By Jessica Wiegandt, Lord Botetourt High School
Young children often dream about what they will become: a firefighter, teacher, veterinarian, lawyer; and the list goes on and on. They change their minds frequently, switching their dream career from one to the next in no time at all.
But for Lord Botetourt junior Piper Gaul, this was not the case. She had, and still does have, her sights set on becoming a movie director or screen play writer.
Gaul said she discovered her dream career when she was in seventh-grade with the help of her parents. She had a school project in which she had to plan a future career, and Gaul wasn’t sure what she wanted to be when she grew up. So she asked her parents what they thought. They remembered that when she was younger, Gaul was captivated by movies and films.
“They suggested I do something with film. I thought it would be kind of cool, and after the project I continued to think about it for a while,” Gaul said.
Gaul began making short films in seventh-grade with some of her friends and posted them on YouTube for the world to see. The following year, Gaul continued producing films and decided to enter one of her videos into a contest.
It was a “NO BULL” challenge — a youth-led organization created to put an end to cyber bullying. The idea of the contest was for youth to write and produce a short film about putting an end to cyber bullying. Gaul wrote a storyline and gathered a group of her friends to help her make it.
When Gaul entered the challenge, the Rachel’s Challenge club at Lord Botetourt posted signs around the school supporting Gaul, unbeknownst to her. The signs were made to inform the student body of Gaul’s video and how to vote for it online to help her win. Later, the video was emailed to all of the teachers and was shown in the classrooms to students.
“I think the support from my school and friends helped a lot with how far I got in the challenge,” Gaul said.
Gaul placed in the top 100 out of over 300 applicants, and her video was posted on the official Rachel’s Challenge website.
Along with using film as a hobby for herself, Gaul has helped some of the school clubs film short videos. She most recently helped the FCCLA film a video that was shown to the entire Lord Botetourt student body.
To date, Gaul has filmed six videos, and has many more on the way.
Gaul said she has scripts for multiple films laid out and written, and now all she needs is people for the casts and time to film them. She said that it normally takes her about a week to film each video, and then it takes about three days of focused work to edit.
Right now, Gaul uses social media to spread the word about what films she is making and which films are online.
Gaul said that in addition to working on personal projects, she uses school projects as an excuse to film more.
“Film is a form of art, like sketching, music or theater,” Gaul said. “It’s a way to tell a story or document memories. I like to entertain people, and it’s the perfect solution to do so whilst expressing myself,” Gaul said.
After high school, Gaul plans to continue living her dream. The University of Virginia and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are Gaul’s top two choices for school, as she wants to major in media studies.
“If I’m not directing, I want to be editing or producing,” Gaul said. “Just as long as I’m in the film-job area; that’s what I want to do. I like to entertain people, and I can definitely do that through my films.”
To see some of Gaul’s videos, go to http://www.youtube.com/user/sandpiper59.