All posts by Megan Vallone

The Art of People

By Dimitris Tzoytzoyrakos

Though he probably wasn’t the first to think so, filmmaker Woody Allen is known to have said “Showing up is 80 percent of life.” Others since have gone on to say “90% of success is just showing up” and other variations of the same idea.  My brother and I found this out to be true when we created a short film together and submitted it to an LA film festival, even though neither of us had any experience in the field. A couple weeks after doing so, we receive a phone call notifying us that our short was accepted to premiere at the film festival. Being the naive filmmakers we were, we thought getting accepted would get our foot in the door of the film industry but, as it turned out, getting a film to premiere at the festival only played a minor role in our exposure to the industry. Getting “our foot through the door” was actually much simpler than we had ever thought.

The first day at the film festival was absolutely packed. You had to squeeze your way through a tight crowd of strangers, and occasionally a celebrity, just to get a cup of water. Soon enough, my brother and I began to chat with other filmmakers and fill up our contact lists in our phones. Just on the first day, my brother and I made a vast network of connections with very hard working artists who carried the same love and passion for cinema as we did, all while not having seen a single film yet at the festival.

This having just been the first day, we were so eager to see what would become of the rest of the week. Oddly enough, every single day between opening and closing night had a only a minuscule fraction of the attendees show up. This puzzled me at first because the in between days were when all the films were screening. I had thought that the entire point of a film festival was to watch films and network with people whose work you admired and vice versa. It turned out that one didn’t even need to have a film screen at the event, so long as one was present and engaging with the people around them. There were, in fact, many people at the festival who hadn’t worked on any projects; they just came to increase their network.

Continue reading The Art of People

Traditions of Football Season

By Greg Lennon

One of the centerpieces of any USC student’s college experience is that surreal part of the Fall semester that is football season.  New students quickly learn to respect and worship the history and tradition surrounding the illustrious Trojan football program.   For over a century, the school has built a pigskin culture based on excellence, tradition, and the glory that is game day.

For many, the pregame tailgates are almost as important as the game itself.  Whether you’re a hardcore alum who arrives on campus at 5:00am to set up the perfect tailgate, or just a casual fan, the pregame is a vital component to the Trojan game day experience.  Walking onto campus on any game day, no matter the opponent, you will find almost every inch of SC decked out in Cardinal and Gold.  When the time comes, the Trojan faithful head south to the Coliseum, pouring out of campus, and making sure to kick the trusty game day flag poles for good luck.

On the way, vendors sell essentials like bottled water, bootleg merchandise, and victory dogs (bacon wrapped hot dogs), the fuel of any tailgater.  Passing religious orators and ticket scalpers, the crowd makes its way into the coliseum, bottlenecked into the student section.  For most games, the student section feels like a pressure cooker; stacked like sardines into cramped seats, all the while the sun beating down.  And yet watching football from the student section can be one of the most surreal experiences; the entirety of the crowd moving and reacting as one while the two teams wage war on the field below.  Between chanting the SoCal spell-out, fighting on in unison with the song girls, or dancing to any number of the traditional cheers, the student section keeps things rowdy all game long.

For many so-called fans, halftime is a chance to escape the heat of the coliseum and return home to watch the remainder of the game from the comfort of air conditioning.  For the more faithful fans, the second half is a time to watch the team inflict its finishing blows to the visitor (or vice versa), as well as hope to catch a 4th quarter t-shirt launched into the crowd.  For the Trojan Faithful, game day is a borderline religious experience, and no matter the score, we never lose a tailgate.

Greg is a junior majoring in International Relations, with an emphasis in International Politics in Security Studies. As a member of USC’s NROTC program, he will graduate as an officer in the US Navy, where he will serve for several years. Born and raised in Northern California, Greg enjoys running, hiking, and swimming on the weekends.

Turning Dreams Into Reality through USC’s “Dance Off”

By Sabrina Hsu

Everyone enters freshmen year of college with a mixture of anticipation and apprehension – I was no different. Growing up as an international student, transferring from school to school in itself wasn’t as intimidating as knowing it would take a while to integrate into the already-established friend groups in the school. So when I entered USC, I put all my hopes into the Fall Semester Involvement Fair, wishing for an organization that would catch my eye and help me find a group of people with common interests. Out of all the clubs and activities I joined, Dance-Off was the one I had least expectations for, but it is not an exaggeration to say it was the one that changed my life.

KASA Dance-Off is a competition for fall semester freshmen dancers with all levels of experience. As someone who never danced hip-hop before, I went to the first dance workshop with no intention of staying for the rest of the semester. But the passionate and family-oriented atmosphere that surrounded me when I danced with this group of people drew me in, and before I knew it, I was looking forward to the workshops every week. Of course, it was tough – two weeks before competition we practiced dance more than we did anything else, including sleeping and eating. But ultimately, our success during the competition, and the bonding and friendship that came out of the hours and hours of practice and “suffering” were worth it.

Continue reading Turning Dreams Into Reality through USC’s “Dance Off”