As “the last of the Croziers,” I graduated from SCS in 2007, after spending 13 years of my life in the halls of SCS. I like to say that I got my start in filmmaking at SCS making “foreign language films” for Señora Soto’s Spanish class. Whenever there was a chance to put together a multimedia project, I was always on the computer editing graphics or trying to cut video. I may not have had access to all the tools, but it didn’t keep me from trying! Some of my final senior projects were in video editing. One such project was cutting together all the Star Wars films into a single long video for Mr. Bratt’s literature final.

Even though my strongest subject at SCS was biology, I didn’t feel very drawn to biology as a career and was unable to envision myself doing science as a job. Uncertain about what course to take in life, I arrived at Azusa Pacific University (APU) without a major. After taking a biology class and a few businesses classes, I decided to follow my passions in filmmaking. I signed up as a film major and never looked back.

In 2008 at APU, I participated in a study abroad program that took me to South Africa. This was one of the most transformational experiences of my life as I was confronted with a level of poverty and hardship unimaginable in America. I was face to face with people stricken with AIDS, only to see them pass away a few days later. When you experience the suffering of the poor first hand, it really changes you. Much of this hardship had come at the hand of institutional racism. Everywhere I looked, I was confronted with systemic racism and the lingering effects of apartheid in South Africa. It was all too easy to draw parallels back to the United States’ history of oppression and segregation. After that trip, I began to think more globally about issues and started interpreting actions through a racial lens. I also was struck by the differences of South Africa’s “Truth and Reconciliation” approach and the defensive, closed-off way we often discuss race in America. I encourage anyone who is thinking about studying abroad to do it, as it will most likely change your outlook on life.

I graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a BA in Cinematic Arts in 2011, and was shoved into the wild world of Hollywood and Los Angeles to try and find work. During these first five or six years after college, I’ve bounced around to a lot of different companies, mostly in the commercial space. Within a few weeks of graduation, I got an opportunity. I was on my first freelance job, creating graphics for a media marketing award show, PromaxBDA. As are many jobs in the entertainment industry, it was only a temporary project and I was left jobless after two months. Soon, I was hired at Conscious Minds, an ad agency started by two APU alumni in 2008. It really is “who you know” in the entertainment industry. I worked on and off for Conscious Minds for about two years, sometimes as a full-time employee and sometimes as a freelance worker. I filmed and edited projects for clients such as Nike, Geico, and Clorox.

At about the same time, I was also working on a project called Sea Launch as the “Photo-Optics Specialist.” Sea Launch was a multinational spacecraft launch service that used a converted oil rig as a launch platform for equatorial launches of commercial satellites. My work involved capturing the footage, processing it, and then transferring it to DVD for them. From the end of 2012 until mid-2014, I participated in three launches; taking the 21-22 day voyage to the equator and back. At the equator, we would run eight high-speed film cameras and a plethora of digital Nikon cameras in enclosures around the base of the rocket to gather imagery. There is something incredible about launching an object into space and it was always awesome to watch, both on-site and when I got the footage back. Unfortunately, after a launch failure in early 2013 and a successful launch in 2014, Sea Launch has not flown since and has been acquired by another company.

In April 2014, I decided to go full-time freelance; bouncing from project to project and negotiating my wages along the way. It’s not always easy, but it’s rewarding to be your own boss and determine your own hours. So far, it’s been a good run. I’ve worked for several agencies, production companies, and industrial clients. I’ve also had the chance to travel to a variety of locations around the world. Since going freelance, I’ve traveled to Guatemala, Ghana, and China, for charity and commercial projects.

Currently, I reside in Pasadena, CA, and make several trips a year back to the Seattle area to visit family and old friends from SCS. My thirteen years spent at SCS helped me to develop the courage and confidence to pursue my passions. I still draw on memories of my time there and the lessons I learned contribute to my success today.