I watched the documentary “First Position” on Netflix a few days ago. This is an excellent documentary following a group of young ballet dancers as they get ready to compete in the Grand Prix competition in New York City. The dancers competing are as young as 9. The stress that they put their bodies through is crazy – injuries and fractures are frequent. But during the last day of the finals, judges representing thirty elite ballet institutions will award scholarships, contracts (for a spot in a ballet company) and medals to the most promising dancers.
The dancers shown in this documentary are extremely disciplined and devoted to becoming career ballet dancers. Some of the students dance for hours every single day and one of the parents remarked “my kid works harder than I do”. If it isn’t physical stress, there is also emotional stress that these kids go through.
One of the young students in the documentary traveled from South America leaving all of his family behind to receive training in New York. He missed his family and sometimes felt as if he should just return back home - but he loved ballet which is why he stuck it out. During one emotional phone call, his dad told him that he needed to work hard and succeed in the competition because his future depended on it as“there was nothing for him to do back in Columbia”.
I took a ballet class at Moorpark College during the summer many years ago. It was a mixture of beginning and intermediate students and I first-hand observed the bruised feet of the more advanced students in my class who were on pointe. Ballet is emotionally and physically taxing. If you think you are currently working at 100% this documentary could potentially put you to shame.
April 22 is Earth Day! Events are held around the world to demonstrate ways that we can all protect the environment. Check out the Earth Day website if you would like to learn how you can get involved. We can all make a difference! Here are 10 simple things that we can do everyday:
P.S. Remember Captain Planet?! I used to love that show. I think we need a show like this now more than ever.
Happy Easter! Here is our Easter coupon code in case you missed the tweet on Good Friday:
Enter "Bunny" at checkout for 20% off 1-on-1 and 2-on-1 tutoring only. Expires 4/26. Enjoy your Easter Sunday :-)
His name has been everywhere the past few weeks. So who is Kwasi Enin? Kwasi is your typical Long Island 17 year-old senior minus the fact that he was recently accepted into all of the Ivy League colleges. ALL EIGHT.
But to the people surrounding him this does not come as a huge surprise. He has a strong work ethic, he is humble and he is dedicated. He ranks No. 11 in his senior class (of 647), scored a 2,250 out of 2,400 on the SAT exam and has taken 11 Advanced Placement courses. In his free time, he volunteers at Stony Brook University Hospital’s radiology department. He competes in shot put and discus for his school’s track team. He plays the viola for the school orchestra. He sings in his school’s acapella group and wants to pursue music along with medicine in college, which I think is really cool. He has acted in several school plays, is a member of the schools Youth & Government club and also plays the electric bass. And the list goes on!
He now has a tough decision ahead of him deciding which Ivy he will go to – he is currently leaning towards Yale but I’m sure he will make the right decision. If you are interested in reading his college essay, here is a draft of it. I personally think it is interesting how he writes about integrating music into every part of his life. You can find the draft online but I debated posting it due to all of the negative, racist and hate-filled comments that people have been posting towards this kid. It’s totally fine if you do not think his essay is good, but do not demean his plethora of accomplishments or say that he does not deserve to have gotten accepted into any of the Ivys and it was only due to Affirmative Action. If you really feel this way, please refer back to the second paragraph above.
I think that no matter your age, Kwasi’s dedication and work ethic is such an inspiration. Put in the effort, go above and beyond, work harder than your peers and you can definitely achieve success no matter what you are working towards.
Finally. To audiences and fangirls/boys delight, Captain America: The Winter Soldier premiered in movie theatres this past Friday! In honor of this the FX network had the prequel, Captain America: The First Avenger on serious repeat for the past week. It seems to be on every time I turn on the TV. And yes, I am guilty of watching it more than once (more than twice?) in the past week :-)
So let’s talk money. The budget for The Winter Soldier was $170 Million. That’s a lot of money! So why is the budget so high? What actually goes into the budget? Here is a quick breakdown of what goes into a typical feature film budget:
In other words, there are a lot of people to pay and a lot of things to pay for which quickly add up. There ARE a few ways to cut costs however. For example, hiring cast members who are not in a position to demand such a high salary as opposed to hiring A-list actors. But this is a gamble since having an A-lister attached to a project usually positively influences ticket sales. Although Robert Downey Junior was moderately known at the time, he received a salary of ‘only’ $500,000 for the first Iron Man movie. At the time salaries and contracts were being negotiated, there wasn’t yet an established fanbase for Iron Man and the studios didn’t know how it would fare at the box office once released. Also, this was Robert’s big comeback movie after his many stints in rehab and the studios took somewhat of a risk by casting him. Iron Man did extremely well at the box office. Robert was paid a salary of $12.5 Million for Iron Man 2, which also did extremely well at the box office. For Iron Man 3 he demanded a salary of $50 Million. Since he IS Iron Man, the studios couldn’t really refuse. They all knew that they could not bring in a new actor to play Iron Man for the 3rd installment. So in the case of Iron Man 3 which had a budget of $200 Million, ¼ of said budget went to just paying Robert’s salary.
Since we are on the topic of comic book movies, here is a cost breakdown of Spider-Man 2 (of the original Spider-Man movies! not the new ones) from Wikipedia. The
budget was also $200 Million.
Kirsten Dunst: $7 Million
Alfred Molina: $3 Million
Rest of Cast: $3 Million
Other Music: $3 Million
*TOTAL: $200 Million*
We can only expect movie budgets to keep getting bigger and bigger and movie ticket prices to keep going up!