I often find myself daydreaming about my days in Prague. The vistas of the winding streets, the smells of bakeries brewing espresso and making fresh bread, and the sounds of crowds stumbling all throughout the night frequently take over my thoughts.
Amongst these things, what I truly long for are the countless memories I made with my fellow students as we went to class and produced our own pieces of cinema.
That month flew by, and in the span of one month, I feel as though I learned more about myself than I have in the past few years.
I have never left the States before. Being gifted the opportunity to go, I packed my bags and headed out with people and a professor I barely knew and embarked on my first real adventure. There were a lot of risks involved, but I pressed on headfirst into another part of the world with countless unknowns. This risk-taking, open-minded mentality prepared me for what was in store.
Being thousands of miles away from all of my family and friends was daunting at first, but soon we bounded together and became a family. We went everywhere together – stores, restaurants, parks, events, everything. We all bonded, and soon it felt as though these people were going to be people that I would know for a long, long time.
After getting acclimated, we started attending class at the prestigious, renowned film school FAMU. We all came from different backgrounds in production – some of us were camera, writers, editors, and even actors. However, we were all at the same level when class started. Professionals in the Czech film industry were our professors, lecturing us on cinematography, screenwriting, and directing. We all traveled across the world to hear these lessons, and we collectively figured that it was all entirely worth it.
We had a week of intense studies, then immediately after we began our productions. We planned to create four short films in the span of two weeks. Every day was a twelve hour shift of just sheer stressful filmmaking, but we all reviled in it.
In the end, we ended up with four short films that were created by all of our blood, sweat, and tears. We were so attached to these films and felt proud of what they had become. The editors and I submitted the four final cuts to the school, and the whole class all had one collective sigh of relief. We were finally finished – so we thought. Reality soon rushed back to us, reminding us of the film screening. We were scheduled to showcase our films to Czech film critics and we had to prepare ourselves for whatever questions were thrown at us. But the screening came and went, we finally felt accomplished.
And the next day, we all went our separate ways.
I learned a lot in Prague. I learned so much about the film industry and the filmmaking process, but I learned so much about myself above all. I don’t easily feel overwhelmed anymore, and I don’t worry about my own production skills. Prague taught me confidence by throwing me into the deep end of international filmmaking. After all this, I’m ready for whatever the film industry has in store.