In June 2014 I graduated with my Bachelors degree, long before that day I had been inspired by something else…
My practicum in Athletic Therapy was fascinating as an area of study but as an occupation it left me wanting more. This development left me feeling trapped in a world of endless possibilities, my future felt grey and boring.
It wasn’t until I received an email requesting assistance for a student film (March 2013)…Several volunteer projects later, I dove head first into makeup and special effects any where I could find it; books, magazines, movies, the internet.
I have always been fascinated with movie effects, especially in horror movies, it sounds silly but as a child I never realized they had specialized artists for that kind of work and dismissed it as an occupation. Plus my family always half-jokingly encouraged me into the medical sciences or government work.
Not to mention Halloween has been my favourite holiday since as long as I can remember. I remember going to a local store that sells party supplies and they were doing a demo where a man applied some gruesome torn flesh appliance to a volunteer. I was enamored that that was even possible…again it never clocked that maybe that could be something I could do.
When I first started applying for university I had come across specialized schools across the country that focused on makeup for film but at the time they seemed vastly out of reach financially and as I had just reached my 20’s I was not confident that I could make such a transition.
Now here we are several years later, many classes have been taken, much has been learned, challenges have been presented and obstacles have been climbed. I believe my self ready for a new challenge and I am about to take one of the biggest risks of my life.
I started researching potential schools in Canada and the USA back (January 2014), there are plenty of courses to choose from but picking the right one took dedicated research. I cant even remember how many I hours I spent looking at different schools but eventually it came down to 3; The Vancouver Film School, Complections College of Makeup Artistry and Design (Toronto), or Cinema Makeup School (Los Angeles).
Ultimately CMU won when I took a tour of the school while visiting a friend in Toronto (June 2014). Its hard to describe, it was just a feeling that this was where I needed to be. I spoke with the administrator, our meeting was like a stab in the chest, tuition was not cheap and there were no payment plans, all or nothing. There I was, just graduated, with an accumulation of university debt.
This gave me a goal, first I had to pay off my current debt before taking any more on, so I spent those next months working as much as I could. I’m a waitress so making tips really helped speed things along. My next setback was when I spoke to my bank about a student loan, I knew I wouldn’t get what I was asking for but to find out I was only eligible for a fraction of what I needed…I was devastated, ever so momentarily. My mom offered to cosign the loan with me, not only was my family OK with my decision but they were ready to support it too. Having the support of my family has been one of the greatest things I have experienced on this journey so far.
now I had a plan, I was going to work hard, save every dollar, and go to Toronto with enough money (not from the loan) to pay my rent and food for an entire year.
Every thing I had done up until this point was easy, by November it was time to apply. It was probably the scariest thing I have ever done. It was more than filling out a paper, it was making a decision, it was taking control, it was being accountable for all of it. Was I really making the right decision?
I guess that’s all so dramatic, if I really didn’t want to go all I would be out is my deposit money.
But what is right and what is wrong? I am not breaking any criminal or religious laws. Is it written some where how we are supposed to live our lives?
If only I am brave enough to take the risk…
When my acceptance letter arrived I knew there was much more to prepare.
Now I needed to find a place to stay that was within my budget, allowed a cat, was near the school and preferably didn’t feel like a dungeon. There are so many options, I used Kijiji to search adds, every day I received an email with the latest postings and spent hours trying to find the right place.
Eventually I found a renter who was not overly concerned that I was from another province or that I had no job once I arrived. My friend checked the place out for any obvious problems and after waiting almost three weeks they approved me!
There is still a lot to do…My one decision is going to affect so many aspects of my life including so many of the people in it. I am ready for the challenge, I am excited.
Until next time…