Maria Gargiulo, an instructor in the University of Washington Certificate in Film and Video Production, gives you an in-depth look into the program and shares the relevance of storytelling to a variety of professions.
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I think what the greatest thing about film is that it incorporates all the arts. It’s storytelling so literature, it’s acting so drama, it’s painting. You know, cinematographers don’t just study other films, they study Rembrandt, they you know for lighting, they study Hockney for color. And I think that’s part of what attracts me anyway and I think the fact that you can create dreams with films.
People who come to this program have very eclectic backgrounds. Naturally, I have people who are writers and actors that come in but there’s also a lot of journalists. Usually every year, there’s like a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a Microsoft millionaire. In fact, sometimes you even get people who are experienced in the business.
The one thing that I think unites the people who come is they’re highly motivated. And because of that they work really well together as a group. The other thing that all those people have usually, is it that they have some kind of story they want to tell. Sometimes it’s a dramatic story you know they want to make Hollywood features, and sometimes it’s a documentary story you know. They come to it with an issue that is important to them and so they enroll in this course specifically to learn the skills to be able to tell that story.
Filmmaking is not a career in the way engineering or nursing are careers. In that you go to school, and you get a degree of some sort and then you’re reasonably assured of getting a job in a large company. Everyone I know that works in film and video usually works as a freelancer. And so, you do not leave this program with a piece of paper that entitles you to a job.
We do teach technical skills ’cause you gotta have to have a certain minimal level in order to execute your stories. You have the baseline of skills I think to get you out there. And also sometimes to find yourself and to find out what is it that I want to do in film.
Over the last twenty plus years that the program has been in existence a lot of students have gone on to work in the business. In fact, I hired a person as my co-producer who came out of the program.
Students have gone on to have things screened at film festivals like SIF. They’ve gone on to, often times use especially in documentaries; use those pieces to help whatever cause, whatever issue that they were working for.
It’s interesting this whole idea of storytelling as a new buzzword across a lot of fields of studies, not just film and video. Whether it’s you’re trying to sell yourself, you’re trying to sell an idea, you’re trying to sell a concept or even a new way of looking at things you know or a belief that you have. That’s what storytelling enables you to do.
And I think the future is such that people are going to need to have this skill even in corporations you know. You’re going to have departments that are producing media, whether it’s the company newsletter, the company report, all of that is going to be media driven. So I think those skills are going to come in very handy for anyone in almost any kind of job.