Greetings and salutations. My name is James Moore and I am a staff member here at FiveSix Productions in sunny Las Vegas, Nevada; my role with the company is somewhat of Jack-of-all-Trades. I have thus far served in the capacity of production assistant, grip, media manager, audio mixer/technician, camera operator, assistant editor, and editor; oh, and I am awesome at going on Starbucks runs. I graduated from Full Sail University in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Film Production, have interned with Atlas Media Corp. in New York, worked for L.A. based Bunim Murray Productions, and am a freelance photographer and writer on the side. I have been with FiveSix since July of 2014, and am happy to share my thoughts, experiences, and insights with all who are curious.
This is my first blog post, so I think it is fitting to share my journey from deciding to work in this field to now, my first full time, staff gig in the biz. I will be as brief as I can while trying to impart as much useful awesomeness as I can.
As more time passes since I’ve graduated from college with a shiny, new Bachelor’s Degree in film production, I speculate more and more over the value of the degree as related to working in the production world. Every person’s situation, experience, desire, and especially opinion is different, so I will simply pass along my observations and experiences so as to aid anyone who is looking for such things.
My original collegiate ambitions were clouded in the uncertainty of not only what career I wanted to pursue, but also the socioeconomic realities I would face having grown up middle class, and without any “scholarship-worthy” attributes, trials, or tribulations. By the time I was ready to pick a school and major, I was already blindly and foolishly certain I was going to be a famous actor gracing the stages of Saturday Night Live. Unfortunately for me, as I found out very quickly, actors are typically one or a combination of good looking, talented, and funny; so acting was out. In my mind, I had to go to college and get a degree, it’s what people do after high school- so, what next? I resolved that if I couldn’t be in front of the camera, I would learn to work behind it; I loved photography, writing, and the beautiful idea of Hollywood glitz and glamor, so it would be a perfect fit. Goodbye practical, University of Colorado, hello fancy, Full Sail University.
Let me take a moment to make a very serious and important note, as it relates to this rant. I don’t regret anything that I’ve done, as I am blessed to be where I am now, but if I could go back and tell my younger self about my experiences, I would probably have done things somewhat differently. That being said, I would have told myself to understand student loans and the repayment process. $100,000.00 isn’t a small amount, especially when you need to pay a mortgage/rent, car payments, health insurance, etc. All the sudden, that $800 a month isn’t so fun. If only I had been so lucky as to have the forethought and common sense to do some research and not just listen to college recruiters and morally-sound student loan agents. I would have also stressed the value of a degree, but passed along the idea that a degree from any accredited institution of higher knowledge is worthy. Stanford and Harvard look wonderful on a piece of framed paper, but many community and state colleges provide exceptional educations, and a lot of employers are impressed that a degree was earned at all.
Before I get too opinionated and off-track, here are some nuggets of knowledge and experience to wrap this up:
- Full Sail offered an incredible experience, and education. They are very expensive, but those students who try to get everything out of their tenure there will get a great education in the film/television industry. I can honestly say I feel more confident on set that I have even a base knowledge of the industry that I earned there.
- If I made a decision now, I would not go to Full Sail, I would go to a state or community college instead. (Again, Full Sail is a great school, it just wasn’t the best financial decision for me in retrospect.)
- A degree is invaluable. It represents commitment, hard work, and most employers I’ve tangled with are happy to see someone with one- regardless of the prestige of the institution.
- Most people I’ve ever worked with on set didn’t go to film school, and they do just fine.
- You can learn a lot about production, and many trades, from just getting out there and trying.
- Never underestimate the value of working hard and having a good attitude; those are as important on set as knowing how to light a set or edit a video.
- Start at the bottom if you need to… because usually that’s the only way to get in. It took me over half a decade to find the right fit, and it ended up being an entry level position, despite previous experience.
That’s about as generalized as I can get without telling more of my life story. I hope this has painted a clear enough picture and been as factual and useful as possible. Best of luck in whatever path you choose.