I have recently learned how correct Wayne Gretzky was when he said: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” I have never been one to let opportunities pass me by. Thanks to this, I had the opportunity to spend two weeks in Cannes (pronounced more like “can,” as in “a can of coke” and not “cans of coke”), France, and show my film at the world’s largest international film festival, Cannes Film Festival.
How did I get to do this? Well, Campus Moviefest came around to GSU in the spring, and I thought it would be fun to make a film and just see how far it gets. I came up with the idea for a satirical film made with the philosophy of early French cinema and so “Vue de Moi” (watch the film here) was born—I thought it would be awesome to be a finalist at GSU and even more amazing if the film received an award. With the help of a few friends, the film won for best actor and a Jury Award at GSU. A few weeks later I was informed it had been selected to show at the Cannes Film Festival, and I had the opportunity to go with it… but it wouldn’t be cheap.
Due to some miscommunication and the fact that this particular festival is not open to the public, I obtained credentials to get into the festival through a program called Creative Minds. Going with Creative Minds was truly an amazing experience. Not only was I surrounded by other individuals all with similar ambitions as myself—to be a filmmaker—I was able to work on another film while in Cannes, which I received an award for best editing for in the Creative Minds’ competition. Outside of making a film, it was quite the incomparable experience to explore the area—on the beautiful Côte d’Azur—and take part in the festival. I was able to attend two red carpet premiers (one of which I obtained an invite to by playing harmonica on the sidewalk) and see a few other major films that have yet to be released. Now, what I’m about to say might seem blasphemous to some film majors or movie lovers, but the most important parts of the festival seemed to be what surrounded the films—sitting in a theater watching a film that is bound to be available in the U.S. within a year seemed like a waste of time to me.
I spent most of my time promoting “Vue de Moi” in the Short Film Corner, networking with other filmmakers, trying to rub shoulders with some industry professionals and building friendships with some awesome people from around the U.S. and the world—it’s no misconception that some of the best times to network with those in the industry is really late at some outrageous parties. One night I found myself a few feet from Chris Brown and soon after in a dance-off with some people from a French dance group, some of who ended up coming to the premier for the film I worked on.
I’ve known that with the proper amount of ambition and drive anything is possible, and now I’ve come back from France with even more motivation and instantly started work on more projects. I was able to gain a lot from my trip because I made the most of it, but perhaps the most useful thing I learned was operating off of two to four hours of sleep a night is pretty easy when it means doing something you love. To quote the increasingly wise Shia LaBeouf: “Just do it. Don’t let your dreams be dreams.”