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 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 this school. He has also had his fair share of struggles just by coming to ELAC, such as attending a school that doesn’t even have his major.
Sanchez was 18 years old and fresh from high school, 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.
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 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.
Charles decided to contact the club but upon sending an email to that address, the ELAC email system advised that the address was not valid.
Upon 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 as the other ones 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, but knows that ELAC can’t help him in that department since classes are not available.
Sanchez also wants to be more than an actor on a school stage in front of locals, so he has began branching out on his own and creating his own path.
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. However, he said they’re completely different. He understands that ELAC doesn’t offer film classes, but continues to attend for financial reasons and sees it as a transfer school.
Sanchez is still attending ELAC, and is making his own pathway towards his dreams in film anyway he can. He currently works as a server for a catering company under Dreamworks Studios, with Steven Spielberg working right upstairs.
“Even though it’s not what I want to do for the rest of my life, I feel like this can get my foot in the door, especially since I’m working around so many big names in film. People would kill to be within breathing distance of Spielberg, and I get to see him more than people ever will in their lifetime.
I’m so grateful for that and it motivates me more. One day I want to be upstairs, talking with Steve about our upcoming project,” Sanchez said.