One of Steven Taylor's many dreams is to live, work, and most importantly, create in T&T. As the young filmmaker put it during a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian, "My dream is to be here."
Although Taylor, 24, does not want to have to live abroad to find work as a director and filmmaker, he does want to have the opportunity to study abroad. Another of his dreams is to contribute to the development of the T&T film industry. Part of his plan to do so is attending one of the most prestigious film schools in the US–University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts–and he's very close to making that dream a reality.
Taylor, who graduated from the University of the West Indies, St Augustine, last year with a first degree in film production and film studies, was accepted to USC to pursue post-graduate studies in cinematic arts, film and television production.
There's one snag, however. As an international student, Taylor needs to show that he has financial support for the first year of school to the tune of US$56,000.
As a student who graduated with first class honors, Taylor is entitled to and has applied for government-sponsored post-graduate scholarships. Yet, by the time he finds out whether he's received the scholarship or not, the deadline for USC's payment of fees may have been long gone.
USC's first requirement was a document demonstrating Taylor's financial support for the first year. This document was due on April 1, and Taylor met the deadline by a close call after a small company offered their assistance. Now, he needs to actually find financial backing.
Taylor has been trying to express to potential sponsors and supporters the urgency and large feat of a USC acceptance for a T&T national.
As Taylor explained, when he was seven, watching the movie Jurassic Park sealed his desire to make movies.
Steven Spielberg became his instant idol. Taylor makes sure to point out that Spielberg was rejected by USC twice in during his early filmmaking days. USC alumni also include Star Wars creator George Lucas and James Ivory of Merchant Ivory Productions. And Taylor's spot among these alumni would be well earned.
His short film, Buck: The Man Spirit, won the T&T Film Festival 2012 People's Choice award for Best Short. At UWI, he won the Best Overall Film Student Award from 2010-2012. Taylor was also a National Scholar. Last September, Taylor was also one of three film students chosen to spend one-week with American actor and producer Will Smith on the set of the upcoming movie After Earth. The "24-7" immersion into film critique and technique further solidified Taylor's resolve to follow his dreams.
If those achievements weren't enough, in 2008 Taylor also completed a diploma at the Complections International Makeup Academy in Canada. Upon returning from the programme, Taylor started the company Dream Reality providing professional special effects makeup. He's provided special effects makeup for music videos for Machel Montano, Destra Garcia, Shurwayne Winchester and even on the set of the recent film Home Again. Taylor sees his large body of work as a testament to the viability of a local film industry.
After hosting a car-wash and launching a campaign on the fund-raising Web site Indiegogo.com in March, Taylor's next plan of action is a fund-raising concert. "People need to see that the industry is about community and that is where I want to go with the concert. I mean, education is important and that's where I want to go with the concert too. I want to show people who I am, what I've started, what I do and how important it is to have our own visionaries, how important it is to project us on screen. When are going to start investing in our own?"
To find out more information about Taylor and his fundraising efforts, contact 494-3588 or find him on Facebook under Steven Taylor. Also, visit his company's Facebook fan page (Dream Reality / Makeup Artist)