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Gabriel from California

Age: 17

How will going to college help you achieve your dreams and goals?
I am a storyteller striving to succeed through my selected major, Film and Television Production. I plan on furthering the interests of underrepresented communities by continuing to create films that directly reflect my past experiences and interactions with hard-working people in unfortunate circumstances, particularly working class individuals. The art of cinema gives me the opportunity to share my story, so I aim to give a voice to the voiceless and write about unseen experiences and moments. It is through the nation's top film production at schools such as USC's School of Cinematic Arts and Chapman University's Dodge School of Film that allow me to create films with stories greater than myself.

Often times, the stories I strive to create are unlike many films that are produced in the entertainment industry today. Some of the major topics of my films are to bring life to the issues of the working class and the real life struggles they have to endure and overcome. I'm not trying to make political statements, but instead I aim to capture genuine perspectives. By portraying and showcasing the survival and grit in difficult circumstances that I experienced and witnessed, audiences will have the opportunity to see a perspective typically not displayed in cinemas. In addition to this topic, I am a first generation Filipino American, so being an Asian filmmaker I want to create representation within the industry. I've reached out to contemporary filmmakers such as Destin Cretton, who is currently working with Brie Larson on the "Glass Castle (2017)," as a source of inspiration for Pacific Islanders and Asian Americans, like myself, to create compelling stories in the entertainment industry. I believe that through a college education, particularly film schools, that I will be given the opportunities to share my story and the story of many others to global audiences.

Explain who/what in your life has inspired you to go to college.
Since before I was born, my mom has documented many years worth of footage on her video camera. I was captivated at how special moments filled with raw emotion and personality could be captured and relived. In one gigabyte of storage, I could relive my eldest brother's college graduation, my family's christmas celebrations, and simple interactions between my siblings. Intrigued with this powerful tool, I used it to portray my perspective. As the youngest of seven kids, I have witnessed many pivotal moments unfold before my eyes. A restraining order, an income pitfall, and a career victory. However it was not the events that I adapted an eye for, but how each of my siblings were affected by them. I recognized that the motivations and decisions of each of my siblings were influenced by their unique perspective in the same experience. I began to justify each motivation with a backstory, trying to figure out the factors leading up to the decisions and how people are affected. Soon I combined this perspective with the power of film. Today, justifying the stories of those unheard is what I strive to do for the rest of my life, and I recognize that leadings film centered institutions around the nation, particularly USC, Chapman, UCLA, NYU, and LMU, will allow me to share these stories.

Explain your biggest obstacle to overcome in making college happen and what you're doing to help overcome it.
The biggest obstacle to making college happen is the colossal price of higher level education that students, like me, are burdened by. To overcome this immense challenge, I use my filmmaking talents and abilities to raise money for college. For example, I have acted as an artist and entrepreneur by reaching out to local businesses in my community and creating videos to promote their companies. Moreso, I have participated in video scholarships sponsored by IMAX, AT&T, Toyota, and local banks all in order to help fund my college education.