My Digital Story follows David Fine, an aspiring actor whose dreams have been temporarily halted following the COVID-19 Pandemic. With Broadway shut down until 2021, there is no outlet for David to pursue his desired career path. This story is about how the Pandemic has put college graduates in a bleak place, but nonetheless, there is still hope.
The Show Must Go On
David Fine is a recent graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, with a B.A. in Dramatic Arts and Economics.
David has dreamed of being an actor for as long as he can remember. His aunt, Tiffany Scott, is a professional actress, and growing up watching her perform sparked his passion for theatre.
He spent his childhood acting at Asheville Community Theatre and continued his acting journey at Playmakers Repertory Company, a Professional Theatre located at UNC-Chapel Hill.
He planned to move to New York City after graduating to become a Professional Actor on Broadway.
The Shutdown of New York City
The first case of COVID-19 in New York City was confirmed by New York State Govenor Andrew Cuomo on March 1st, 2020.
On March 12th, a statement was released by the Broadway League that all performances would be shut down through April 2021, at the earliest. There was a possibility that this date would change as more news of the virus came to light.
On March 20th, only 19 days after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in New York City, all nonessential businesses were ordered to close statewide.
By this moment in time, the Pandemic had become a national emergency in the United States. Universities were shutting down, restaurants were closing, and social distancing guidelines were implemented nationwide.
When news first struck of the New York Shutdown, along with the Broadway Shutdown, David, like many others in his position, had a lot of anxiety and questions about the future. As graduation grew closer, job prospects were getting bleaker and bleaker. Businesses could not afford to hire new employees, Broadway was considering prolonging their shutdown, and fear of catching COVID-19 made searching for jobs seem dangerous. David seemed impossibly stuck and the idea of graduating with no plan afterward only amplified his fears.
“Instead of turning their tassels on May 10 in Kenan Stadium, the Class of 2020 will go to Carolina in their minds for graduation day as the campus remains closed to non-essential business in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.”
The UNC-Chapel Hill Commencement Page released this statement, alongside the news that Carolina would host an online celebration party on Facebook in lieu of actual graduation. Though this news was expected, it still seemed to make the whole situation feel more hopeless. The Pandemic was worsening, graduation was canceled, and there was still no news from the CDC about a working vaccine.
Finding Hope in Hopeless Places
David moved to his home in Greenville, South Carolina after graduating, where he was able to work from home for a San Francisco-based software company, Plate IQ. Despite this change in career choice, he never gave up on his dream to move to New York City.
He knew that the world will always need art; That even though Broadway was dark and New York was hurting, it only meant that people needed art more than ever. Art brings light and joy to people’s lives. He just had to wait a little longer.
After working for about 3 months at home, he had saved up enough money to move to NYC and begin to pursue his dream of professional acting.
David is now living in Greenwich Village, New York. Though he is still working at Plate IQ, he hopes to pursue acting when theatres re-open on May 30, 2021.
Though David did not know it at the time of this interview, he WAS able to continue following his dreams. For the millions of recent college graduates and aspiring actors who feel utterly hopeless, keep your head up. This Pandemic has made so many things uncertain, but one thing is for sure: The world needs you and your art.
Do not give up.
As David said in his interview, digital storytelling is such a pivotal part of today’s world. Having the chance and platform to share each other’s stories is an incredible opportunity to feel connected to others, despite the distance between us. I am so thankful to have a space to do so. I hope this story gives others hope and makes them feel less alone during the discouraging and isolating reign of COVID-19. Thank you.