In The Locker Room with Michael Candelori, Men’s Soccer Player and Filmmaker

College sophomore Michael Candelori.

Photo Courtesy of Michael Candelori

College sophomore Michael Candelori.

When College sophomore Michael Candelori arrived at Oberlin last fall, his intentions were to focus on soccer and graduate with a degree in Economics. After three classes in economics and one in the math department, Candelori decided to shift gears. The Vienna, VA, native now plans on declaring a double-major in Cinema Studies and Theater. His interest in film began in high school when he had the opportunity to shadow a friend’s dad who was working on a documentary that ended up on Netflix. Candelori currently has a couple projects of his own in the works and dreams of one day becoming a movie director in Hollywood.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

What did you do this summer?

I was here this summer with [College sophomore Jack Miller, who was on the men’s soccer team last year,] while he was [in the Oberlin Summer Theater Festival], so I got to see some of his plays. I was working for [Campus Dining Services] this summer and stayed in Oberlin just because I didn’t really feel like going back home. I felt very comfortable here, having my freedom. I got to live with three friends: Tim Williams, [OC ’18]; my friend [College sophomore] Grace [Brennan], who was on the women’s soccer team [last year]; and Jack. Jack and I got to talk a lot about this longer film we’re working on, and I just trained for soccer and kind of relaxed and explored Oberlin. I got to know Oberlin a lot more [over the summer] than I did during the school year.

One of the projects you’re working on is a short film. What is it about?

There’s no dialogue in the film. It originally was going to be paired with the instrumentals to two different songs, but because one of them was a Kanye [West] song, and because of copyright issues, we had to scrap that. Now Jack is talking with one of his friends from the [Conservatory] to create a completely original soundtrack for it. It’s a four to six-minute short film about a guy whose mom recently passed away, and it’s called Picnic with Mom. He and his mom used to always go on a picnic, and he’s kind of going through the motions but with a clear absence since his mom is no longer there. It’s showing a certain early stage of mourning. It’s a really emotional short film. There’s only one actor — it’s just Jack. It’s just a little project Jack came up with last semester, and we decided to do it so that he could have something to show people with his acting, and I could have something to show people with directing and different cinematography skills.

Will the showing of the film be open to the public?

We’ll probably do a small showing with all the people who helped out — our friends who lent us their car or their bikes or let us film in their house. We’ll probably have a small screening with them, and then just maybe put it on YouTube or different social media so everyone can see it.

How do you balance classes, soccer, and all of the projects you work on?

[Theater] is a lot. You have to be very committed to it. It’s nice because it gives you a little bit of a sense of what it’s going to be like out of college when you’re struggling. I’m probably going to have to work another job just to support myself and make some sort of income.

I usually will have a full day of classes and then practice, and sometimes I’ll have a screening after practice, so I’ll have to leave practice 15 minutes early or something to shower — not even eat. You have to figure out and plan when you’re going to eat throughout the day. Every day I have a list of the different things I’m going to do and how my day is going to go. It’s a lot to balance, but it’s something I’m really passionate about.

Are you the same person on the soccer field as you are behind the camera?

I definitely think I’m the same person, and I think that is part of what makes our team so special. Every single person on our team is very different and brings their own flavor to the team. One of my teammates, [College junior] Jack McMillin, is a Creative Writing major, but he also had an art exhibition last semester which was super cool. Guys on the team are just doing a bunch of different things like that — completely unrelated to sports. All of us remain the same in soccer and what we do outside of soccer. It’s nice because we all feed off of each other; it’s a very creative team. I was hanging with my friends Jack [Miller] and Jack McMillin and [College senior] Noah Binford last night, and Noah makes beats and wants to do sound editing for our short film. I can just have a conversation with my teammates about stuff that isn’t related to soccer, and we start collaborating on it. It helps build chemistry. We’re building it off the field, but it carries over onto the field. Noah and I are closer now ’cause we’re working on something together outside of soccer.

How do your teammates support the work you do outside of soccer?

Our team is really supportive of everything we each do outside of soccer. Everyone has already told me that they want to come see the short film that we’re doing, and it’s really cool. Guys are genuinely interested in it. Even the guys who know nothing about Cinema Studies or Theater want to hear about the class I’m taking or the small project I’m working on. We’ll have a 45-minute conversation about it just because they want to learn. We feed off of each other in the creative things we’re involved in outside of soccer, and it helps us collaborate on the field.