Entry One

Today is Saturday, January 24th of the year 2015. I ventured into the world of HOMTV as a rookie promotions and marketing intern. I have reached the end of my second week, and I have completed each workshop. Now the tests await me. I am prepared. I will conquer them. As I complete my journey through this semester I will be documenting my experiences in this new world here, on WordPress. Those who stumble upon this, be warned. Not even I know fully what awaits. So, lucky for you, there will be no spoilers.

I suppose you would like to know a little about me. If not, then stop reading. Go on…Stop.

Last chance. Everyone still here wants to learn about me? Yes? Good!

Well, my name is Chrystaline Angel Decker. Quick side note: Chrystaline is pronounced as crystal-inn (or crystalline, for those of you who are into science). Not crystal-line or crystal-lean. But, anyway, back to me.

I am twenty-two years old. I am a fifth-year student at Michigan State University, and I am majoring in media and information with a concentration in cinema, TV, and radio. I have always had a passion for creating. For making people smile, laugh, and hopefully helping to make their lives a little better. I often put people before myself. And that passion extends to animals as well.

My path to getting to where I am now was a little crazy, but it has been amazing. When I was a child I wanted to be a veterinarian. But when I grew older I realized that being a veterinarian might mean that I may need to euthanize animals. I didn’t think I could do that, so I thought “What is like being a vet? What’s the next best thing? I know! I’ll be a doctor!” I remember making that decision when I was about twelve. I also wanted to be an actress back then (I still do, but acting is more of a hobby right now). Making that decision wasn’t just based on that one, quick thought though.

My grandfather had been in and out of the hospital for my entire life, up until he passed away when I was fourteen. I grew up as an only child with a single mother. He was my father figure, and the best grandfather anyone could ask for. Before I was born he was diagnosed with myelofibrosis, and was given five years to live. Thanks to many physicians, he lived for about twenty-five years after diagnosis. I got to know him. That time was invaluable to me, and I can never be thankful enough for it. So that aided in my decision to become a physician as well. I could help people like my grandpa.

gpa and i and cuddles

(My grandpa and I, his catch of the day, and Cuddles the poodle.)

I went into college as a human biology major. I was in Lyman Briggs (MSU’s college of science), and had secured a spot in the Osteopathic Medical Scholars Program. If I were to achieve a 3.5 GPA, and get at least a 3.5 average GPA in my math and science courses, I would not have to take the MCAT and a letter of recommendation from the director of OMSP, Rosemarie Handley, would be sent to MSU’s college of osteopathic medicine on my behalf. I was all set. I was great at math and good at science. Yet…I wasn’t completely happy. I was proud of myself and felt honored, don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t feel fulfilled. Something was missing. I continued with my major up until the end of my third year, and took a few theater classes here and there.

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(A legless grasshopper puppet I created at the end of a biology class. Featuring my crazy face.)

I realized I wanted to work in film and television during the drive back from Muskegon to East Lansing with my mom after winter break. She could tell I wasn’t very happy, and throughout the break I kept expressing my doubts on whether or not I was going into the right field. I wasn’t sure what my purpose in life was. So we talked. And we talked. The whole drive back. It was one of the most eye-opening and relieving conversations I’ve had.

I mentioned how it seemed that when people found their passion, pursued it, and were good at what they did, they seemed to exhibit the personality traits and talents of a worker in their field throughout most of their lives. So we examined my life. I was a very creative child. When my mom would film me for home videos, I would always try to perform for the camera and act funny. As I grew older I would beg for the camera so I could make ‘shows’ with my dolls and action figures, and recreate films and cartoons I had watched recently. I would memorize the lines and the cinematography of those shows and try to reproduce them in my own films. Eventually the content came from my own imagination. My cousins and I would write material and talk about how great they would be as TV shows or movies. We would also put on performances for our family, and create our own props and costumes. My favorite costume creation is a ballet skirt made from tissue paper (I think I did this when I was three.) I would want to make movies with my friends in school, but they weren’t into it. So I sated my entertainment bug by taking choir, show choir, band, and theater classes.

When I went to college I felt like I would go insane without doing something creative, so I took theater classes.  When I saw people performing or making movies back then, I felt extremely jealous. I couldn’t commit the time I wanted to it because I was always studying. I felt like I had to do well in math and science and go into a science career, or people would be disappointed in me. I worried my family would be ashamed of me if I took any other direction.

After thinking through all of this I was still uncertain. But then I reflected on one of my favorite actors and filmmakers: Charlie Chaplin. That multi-talented comedic genius was a big help in having me realize that I could still help people through entertainment. By producing his films he provided a way for people to escape from their depression. He made them smile. He made them cry, then smile again. He gave them hope, and he helped people to make the decision to keep moving forward through thick and thin. He wrote a song that I believe holds some of the best advice I have ever heard: Smile. 

I realized that I was meant to do this. To produce things to help people in similar ways that he helped people. But then I reflected on my grandpa again. What would he think if I chose this complete change in the direction of my college education? This complete 180 in my life? He had always encouraged me to perform and entertain. He was always happy when I did, and he could tell it made me happy…I think he would smile.

So I made my decision. I wanted to work in film and television. My entire family was supportive. I spoke to Rosemarie and she was very supportive; even excited for me! The only person who was not was the advisor I spoke to when I went to change my major. He made it obvious he thought I was crazy. He often came close to dropping a few curse words (I’m not exaggerating here.) But I stuck to my decision, tried to explain myself to him, and he reluctantly changed my major. He was mainly concerned about my finances, but I explained to him that my family is not paying for my tuition, and that I am paying for my education through scholarships, grants, work, and a loan here and there when it is necessary.

Before I changed my major I felt like I was dragging through life, and I was worried that I would always feel that way. As soon as I changed, I felt much happier. I felt like I had a new life. Like a large weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The bounce was back in my step, and I took to the new material like a duck to water.

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(Operating Camera One to film a drama in my first multi-cam class.)

Now I have a few film projects under my belt, have written a full-length movie script, am working on a project for WKAR, am planning a talk show, and I am in the process of planning a short movie/TV show pilot. I have recently finished my first editing job for MSU’s Graduate Women in Science. And, last but certainly not least, I have begun my internship at HOMTV.

I thank the people of HOMTV for giving me the opportunity to take this next big step in my professional career. I have already learned so much in the short time I have been with you so far, and I can’t wait to take hold of what awaits me in the future.

~End~

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About Chrystaline Decker

Chrystaline is a senior at Michigan State University studying media and information with a concentration in cinema, TV, and radio. Before becoming a promotions and marketing intern at HOMTV, she previously worked as an editor for the Graduate Women in Science’s MSU chapter. As an intern she looks forward to expanding her skill set, making connections, and gaining hands on experience in the television industry. She dreams of working in film and television, and has her eyes set on Disney and Marvel.
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