Thursday, May 12, 2011

Going outside the camera

Personally, I pride education, intellect, and rationality over all things. The one thing that I cannot understand is people who refuse higher education. There is nothing more stimulating that conquering an intellectual task, at least to me. For this reason, I find that actors that go outside the boundaries of film to study other things to be incredibly inspirational, speaking specifically of Natalie Portman and James Franco.

James Franco is a Ph.D English student at Yale, having done his undergrad at UCLA in two years. In that time frame, he took 62 credit hours per quarter, which, is only a little bit above the regular maximum of 19. Yes, 19. After he graduated, he moved to New York to simultaneously attend Columbia University’s MFA writing program, New York Tisch School of the Arts for filmmaking, and Brooklyn College for fiction writing, while also occasionally commuting to North Carolina’s Warren College for poetry. Franco recieved his MFA from Columbia in 2010. Just for kicks, apparently, he has decided to attend the Rhode Island School of Design, and was one of 20 applicants selected from over 400 people to be a part of the creative writing Ph.D program at Houston. He asked to defer for a year, so he could act for a year before attending 2012.

Are we serious? Yes, we are serious.

That is like a zillion words regarding just his education in the last four years. This includes none of what he did, acting wise, nor anything else related to him. Just his education. Literally the most badass student on the planet. I have never seen such dedication. I mean, 62 credit hours? Jesus H. Christ, Batman, that would kill most super humans. Its very, very impressive. Its something that I aspire to be when (well, if) I become a recognizable member of the entertainment industry.

Oh, shit! I nearly forgot Natalie Portman! And here I was about to end this article already!

Natalie Portman did something equally impressive, and nearly as ballsy: she put her acting career on hold, just as she got famous at 18 for the first Star Wars prequel, to attend Harvard for a B.A. in Psychology. She worked in a Psychology lab as Alan Dershowitz’s research assistant. She took graduate classes at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in 2004, and was a guest lecturer at Columbia University in 2006, speaking about terrorism and counterterrorism. Oh, and her paper in 1998 (in which she was barely an adult) called , "A Simple Method to Demonstrate the Enzymatic Production of Hydrogen from Sugar," co-authored with scientists Ian Hurley and Jonathan Woodward, was entered in the Intel Talent Search, in which she was named a semifinalist. She also had two papers posted in scientific journals. Wow.

The reason I wrote this isn’t to shamelessly promote two of my favorite actors (though I don’t mind doing so). It was so that I could show people that you don’t have to be pigeonholed into one thing just because people say you do. You can do whatever you want, however you want, any time you want, as long as you are willing to work hard enough. Thats the kicker, the Catch-22. If you want it, work for it. It might nearly kill you, but I guarantee you that having that knowledge will enrich your life. There is nothing more important than education, and its attainable. I just want people to fufil their potential, and ignore stupid assholes who were too cowardly to chase their dreams, and want to drag us down with them. So, I beg of you, never give up on your ambitions, no matter what happens or what people tell you.

We can do anything we want. So, lets do so.

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