BWW Blog: That Special Feeling
Hello BroadwayWorld, it is such a pleasure to be given this opportunity to write a blog about college, theater, and all the different aspects of the arts. My name is Emily Bonifacio and I'm a sophomore at the Savannah College of Art and Design campus in Savannah. SCAD has four different campuses around the world in Savannah, Atlanta, Lacoste, and Hong Kong. I'm currently pursuing a BFA in dramatic writing, which means I'm studying how to write plays and screenplays for film and television. I've lived in Savannah my whole life and I'm so fortunate to have such an amazing university dedicated to the arts in my hometown.
Ever since I was little, I knew I wanted to be a writer. I would read all the time and I'd love crafting my own stories and making little paper stapled books of my own. There was no doubt in my mind over the years that this was a career I wanted to pursue regardless of what others would have to say, but what aspect of it?
When I was young, the first couple of musicals I got into were Wicked and Les Misérables. I had traveled to London and saw a poster for Wicked and I went home to look up this amazing show and from then I was hooked. Wicked was the first show I ever saw on Broadway and it also started my obsession with theater. Les Misérables was also a musical that had a huge impact on my life. I saw the film adaptation when it came out in theaters and was blown away. I had to see this musical for myself, and I did! Our local theater The Savannah Theater put on a production of the show and I loved it so much that I saw it twice. But the biggest impact from a musical came from one of the most surprising shows. It was Hairspray.
When I was around ten, me and my family went on a cruise. Usually cruise ships have different shows, and, on that ship, Hairspray happened to be the show we got to see. As I sat down in the little auditorium on the ship and looked around at everything, I was overjoyed. I hope the magical sensation I felt is how everyone feels when they realize what that they want to do. Watching the performance, looking down at a playbill, listening to the amazing music and performers, I realized I wanted to be apart of this experience. Somehow, I wanted to contribute to this magical world of theatre.
That experience has stuck with me for years, but I didn't realize I would try to get a degree towards making it a reality. I still thought I would become an author, which I love and hopefully I can pursue in the future as well. But as the years went on, I not only saw many other wonderful shows, I also became obsessed with great television and film. It was time to decide on what I wanted to do after high school graduation and, after some self-reflection, I knew.
SCAD was always my first choice and thankfully I got in. If you want to be in a creative field you don't have to go to college, but creative universities like SCAD are worth more than a degree. At places like SCAD, you aren't just learning about your field. As a dramatic writing student, I must take classes in design, art history, film, performing arts, and more. You not only learn about other aspects, such as performing arts, that contribute to your creative role, but you learn things that you never would have thought could connect to your major but do. Learning about all the different aspects of a production, like the director, producer, or actor when you're a writer gives you a deeper understanding and appreciation of all the handwork that goes into making a television show, film, or even a Broadway show.
You also have so many opportunities to network and to hear from and talk to professionals in your field. At SCAD, we constantly have workshops and professionals in different creative industries and companies come and talk to the students and help them learn how to brand themselves and get internships among so much more. We also have events like the SCAD Savannah Film Festival, which is the largest university run festival in the country, where actors, writers, and other industry professionals come and have screenings and panels discussing their award-winning movies. We also have a Fashion show and the aTV festival, which is just the tip of the iceberg.
Earning a degree is an amazing feat, but college is also a way for you to meet other wonderful people and to get opportunities which can lead to some truly amazing things. And, you don't have to have a ton of experience in what you want to pursue either. My resume is nearly empty. I've never had a part time job. Before going to college, I had never even written a screenplay. These are things I'm looking to or have already changed. You can literally start from the very bottom and learn so much at college that will mold you into something spectacular. You don't have to have all the connections or have a ton of experience in the filed you desire to make a difference and you always have something to learn even if you do. If you're hungry for it than anything is possible. Our world would be such a bleak place without the arts and I'm forever grateful that I get to have a small part in it all. I am so excited to get to continue this blog and share everything I've learned about my college experience so far and my love for the arts, especially theatre.
(The photo is of me and Ramin Karimloo, who is my favorite stage actor and singer, at the stage door at Anastasia a few years ago. This picture is a little old, because now I have a pixie cut and two tattoos, but I love it because it was one of the best days of my life and shows how kind and wonderful Broadway actors are to their fans.)