For some, the purpose of college is to get an education. For others, it is the first opportunity that an individual has to be away from their parents and live according to their own rules. But I appreciate rules. It may not seem like it because of my criminal record; so, allow me to clarify my views:
Rules should be kept unless they are causing problems in society or unless they don't make sense.
That said, I did not want to go to a university that resembled the wild, wild west. I wanted a college that had structure. Therefore, I chose to get my education in a Christian environment...
In 2006, I began taking classes at Brigham Young University in Idaho (BYUI).
Like the Christian dorms at Disney World, BYUI had strict regulations. Students were not allowed to wear shorts or flip flops. We had an 11 PM curfew. -No sex -No drugs!
We had to be Creative
The strict regulations separated BYUI from other universities. In the absence of sex and drugs, many students spent their evenings watching TV. But my time were spent trying to make a story worth watching...
Learning to Dance
In an attempt to make my story worth watching, I wanted to learn to dance. Therefore, I created a dance team called The High School Musical Rejects. In our first year, we won the university championship dance competition. This video is from our winning number.
The Battle Cat
At some point, I decided that to have a cool story, I needed a cool car. Bathsheba, the battle cat, was the vehicle I drove in college. She was inspired by Heman's feline companion..
Looking for an occupation
By 2006, Hollywood had not improved the morality of their films. Therefore, I continued looking for a different occupation. During my college years, I worked in construction, as a pool boy, and as a photographer for Yellowstone’s Bear World. I was also employed as a technician installing security alarm systems.
But these occupations frustrated me. I wanted to make films.
I also worked as the official spokesman for Jamba Juice (the Idaho branch). My main duty was to dance on the side of the road in a banana costume, but I also did shows at school assemblies. I read stories to kids at elementary schools. I delivered free smoothies to women in hospitals who had just given birth. Also, I made movies!
First Film Festival
In 2006, BYUI’s film program was in its infancy. There were no official film making classes, and the moviemaking organization was an exploratory extra curricular club with less than ten members, no teacher, and no females.
Likewise, the film festivals were attended by less than one hundred people and the films that were submitted were ... not good. Below is a clip from The Princess of BYUI, which was the first film that I entered into the campus film festival. This narrative is a hybrid tale that combines The Never Ending Story with The Wizard of Oz, one of my favorite films.
My Own Festival
After winning several film festivals, I took it upon myself to raise BYUI’s film program to the next level. In my second year of school, I took over the filmmakers club and made it an official campus sponsored activity. Also, I began teaching extra curricular classes on filmmaking and was hired, by the school, to coordinate the film festivals. As coordinator, I elevated the level of attendance from less than one hundred to over a thousand.
Rise in Fame
As my media presence grew, so did my fame, as it had in high school. By my second year of college, I was a celebrity. But fame in college was different from high school. Here, no one cared about my autograph. Instead, I was sought after to attend social events in hopes of increasing attendance and awareness.
Below, I hosted the university's first variety show.
Lending my voice
Also, I lent my filmmaking talents to various organizations, as I had done in high school, to help under-represented groups have a voice.
Before college, I was aware of copyright laws but had no reason to address them. Before YouTube, there was no way of mass distributing home videos. I was legally justified in using copyrighted material because my movies were for personal or educational use.
The film festivals introduced me to the legal side of filmmaking. In the video below, I composed my first original score to avoid using other people’s material without their permission.
My media presence at BYUI came to an end over a disagreement with the administration. At the time, I was asked to create a film for the video yearbook about campus life (clip below).
After submitting the film, I was told that I had to cut certain scenes because they did not convey the university’s intentions. I told them that the version of the film they wanted was an inaccurate representation of student life and that my film was a better depiction of reality. They said that by showing what students were, really, like, I was curbing the administrations influence over what they wanted the student body to become.
I told them there is a difference between a story that documents what people are and a story that attempts to influence what they will become. I called them liars, and I quit.
The Problem with Girls
With the exception of Melissa, from Florida (who was not Christian), I, still, had not found a girl who was passionate about filmmaking. For that matter, no girl seemed compatible with me, at all. Like my grade school teachers warned, I was different.
Furthermore, I did not understand the logic behind Christian heterosexual relationships. To me, it seemed like the men did all the work. I wondered, ‘What is the female’s responsibility in a marriage?’
Define the Relationship
The DTR (Define The Relationship) was a weekly comic that I published in the campus newspaper. It allowed me to voice my frustrations about the female sex. Criticism of the comic allowed me to hear views from other people, as well.
I published the comic for a year until I received complaints about the way I drew female breasts. I told my publisher that I did not know how to draw breasts because I had never seen them in real life. The publisher (who was a female) misinterpreted the comment and I got fired.
Criticism Against Men
Because of my own personal complaints against women, I felt it was important to listen to complaints women had against men. In the clip below, I’m playing the part of Gaston from Beauty and the Beast. It was my tongue-in-cheek way of telling women that I am listening to their frustrations.
The Party Scene
Not everyone agreed with the school’s regulations. Some students were compelled, by their parents, to attend the Christian college but had no intention of obeying the rules. Others found it difficult to conform at the price of sacrificing individuality. It was Disney World all over again.
The Thing about being a Virgin
Not having sex before marriage was the ultimate rule. Disobedience resulted in expulsion. But it's an odd regulation because everyone wants to have sex. Christians have hormones just like non-Christians. To make the temptation worse, in our school, we were not allowed to masturbate or release the tension in other voluntary ways. In retrospect, ours was a campus full of ticking time bombs.
Some students participated in NCMO (Non Committal Make Out). NCMO is the Christian version of friends with benefits.
The Thing About Being Gay
Same-sex relationships were also against the rules. In 2006, the LGBT movement was gaining momentum but had not become mainstream. At BYUI, although rebels were, periodically, caught for inappropriate opposite-sex relations, I did not know of anyone, besides me, who was gay.
In the clip below, I was the first boy to take the university makeup class in over five years. My friends joked about my sexuality. I didn't care.. I love using the face as a canvas.
Love Your Emenies
Without males who were like me, and without females who were like me, I felt alone, Therefore, I decided to embrace difference.
My goal was to find a girl who complimented me, like Melissa did at Disney World. Thus, I began dating girls who were the opposite of me. I dated lawyers, and scientists, and nurses. These relationships broadened my perspective of the world. These girls taught me about the judicial system, quantum mechanics, genetics.
I believed that, so long as Christianity was our common foundation, everything else should be opposite. Furthermore, by marrying someone who was different, our relationship would be more whole then those of couples who had much in common and were ignorant of opposition.
But sometimes, this pursuit yielded negative results...
In 2007, I felt that my story for God needed a diverse geographic setting. Therefore, I applied to a study abroad program and prepared for an adventure in Central America.