Almost Famous, and why I chose to be a journalist

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Being in college, you meet a lot of people who have no idea what they want to do with their lives. They’re going through the motions but they haven’t found something they’re passionate about yet. It is unfortunate that we are expected to make such a big decision as teenagers, but I was lucky enough to know what I wanted to do since elementary school. And while I did briefly consider other fields that would be more lucrative, I have always come back to one thing.

In 2000, Cameron Crowe’s film, Almost Famous, hit the big screen. The movie, set in the ‘70’s, follows the life of William, a shy, awkward teenage boy who dreams of being a music journalist, while battling his over protective mother.

Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a beautiful portrayal of legendary rock writer, Lester Bangs, who sort of takes William under his wing as he gets the chance to go on tour with the band, Stillwater and write an article about them for Rolling Stone.

I had already loved to write before watching the movie at a young age, but when I saw it, it changed my life forever. The ability William had to go behind the scenes and talk to musicians he idolized to get a story (though it proved to not be as easy as he assumed), the fast paced lifestyle, the experiences, it amazed me. That was it, I was going to be a journalist.

Besides just influencing me to go into the journalism field, the movie taught me so much about life. Crowe touches on subjects like growing up, family issues, following your dreams, and falling in love. To this day I can’t listen to Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” without getting a little emotional. (The tour bus scene featuring that song is one of the best scenes ever made. And I stand by that statement.) It also touches on the topic of media ethics and writing the truth no matter how it may make the subject sound.

Throughout my life, I have been told several times that journalism is a dying industry or that as a journalist I will never be able to pay off my student loans. And then there are people who think it’s interesting, that I’ll have a good career and life.

It is hard to say if I would have chosen a different path if I had never seen Almost Famous but it’s impossible to imagine what my life would be like without writing. Every time I see the movie or talk about it, I fall in love with the lifestyle all over again and I can’t wait to see where life takes me after graduation.

So Lester, William, Penny Lane, and of course, Cameron Crowe,

Thank you.

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