn’t lie when they say that there will be many opportunities that arise when living in Los Angeles. Every week, new doors open and I have choices to make. I ask myself “Can I do this?” multiple times a week whenever I find something new, or come across an obstacle that I hadn’t yet stumbled across. Recently, there have been many, and I believe that I am overcoming them one at a time. So yes, I think I can continue thinking I can.
I feel like learning about the industry and the techniques professionals use is similar to studying space, or the ocean. The more I learn, the more I know that I know nothing about. Of course, major projects are created by a crew with over a hundred people specializing in unique talents and collaborating to make a singular piece. A single episode of any tv show is generally a humongous undertaking and I appreciate the process as well as learning about it. Yesterday I spoke to a grip on the set of The Goldbergs for half an hour about lights and how resistance to the electricity flowing through the bulb causes it to light up. We also talked about wires, cables, current, and other technical aspects of the grip that I can barely fathom. Before that I was talking to the sound utility guy and don’t even get me started on how much there is to understand about sound. I also spoke to the camera guy, again, don’t get me started.
A challenge that I struggle with every day is deciding where to put my energy. Although I would like to believe otherwise, I can only do so much in a day and efficiency is the name of the game here. Also practice makes perfect. That brings me back to my point: What the heck do I practice when there is so much to learn?! Obviously, I practice my storytelling, as I want to be a writer, and I write as much as I can. Lately, however, I haven’t been writing as much as normal. I’ve been editing, directing, producing, scheduling, learning, and altogether stretching myself very thin trying to cover all the bases of learning all the skills that I would like to understand and be able to work efficiently in, and at the same time stay up to date with all my homework. It definitely is not easy. I struggle to accept the notion that I should strictly focus on writing when there are so many things to be done. Conversely, it makes me think that I will be a worse writer because I spend less time on it. So what’s better, well-rounded or a hyper-specialist? I’ll tell you in 20 years when I figure my life out, if I have by then.
There’s a lot that goes on in the mind of a graduating senior. Perhaps too much, perhaps too little. I think for me, life is all about learning about things and realizing there is still a whole lot of things that you haven’t learned out there. Just keep thinking you can. Right?