When I look back on the past two years after High 5 and high school, I am amazed by the swift pace of things. I have climbed mountains in Tibet, had drinks with filmmakers in the U.K., partied with Ke$ha (more on that later), and directed a music video for a Scottish brass band. I am cruising through life right now at 100 miles an hour. At times, I know where I am going, but more often than not, there is no direction. Life after High 5 has been a potpourri of experiences, not too different from the experience I had at Multi TRaC four years ago.
I am in Edinburgh right now studying the history of film festivals while learning about the camera and cinematography. This is an exciting time for me. After attending the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June and writing some posts on my Tumblr (just for myself really), I was asked to help blog in August for the Edinburgh International Festival, a separate much larger festival focused on bringing world-class performing arts to the city. You can check back in August on my Tumblr for posts from some of the shows: ghuang.tumblr.com.
I spend a lot of my free time watching movies and talking about them with friends, a habit I think developed from the Friday Pizza and Movie Nights. Whenever I can, I also try to catch theatre productions, orchestra performances, and jazz shows at my school. I go to a small college in a state half the world has never heard of. Adjusting to life in a small town with much fewer options in the arts was a long process. Our local movie theatre got Hugo three months after it came out in the rest of the country.
But there are upsides to the small town. The limited options at my college meant I was limited to things I probably would have skipped over in the vast New York arts scene, and some of the shows turned out to be things I would have regretted missing. We had Christopher Lloyd playing Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman, Steve Martin playing his comedic brand of bluegrass, and Ke$ha in concert, where I was hired to photograph backstage. We had a dance troupe from New York visualizing the end of the world and another theatre company from New York performing a Greek drama. It felt funny to be watching something from home while I was 300 miles away from home. “Why am I watching this here when I could just catch it in New York?” I thought. Because I probably would not have even heard about the show there.
When I look at all the films and shows I have been to in the past two years and all the blog posts and articles I have written, I always think back to my time at High 5 and always wish I had done more. I was never a stellar TRaC student (Eric was constantly hounding me for my articles) and I only managed to catch a few shows here and there through the High 5 scheme. Now, as I dole out 20 dollars – or in my case at the moment, 20 pounds – for a show, I always feel a pang of regret for not having gone to more in high school on the five-dollar deal and writing more. High school was always so busy that I never had time to respond to the few shows I did catch – my total contribution on the current High 5 teen reviewers site is an impressive total of two reviews. I feel I am making up for what I missed in high school everyday with all the shows I attend and the articles I write.
To the high schoolers right now reading this, I am very jealous of all of you and the opportunity you have to see great shows in the greatest city in the world at such a great price. I always wish I could have just gone to one more show and written one more review.
This blog post is part of an ongoing series featuring High 5 and TRaC Alumni. If you’re an alumn and you’d like to participate, email a 200 – 500 word write up about your life after High 5 (and a large picture!)to TRAC@high5tix.org. The blog posts should generally follow this format: What arts were you into in high school? What has your life been like after TRaC/High5? Where are you now? What are you up to? What are your goals? Lessons learned? Funny stories? Feel free to self-promote and drop hyperlinks to your websites, current projects, school, Tumblr page, favorite Kickstarter project, whatever!