I’ve said before that film production is about collaboration. If you can’t work with others, inspire them and bond with them, film is not the career for you.
I’ve decided to stay in Prague over the summer, but come Sept. 1, I will find myself in Boston, and my closest friends will disband to Stockholm, Tehran and Istanbul. Plans have been made to visit each of these places and more, or to have them visit me, but the knowledge that working together again will not be possible for quite some time (and not without a substantial amount of money) is a difficult pill to swallow. I’ve become accustomed to spending time on film sets with them, whether we’re rushing to meet a deadline or sitting around with the sound equipment while the director talks to the actors. I’m more than accustomed to it — I like it. And if you can enjoy film set work, the people around you must be right for you too.
I still have a few months with them, but our classes have already ended so we can focus on our last films of the semester. Tomorrow I have my last directing class, my last editing class and my second to last cinematography class. All good things must come to an end, but I dread the day I talk to my directing professor over Skype instead of in his little office above a cafe.
I’ve gotten used to Prague; I even like it. I’ve always had a terrible sense of direction, but I’m starting to understand the winding streets, and after school, I can walk the path to my favorite bar on autopilot. I still don’t speak a word of Czech, but I can find shampoo and laundry detergent at the drugstore near my house without trouble. When I came here, Tufts felt close — it now feels like a dream. When I think of it, it’s like seeing through fog.
I swore I would never become one of those people who studies abroad and says it changed their life. But despite my best efforts, I think it has. I’ve worked harder this semester than I have my entire life. I’ve done things for which my Tufts self would slap me. I’ve had sleepless nights over shot lists and sleepless nights over substances. It is completely insane how little time has passed since mid-January, when to me, it feels like years.
Would I recommend studying abroad? It’s difficult, especially when your bank is shutting off your cards every few days because they keep forgetting you’re in the Czech Republic. It’s also difficult when you do a non-Tufts Program and don’t know anyone else there. It’s like starting from scratch: no health insurance, no cell service and no support system except your parents on FaceTime thousands of miles away. I’ll admit there’s been times I texted my sister, “I hate film. I want to come home.”
But it’s rewarding. It’s edifying. It’s fun. It builds up to some hard goodbyes.