Capturing Quarantine Oral Histories
Interview with Elliot Dynes


Interview with Elliot Dynes


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Elliott Dynes (he/him) was born in 2001, in Irvine California, where he was raised. At the recommendation of a friend, he attended the Orange County School for the Arts, where he discovered his love of film. While in high school Dynes spent a lot of time making YouTube videos with his friends and playing lacrosse. He applied to many schools, but ultimately decided on Columbia College Chicago and moved halfway across the country for a total change of pace. While there, Dynes quickly made many friends, and was therefore reluctant to return to Irvine amidst the pandemic. He also spent his time prior to COVID on sets and on freelance film editing jobs for clients. Dynes spent the Fall 2020 semester on campus in Chicago. He intends to graduate in 2023 with a degree in film and directing.

Publication Date

Fall 2020


Columbia College Chicago




COVID-19, pandemic, Chicago, Illinois, United States, coronavirus, film, directing, editing, relocation


Arts and Humanities | Oral History | Public History | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Elliott Dynes was born in Irvine, California in 2001. He grew up with his two parents in a relatively small community of neighbors. He details how he grew up relatively well behaved and dependent on his parents, but became more independent throughout high school. He discovered his love for visual media and creativity at a young age and thinks that he has always been creatively minded. Elliott explains how he got involved in film by helping his friend make YouTube videos, and, at the urging of this friend, applied to a private arts high school. Elliott explains how he undertook his first personal creative project when applying to the Orange County School of the Arts. He details the audition film that he wrote and considers the first creative project that was truly his. While in high school, further explored his love of film and dedicated himself to this pursuit, dropping other interests like lacrosse and hip-hop dance.

Though Elliott applied to many acclaimed schools, he ultimately fell in love with Columbia’s facilities and staff. He decided that he wanted to move to Chicago for a complete change of situation. Upon starting at Columbia, he quickly developed many friendships and thus was reluctant to leave the city to relocate. While in college, Elliott also discovered that he loved the directing aspect of film and decided to focus his degree on that. He spent a lot of his free time prior to the Coronavirus pandemic either working on freelance film editing jobs or visiting sets.

Elliott outlines what the week leading up to his relocation and the school campus shutting down was like. He explains how he was reluctant to return to California and live with his parents. Elliott has not enjoyed his transition to online learning, yet he describes some positives he sees in it. He also discusses some health issues that he has had to deal with since the onset of the pandemic. Elliott thinks that his time in Chicago has opened his eyes to new cultures and global issues.

During the fall 2020 semester, Elliott once again lived in Chicago on campus and thinks that he has managed to find ways to stay connected to his peers and professors.

Conducted in fall 2020 by an Oral History: The Art of the Interview student, this interview with a fellow student in the class reflects on the pandemic and how it impacted their life. The interview is conducted based on the life history approach to oral history.

Interview with Elliot Dynes