ジャッキーがバンクーバーの駅で目にした映画学校のポスター JACKIE HOFFART PHOTO
Two weeks. That's how long it took for me to go from having no concrete plans to attend film school to being accepted to a full-time program. Just two weeks.
But let's take it from the top.
It was mid-October. I was leaving Vancouver for Tokyo, and just about to catch the train to the airport. I hugged and said goodbye to a friend who had come to see me off, and walked into the station. From inside the station, I turned around to wave one last time. As I turned back to face forward, something caught my eye.
It was a billboard that said: "Acting. Writing. Directing. Langara Film Arts. Eight Month Program. January — August."
I did a double-take. My first thought was, "I didn't know Langara (a technical college in Vancouver) had a film program." My second thought was, "That sounds kind of perfect for me; I have to look that up online." I admit I also probably felt drawn to the poster, which was in Langara's main corporate color, orange — my favorite color.
By the time I got to the airport, my mind was already imagining what it would be like to go to film school. I spent the next few hours using the airport's free Wi-Fi to research the program on my mobile. It's an intensive, hands-on course with three separate streams: writing, acting and directing. If I was going to do this kind of thing at all, it would be the directing stream. I think deep down, there is a part of me that has always wanted to pursue this dream of becoming a director, but never had the courage to act.
The more I read about the program, the more everything about it seemed "right." My only worry was the timing; I was worried the program would already be full.
Within a day of arriving in Tokyo, I sent an email to the program coordinator to see if they were still accepting applications. You know, it was worth checking ...
He wrote back very quickly to say the program was nearly full, but there were still spaces, so if I wanted to apply I should do it quickly.
There I was in Tokyo, technically on holiday, with no plans for where I would be living after my travels. I just knew I was going to go to Calgary for Christmas and take it ("it" being "my future life plans") from there. Because I was no longer tied to a work visa or a relationship, I was free to rebuild my life any way I chose.
My gut said: "APPLY, this feels right." My heart said: "APPLY, it's your dream." My head said: "APPLY, it's not very expensive to apply and you don't have to tell anyone you are applying — if you don't get in, no one will have to know."
So, I started my application. I paid the application fee and arranged for a university transcript to be sent. I had to provide a CV, a video portfolio and a statement of intent. It took me about a week to get everything together.
I submitted my complete application on a Friday, 11 days after arriving in Tokyo. I felt really positive about it. I've had only one other moment in my life that felt like this. It was when I was trying to decide whether to move to Tokyo or go back to Canada after my two years on the JET Program in Onomichi. I took a big leap of faith moving to Tokyo (I had no real savings and no job before moving) and it really paid off. (I got the job at the Japan Times within two weeks of moving to Tokyo — a real lucky break!)
Applying for this program seemed really impulsive and a little scary, but in a good way, as my decision to move to Tokyo felt all those years ago.
Three days after I sent in my application, or exactly two weeks after having seen the poster in the train station in Vancouver, I got this email from the program coordinator:
Hello Jackie, I am pleased to offer you a place in the Directing Stream of Langara College Film Arts, beginning January 2012.
I GOT IN!!! I was so excited I screamed, then squealed. I spent the rest of the day smiling and laughing and telling my family and friends.
Now I'm in Vancouver, about to start classes. I'm really excited — I haven't been this excited about something in many years. A great way to start the New Year!
Next time: What if I ... start budgeting (part 1)