The Career Services Office recently asked New England Tech graduates to share their success stories with us. NEIT is always proud to hear how well our graduates are doing. This week we are featuring a 2012 graduate from the Digital Recording Arts (now called Digital Media Production) program: Chris Esper.
We asked Chris to share a little bit about himself and asked a few questions. Here’s what he had to say:
To start, I now own and operate my own production company, Stories in Motion, where I make narrative films, music videos, corporate videos, commercials, wedding videos, etc. My work has had the honor of playing in multiple film festivals across the country as well. Back in 2014, I also managed to intern at OddLot Entertainment in Los Angeles, CA, where I got to read screenplays from various writers and share my feedback with the story editors of the company.
I also recently self published my first book. It’s called The Filmmaker’s Journey, which is about giving advice on starting a career in independent filmmaking based on my own experiences, successes, hardships, struggles, etc. The goal is to help others and to show how to ultimately survive in what is a very difficult career. It was just released on Amazon on Kindle and paperback: http://amzn.to/2908y2l.
- Did you always know you wanted to pursue a career in film? What/who inspired you to pursue such a career?
Film has been something I loved since I was a child. I think I’ve always subconsciously knew that film is what I wanted to do, but it took me a while to get there. When I was younger I wanted to be in front of the camera as an actor and/or comedian. Slowly, though, my focus started to shift behind the camera with directing. In my teens, I discovered that I could combine everything I loved into one medium, that being film. I think it was when I first saw Martin Scorsese’s classic “Raging Bull” that I got a deep understanding as to what cinema is truly about and it greatly inspired me to want to make movies.
- Were there any experiences you had while you were in school that you believe helped you once you entered the work force?
There were lots of experiences that I feel helped me once I graduated. I think I grew as a person in how I approach my work as a creative and professional through my professors and classmates. While I was in school, I took advantage of what the New England film community had to offer from internships to working on various sets. Those experiences taught me a lot in never being afraid to aim high, always do my best and to put myself out there as much as possible. All these things and more have helped me a great deal since graduating in 2012.
- What kind of challenges did you face and how did you overcome them?
I think my biggest challenge was self doubt and rejection. No matter how well I made a project or did well in a task, I focused on the negative side and just questioned myself. Finally, I just gave all that up and told myself that I’m not the only one and that this is part of the journey. Ultimately, I think those who are looking to get into any field of choice, especially creative fields, should look at the biographies of their idols and look for their failures. That will put things in perspective. We never hear enough about what our idols went through to make it to the top, when we should. The media tends to focus on their successes, but I firmly believe that failure is what drives us to be a success. One has to receive a lot of ‘No’s before they can receive a ‘Yes’.
- What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?
I would say setting out to write and finish my book. As a filmmaker, shifting to another medium is quite difficult, especially one that is not a visual medium. My goal was to share my story and advice based on my own successes, hardships and failures. My goal is to give back what I learned to others who also want to get into the field of filmmaking. What started out as a simple video blog on my YouTube page, turned into a bigger project that is so far proving to be successful.
- What do you attribute your success to?
I believe my success comes from my tenacity and determination. I think without that, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve as much as I have achieved. I also think I have a huge support system that surrounds me, especially my parents. They instilled their work ethic into me and also taught me to do what I love in life without settling for less.
- What advice can you offer to students/graduates interested in pursuing a career in film?
It’s a long hard road, but if you don’t give up and keep creating, you will eventually reach your goals. You can have all the talent in the world and the greatest resume in the world, but it doesn’t matter. You need to network with people and put yourself out there. Nobody is looking for you, so you need to make the first move.
If you are a graduate of NEIT, or know someone who is, and would like to share a success story, please contact Caitlin Beagan at firstname.lastname@example.org.