Student faces struggles while chasing aspirations

By: Samantha Moreno

The struggles of being a Latino, Bisexual, film student at East Los Angeles College is something that doesn’t faze Dreamworks employee, and ELAC student Charles “CJ” Sanchez.

The 21-year-old bisexual aspiring film actor, who works within the same breathing space as Steven Spielberg, has figured out many positive things about himself by coming to ELAC.

He has also had his fair share of struggles just by coming to ELAC he attends a school that doesn’t even have his major.

Sanchez said he wants to become a screenwriter, director and actor. He has acted in numerous plays on campus, most recently, “Measure for Measure” in April 2016.

Sanchez also directed a production on campus in 2016 titled, “The Lover.”

Sanchez was 18-years-old, fresh out of high school and trying to figure out the next step in his life.

He took a year off, visiting Mexico and Las Vegas, to figure out what he wanted to do. “After doing that I got bored, so I decided to come to ELAC because it was the closest thing to my house,” Sanchez said.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION—Charles Sanchez, right, acting alongside Mario Arciniega in “Much ado about Nothing.”CN/COURTESY OF ELAC THEATER ARTS ACTING PROGRAM

He wanted to start his college experience with a “fun class,” so he started off with Theater 100.

Sanchez said this was the seed that sprouted his love for acting and helped him come to terms with what he was hiding within himself.

At ELAC, Sanchez didn’t have a problem making friends but still didn’t feel comfortable telling his peers who he truly was until he started branching outside of ELAC.

Although there is a Queer Straight Alliance Club on campus, he said the club is rarely advertised compared to clubs like the Administration of Justice Club or Psychology Club.

The only way to find out about the club is to search for it on the ELAC website, and the only way to contact the club is through an email address, said Sanchez.

Sanchez decided to contact the club, but upon sending an email to that address, the ELAC email system advised that the address was not valid.

Even after finding out about the club, Sanchez said he still wouldn’t feel comfortable going. “The club is still somewhat of a secret, and my sexuality is still a secret to some.

Coming here, I want to feel like we can be just as respected … and make changes, rather than just talking about how we feel about being gay,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez soon realized that ELAC was not the best choice after all and that his love for film and acting would not be fulfilled here since film classes are not offered.

He wishes to become a screenwriter one day, and has studied many great playwrites, such as Shakespeare, in an attempt to gather inspiration.

Sanchez has a love of musicals, and hopes to write his own original musical that will be as great as, “Chicago.”

Sanchez also wants to be more than an actor on a school stage in front of locals, so he has begun branching out on his own and creating his own path by getting a job with Dreamworks Studios, with Steven Spielbeg working upstairs.

Sanchez said he caters at Dreamworks, and frequently brings snacks to Spielberg’s pet bird.

He not only caters at Dreamworks, but also at major award ceremonies such as the Screen Actor Guild awards, Indipendant Film Spirit Awards and an Oscar’s after party.

Sanchez said that people often believe theater directing and film directing are the same, and that theater acting is the same as acting in a film.

He said, however, they’re completely different.

That doesn’t bother Sanchez much, he said he enjoys the theater program at ELAC, and hopes that he will gain the skills to one day win an Oscar.

He has not acted in any plays this past semester, but he said he plans on returning to ELAC’s Proscenium stage in the Fall.

Sanchez understands that ELAC doesn’t offer film classes, but continues to attend for financial reasons and sees it as a transfer school.

He also sees ELAC as a great place to gain acting experience. Sanchez said he has got his foot in the door at Dreamworks, and is grateful he gets to work among film makers.

He said it motivates him everyday, and hopes to one day be in the office with Spielberg talking about their upcoming project.

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