Charles Mason “Learning is the most important thing in my life. I feel I’ve got a lot of talents, and they just exploded when I came to SMC.”

Flash! Bang! Boom! It’s Special Effects! Or: A serene cello solo in the midst of a classical composition. These are the choices that Charles Mason, recent graduate from Taft, is weighing during his studies at SMC. Clearly, the cello had the upper hand, as Tchaikovsky was playing in the background while he talked. “I listen to a lot of classical music; to get inspiration, relieve stress, and help myself think,” said Charles. “I deeply love Beethoven, too, and I’m beginning to play the cello. It just grabbed me by the heart when I first heard it played, and I fell in love with it. I could easily see becoming a classical musician,” says Charles. But he’s also keeping his cinematic options open.

“I love the music but going into special effects is my most important goal now. It involves model-making, computers, and a lot of very artistic skills,” he says. “I think that getting involved in this area of film-making would let me explore and use a lot of my different talents. After all, special effects have a lot to do with why people are going to the movies these days.”

Charles is shooting for a place in USC’s film school and a career crafting spaceships and alternate worlds for the likes of Steven Spielberg. But for now, his feet are firmly on the ground at SMC. “Sure I’d like to have a lot of success,” he says. “But what I like most about myself is that I’m a loving person who’s there for people when they need me. And I’ve just got to do well in college,” he continues, “because I’m the first of eight kids. So it’s up to me to blaze the trail for the rest of them.”

Read more stories from present and past years in the SMC Student Spotlight Archive.