Pretty much all through high school, I wanted to be a film director. In a way, I led a double life.
I was making videos constantly. I filmed them, edited them, and (of course) starred in them. In elementary and middle school, it started out with funny videos with my best friend—a live-action version of the Webkinz talk show, a show called “What the Heck” where we just did crazy things, a lot of funny fake, over the top commercials, and a bunch of weird dancing and swimming videos.
That same goofy friend began a YouTube channel a few years later where she made what I thought were the coolest music videos. This eventually led me to create a channel as well.
I spent the years from 8th grade to 12th crafting music videos to songs that mattered to me. Each video had a story. Each one represented a time in my teenager-hood, whether it be a boy who broke my heart or my happiness the week of my favorite summer camp.
I made a few with friends, and those usually had much bigger “production values” so to speak. But the ones I made by myself are the ones that truly resonate with me now. I’ll watch them from time to time and it brings so much back. Even though I was always embarrassed about them (I deleted the YouTube channel pretty soon into high school), I kept making them. And I am so grateful that I did.
I even made one my senior year dedicated to all of the videos I had made prior. It was me saying goodbye to the Brenna-making-music-videos-era, truly an outpouring of love. I remade scenes I had always loved in my old videos and overlaid the footage with the original.
Through those videos, it gave me a creative outlet I actually felt good at. I always sucked at drawing, painting, or any other of the “traditional” arts.
It wasn’t until high school that I got into movies (thanks Marvel) and thought long and hard about being a director. I looked for colleges that had film departments, went and toured places—everything became about being a director. [Writing was always a part of my creative journey too, as I’ve mentioned before, so I also wondered about screenwriting. I had hoped to do both.]
Somewhere along the way, however, I ended up studying journalism and creative writing instead. It was mostly because I wanted to stay in my hometown and the school’s (go heels) journalism department was much better than their communications one. (At least so I was told, don’t kill me.)
Through my photo and video journalism degree, I still learned the components of a good story, how to use all the equipment, etc. It was 1000% worth it for the friends I made, the experience I got, and how it helped me fall in love with photography again (another one of my passions growing up).
Eventually, that director dream sort of faded away. Maybe it was because I realized how much work it would be. Maybe I didn’t want that kind of lifestyle. Maybe a bunch of things. But I think when the publishing dream became more plausible, all of my creative energy yearned to be focused on writing instead of going off in the multiple directions it had been in pulled before.
No matter the medium, storytelling is my passion. Always has, always will be. My creative journey has had some turns, but that one truth has never changed.