I’d say there are two great muses in my life: John Steinbeck and Stanley Kubrick.

When I first read East of Eden at the “too-young” age of 11, the world became something new and enlightening. I felt heartbroken over Adam Trask’s divide from his brother, furious from Cathy’s manipulation, overjoyed when Aron found love, and everything in between. Samuel Hamilton’s analysis of the Hebrew word timshel–“Thou Mayest”especially struck a cord with me. It instilled in me a permanent celebration of free will, and I had the word engraved inside of my class ring.

As a result of reading this epic at the time I did, I often find myself emulating his prose in my written work. Long, rhythmic sentences that string to form a comprehensive visual are what I generally strive to achieve. However, this isn’t a completely coveted thing; I have a tendency to ramble on, trail off, or just be too formal.

At an early age, I discovered my dream to be a storyteller, but had no idea how to go about it. I’d make childish short stories and comics about ancient Greece, my favorite video games, or just what I imagined teenage life to be like. Even at the age of 8, I was disappointed with the end results. I tried my hand at animation for a long time, and still couldn’t reach satisfaction with what I was producing. It was then I discovered my comfort behind a camera.

When I first developed my interest in cinema, Kubrick was among the first I studied. And rightly so, since his works are considered masterpieces shrouded in mystery by many. I was intrigued, and began listening to interviews and reading about his influences. It was there that the illusion was shattered. I found a man whose movies were attributed strictly to his reclusive genius, and what did he say about the craft? That anyone with a camera and sound recorder could do it, regardless of budget. Needless to say, I’ve felt reaffirmed and determined since this discovery.

My goal is to be a director who can visualize thoughts like Kubrick. My goal is to be a writer who can inspire great feelings like Steinbeck. My goal is to be a storyteller.