My mentor Mr. Schmidt, who was an Adobe Lead Educator at Central County Occupational Center, told our video production class about the Adobe Youth Voices film camp. He showed us some of the work that participants made in previous years, and he told us it was extremely selective – hat only four out of thirty of us could attend. I was determined to be a part of it. I was passionate about making movies, and this seemed like a great place to meet and work with other students my age who had the same passion.
“Before I was granted this opportunity, I was failing school and any talk about jobs irritated me.”
Before I was granted this opportunity, I was failing school and any talk about jobs irritated me. I wanted to get good grades, and I did… for about the first three weeks of school, but after that I fell into a vicious cycle. At home I couldn’t get myself to do my homework. This led me to being too embarrassed to go to school without my homework the next day, so I ditched class. I would hide in the library or in the bathroom stall and wait for the class to be over. After that even if I was magically able to motivate myself to do that night’s homework, I would not have had the assignment, because I was not in class that day.
The more days I ditched, the more of a conflict it became, the bigger the fight with my parents, the more my teachers would interrogate me, the more my classmates dismissed me as a lonely pothead and the more I was ashamed of myself for not solving this problem and becoming a normal student. I almost broke down every time I had to face my school. They mistook my glazed eyes for being high – even my dad thought I was a pothead. I just went with it. It was a better rep than being a crybaby with teary eyes all the time.
“At the AYV program at CCOC, I learned how to apply myself. I was harbored in an environment where I was able to focus on what I was passionate about.”
This made my future dark, because I felt like I would never be happy if I couldn’t enjoy my day to day job. At the AYV program at CCOC, I learned how to apply myself. I was harbored in an environment where I was able to focus on what I was passionate about. I was inspired to work harder than I ever had before. There was no pressure on me from anyone else. If I didn’t do the work, I knew that it was a missed opportunity, but no big deal. I started to see the rest of my classes that way. I realized that “getting in trouble” for not doing my work didn’t matter, and the only thing that mattered was what I could gain from these classes. I asked myself if it was important to graduate, and I believed it was. So I did. I worked plans out with my teachers, and I graduated on time for myself, and only myself.
“I will never forget my mentors Jeff Schmidt, Alex Yamamoto, and all of the wonderful people who volunteered at Adobe Youth Voices.They guided me through one of the most difficult times of my life, and fought for the resources I needed to do what I was passionate about.”
On paper the normal school system had all of the things that I needed. It had a counselor, college guidance, and it had multimedia and theater courses. Everything was there for me, and yet, I still slipped through the cracks. I could not figure out how to conform to that system, and nobody bothered trying to help me. That is why youth education programs such as AYV and CCOC are so important to me. I will never forget my mentors Jeff Schmidt, Alex Yamamoto, and all of the wonderful people who volunteered at Adobe Youth Voices.They guided me through one of the most difficult times of my life, and fought for the resources I needed to do what I was passionate about – including a full tuition scholarship for my choice in a creative major. Today I am attending my third year at Academy of Art University in San Francisco, and I have been a professional freelance editor for two years. I like editing, and I could be happy doing it professionally for the rest of my life, but filmmaking isn’t my only passion anymore.
I discovered a new passion of mine while working for AYV, which was to fill the role I so desperately needed when I was a teenager. I enjoy providing resources for teaching and guiding teens on a path towards a happy life. So far, I have worked at AYV Summit 2013 as a creative insider, judged for Adobe Youth Awards, co-hosted AYV Live 2015, and volunteered at a local AYV site in San Jose. I hope to redirect and pay forward the overwhelming support I received during my time at AYV Film Camp 2012 and 2013 to future participants of Adobe Youth Voices.
By Zachery James Motion Picture & Television Major Academy of Art University SF Adobe Youth Voices Alum Email:Louisis898@gmail.com Phone:(408)915-9117 Facebook: @ZacheryJames Instagram: @louisis898