Affordability helps grad follow dreams to LA

Kenneth Dantes at Paramount Pictures Published November 29, 2022

Without College of Lake County (CLC), Kenneth Dantes doesn’t think he would’ve been able to get on the path to his dream career of becoming a movie director. Now, he’s living in Los Angeles on his way to making his dreams come true.

“I had big ambitions to be a movie director,” Dantes said. “I just couldn't afford film school. At CLC, I knew I could afford it and explore what I wanted to do.”

Dantes started his college education at a four-year institution in Wisconsin, but quickly realized the cost was too much for him to continue to afford. CLC was not only far less expensive, but being able to live at home lowered his expenses even more.

After starting at CLC in 2016, Dantes felt right at home at the smaller college. With smaller classes, he felt like he had the opportunity to get to know his instructors.

“It felt like a community because there were actually those teachers that have had time for you,” he said. “During class, I knew I could have that relationship with them.”

The flexibility to work while going to school was crucial to gaining job experience. Dantes took jobs as a production assistant on different projects filming in the Chicagoland area, gaining experience and building his network.

Dantes studied literature during his time at CLC with the goal of becoming a better writer, and he also had a job on campus in the writing center as a tutor.

Dantes was part of CLC’s Honors Scholars program, receiving free tuition. Through this program, he earned a full-tuition scholarship to Elmhurst University. This scholarship also paid for him to study abroad at the University of Oxford in England while attending Elmhurst.

Not only did being a CLC scholar help him financially, but it also helped Dantes feel ready for the next stage of his life.

“I really needed the confidence boost the scholarship program gave me, especially when I was awarded a scholarship to Elmhurst,” Dantes said.

Dantes is living in Los Angeles, something he said is only possible because of the financial benefits of CLC.

“Los Angeles is a really expensive place to live,” he said. “I can only afford it because of CLC. I don’t have any student debt.”

Dantes works as a background production assistant, meaning he directs and handles things for background actors. He’s worked on projects including Fox’s American Horror Story, NBC’s Quantum Leap, HBO’s Barry and more.