California Dreamin'

There are many moments in life that, for one reason or another, we rush through without taking proper notice of. We don't pay attention until the moment has passed, and it's always too late to go back and re-experience it. All we have as proof of the moment are half-memories and a nostalgic sense of longing.

It's early 2009 and I'm halfway through my first year in California, so I wanted to take a moment to notice where I am, what I'm doing, the people I'm meeting, and what I'm achieving.

I've met some fantastic people and made some really good friends, in particular Megan, Ruthie, and Becky. Megan is so sociable – she's always up for a laugh and hanging out, having fun (and we do have a lot of fun; see Maritime Golfing below). Ruthie is the kindest, sweetest person I have ever met, and is a wonderful, genuine person. I recently recorded some voice-over narration for a trailer she's making for her mom's book, Come Along, which was great fun and a truly unique experience! Becky and I have such totally different tastes, we really shouldn't get along – but we do! We've just moved into an apartment on campus and we're going to have great fun living together (especially as we've just bought a foosball table)!

Outside of Chapman, I've been spending a lot of time in Huntington Beach with three really great guys from the Dakotas; Luke, Calvert, and Shawn. They're amazing musicians, and their band, JuteBlue, totally rocks! There's no doubt that they're going to make it big, and it's fantastic to have the chance to hang out with such intelligent, dedicated, and passionate people. England often seems so short on people who are willing to work hard for the pursuit their dreams, so meeting these guys is truly special.

Megan, Luke and I have invented a new sport – Maritime Golfing, or MGT for short (the T stands for Tournament). In layman's terms, it's no-rules golf on the beach after dark – but don't let that fool you! There are many intricacies to the game, such as the The First Rule (which comes into play before the game even starts, when you're choosing your club), the Last Hole Invocation, and the Seashell of Ineptitude. Glowsticks, LEDs, and sometimes even pick-up sticks are involved! We started playing in the middle of winter when it was freezing cold, but I'm really looking forward to summertime and long, warm nights running up and down the beach with a flashlight and a five iron!

Classes start again next week. I've been spending my time over the (very quiet) winter break writing a screenplay, SPEAR, and I completed 96 pages in 11 days! I'm just finishing the second draft now... I've also finished a TV pilot, VIRUS, which one of my professors, Jeff Stanzler (IMDB him), recently gave me feedback on. We met up in Mel's Diner on Sunset Boulevard (where American Graffiti was filmed); I had a burger, he had soup, and we talked about how powerful my writing is. I'm taking his class next semester (Directing I) because I feel I have a really good connection with him and I love his teaching style, even though he scared me at first! He seems to really respect me and my work, and he's genuinely interested in helping me find success. Now this is why I chose to study in America!

My time here so far has been exactly what I expected and like nothing I could predict. I can feel myself changing into a more confident, positive, and relaxed person, and I know I am achieving a hell of a lot in terms of my writing, skills, and contacts. The weather is fantastic; the people are friendly; opportunities are aplenty; and my friends are wonderful, creative, and kind. Life's good here in California – I never want to leave!

Claire Weaver
Orange County, CA
January 23rd 2009