"To describe my experience at the School of the Arts, I have to start with how I got there. Having worked in the film industry in various capacities for over ten years, I figured that eventually, this would lead me to becoming a writer/director. But instead, I put off working on my own stories and gave excuses of the lack of time, the need for money, experience, etc. I started to question whether I really wanted to be a filmmaker and if I would even be good. So I decided to take a screenwriting class and finished my first feature. I was so happy. It was long overdue. So I took a chance and quit my job, left Los Angeles and invited my mom to join me on a cross-country adventure back home to New York City.
The trip was tumultuous. My mom and I couldn’t help but dig up the past, defending ourselves only to fall into silence while drifting into the different landscapes. But then there were these rare precious moments after our fights when we revealed ourselves and told each other our stories. She talked about living during the Korean War and becoming a doctor. I told her what it was like growing up in Jamaica and America and my desire to be a filmmaker. It was during this transformative journey that I decided to pursue my career as a filmmaker and that film school was going to be the means by which I would do this. Since story was my focus and I was coming back home to New York City, Columbia University was my only choice.
The Film Program was challenging and rewarding. During the five years at school, the best part was giving myself time to focus on myself. What helped the most was the encouragement from my professors to confront my weaknesses, to try different things and most of all to fail. It was uncomfortable and hard to break past patterns but in taking these steps, I discovered characters, stories and became closer to finding my voice. I returned to those rare and painful moments between my mom and I when we revealed ourselves through our stories. I returned to being a child and realized that I had discovered the process of filmmaking."