Scholar of the Week
Elise Chapman of John Marshall High School
by Janeal Downs
Elise Chapman not only wants to go to college to experience new things and learn more about the world, story but she also wants to go to fulfill her dream of working in the movie industry. Elise has always been interested in movies. At first, she wanted to be an actress but then she became more interested in the creative process. Even in her spare time she likes to watch movies. “I like analyzing the process and how the creators decided to do what they did,” Elise said. “Just basically analyze their decisions and how it came to be and like the creative process.” She also likes to practice writing fiction, non-fiction and narrative stories.
With an interest in film, cinema and the theatre, Elise wants to study and one day work her way to creating her own movies and writing her own scripts. “I would describe my dream job as being a director and, or movie producer, and writer,” Elise said about her professional aspirations. “I have a lot of goals, but directing is my number one, my dream.” Some of her favorite types of movies are horror films. She enjoys the shock factor that these movies create. One of her favorite directors is Quentin Tarantino, the director of movies like “Django Unchained” and “Kill Bill.” She named him as one of her film role models.
To learn more about film, Elise plans to continue her education in college. Her two top choices are Virginia Commonwealth University and Colombia University in New York City. VCU is a top choice because of the status of the art school nationwide and their developing film department. Colombia is her other top choice because of their already developed and well-known film school. One lesson she will take with her from high school is to never do anything last minute.
While she is still in high school, she prepares for a life working in film by volunteering at the Richmond Triangle Players Theatre where she ushers and assists with set up for shows. She also volunteers with the Richmond International Film Festival where she has helped with commercials and worked with local film makers. She uses these opportunities as chances to network, meet new people and learn new things about the industry.
Elise said her mom is one of her biggest inspirations. “She’s always telling me to be independent and not rely on other people,” Elise said. “I just go out and seek it myself … and I know I have to work hard for everything.” Elise is continuing to work hard on becoming a director and working in the film industry. She encourages anybody who has a dream, that “if you have a goal, you should go out and do it, don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t.”