In the absence of light, a thick heave of stale breath lingers in the atmosphere of familiarity, wrapping the air in a blanket of artificial ice. The walls peel off their dull, rusted browns and undefined shades of gray, and from the dim, flickering fluorescent bulb that washes out through restroom doorways, a murky yellow glow spreads out into a butter-fumed lobby.

There is a silence in this place that rivals that of the most pristine of libraries, a silence that heralds with it a beauty of awe that cannot be found anywhere else on the face of this fantastical realm of limitless potential. This place offers an escape, a bridge between that which is and that which could never be. And from within the abyss of darkened movie theatre screens, I can see the light of possibility, and its radiance is blinding.

From the writings of Homer, the readings of Thoreau, and the worlds created by JRR Tolkien, we as a society of uniquely imaginative beings have created stories so fantastically outrageous and unbelievably real that even today we thrive on those tales of the impossible. When I walk into that theater, when I smell the heavy odor of buttered popcorn and I feel that intolerable, yet comforting, air-conditioned gust of ice, I know I have left the world behind, and my skin chills over with the anticipation of entering a completely new one. And it is in this place, surrounded by the imaginative creations of hundreds of artists working towards a single amazing story, that I truly come alive.

I’ve always held a certain love for storytelling, ever since I was a child. I would lose myself in comic books and novels of all types. I would claim some as my favorite, re-reading them over and over again. Others I would put down after only one read-through, but the level of respect and awe those stories instilled in me helped to shape me as a person. The same would go for films later on in my life, because films could do something that written words alone could not.

Films stole me away, body and soul. Between the music, the sound, and the visual concept of creating an entire world from just an idea, films are an artwork of immeasurable determination and dedication that I hope to someday be a part of. I hope to create visual stories that may one day inspire a child much like myself to see the world in a different light: the light of ‘what if’.

I want to contribute to that light. I want to tell my story, and I want to do it through movies. I want to influence people of all kinds, give them something to look to when they no longer wish to face reality. I want to inspire. We are no longer simply a society of dead poets, bound to the written word. We are a civilization of living artists and imaginatives that can bring to this world the stories of the universe in the palms of our hands, within the confines of a screen. And as long as we continue putting our stories into the world, the ever-powerful play of life will go on, and my verse will be a part of it.

Alyssa Burdock is a junior in the Film Department at SVA, whose focus is on screenwriting (for animation in particular). Alyssa’s script “Letters to the Moon” won third prize in the Fifth Annual School of Visual Arts Writing Program Contest.