Filmmaking from New York Film Academy – Life in a Foreign University

Filmmaking from New York Film Academy - Life in a Foreign University

I never imagined that I would be studying filmmaking and that too in the United States. I attended multiple events that would help me understand the dynamics of this profession.

My name is Abhilasha Kumar. I had the greatest affinity for visual arts even though I belong to a family of doctors and engineers. I decided to pursue a filmmaking course in Los Angeles.

I was born in Mumbai. I did my schooling in the early stages in Goa and later moved to Surat. I completed my graduation and post-graduation from Vadodara. I later went to study direction and filmmaking at the New York Film Academy situated in Los Angeles.

My family was full of scholars. Therefore, I decided to pursue graduation in clinical psychology. However, this field didn\’t feel quite right for me. I completed my post-graduation in mass communication. However, I didn’t love what I was doing. However, I loved studying visual communication. Thus, I realized that this is what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.

Portfolio Building

My course began in February 2020 and the period got extended due to the COVID-19 pandemic although it was a one-year course. I am doing an internship programme currently. This allows me to work with production houses.

I never imagined that I would be studying filmmaking and that too in the United States. I attended multiple events that would help me understand the dynamics of this profession. I would shoot all day and edit. I covered the Vadodara marathon and the kite festival. I also went to everything that happened in town. Thus, this helped me build my portfolio.

I began to contemplate how I would achieve what I want towards the end of the course. I spoke to my mentors, seniors and people studying abroad. I did my research and then I appeared for IELTS once I got clarity. I graduated from MSU, Baroda in May 2019. After this event, I started preparing for college admission in September.

I weighed my options before applying to NYFA regarding courses in other countries and then decided to study here. For admission-related queries, I mailed the college administrative department. The authorities were quick to respond. I submitted my application along with my portfolio and a letter of purpose.

I had to then appear for an interview after being shortlisted. A scholarship helped me in paying my tuition fees. My parents were my pillar of strength. My cost of living was earlier borne by my parents. However, I am managing my expenses, ever since I started my internship.

Diversity in the classroom

I was a bit overwhelmed before joining the college as I had no experience. However, my classmates had a few years of work experience. There were many Indians at the college. In the initial stages, I felt intimidated since I was the only female student in my class.

There is a lot of diversity and a large number of Asian students are studying here. I met so many people from different countries and found so much to learn from them. I love the culture of Los Angeles.

I had never travelled alone and never been away from my parents, before getting into NYFA. I have lived in many places in India. However, there was apprehension about the future before moving to the US. Fortunately, the first place I relocated to had Indians. Thus, I didn’t get a cultural shock.

Living by myself

The day I arrived here, I got to savour home-cooked food. I found it easy in the beginning as I did not have to set up the house or go grocery shopping alone because the people I moved with had the experience of already staying there. However, I had to learn from scratch when I moved out.

The pandemic struck as soon as classes began. Therefore, everything moved online and we started working with webcams. Also, we had to make films online using the limited resources we had. As groundwork is a must for a filmmaker, I felt a little disappointed.

However, during this internship programme, I am gaining the experience of learning whatever I could not learn earlier. This internship offers me knowledge of technicality and creativity that can be experienced on a movie set.

How I keep myself busy

I wish to come back to India after learning a substantial amount. Until then, I am happy where I am. During the times that I feel lonely, I paint and dance.

I advise students not to give up on their dreams. They must follow your heart. This will help them find their path. Once you are sure of what you want to do, plan to study abroad. You have to constantly be on your toes being a filmmaker. You must learn everything that you can.

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