10 Essential Tips to Surviving the Industry – Chris Esper

Chris Esper, New England Tech grad recently participated in a webinar about surviving in the filmmaking industry.  Chris makes some excellent points.

You can check it out by visiting http://moviola.com/webinars/10-essential-tips-surviving-industry/

Nice job, Chris!

Spotlight: Chris Esper, 2012 Digital Recording Arts Graduate

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.

Chris Esper, 2012 Digital Recording Arts graduate

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 cbeagan@neit.edu.

The Road to a Career in Filmmaking

Katrina Morgan

Katrina Morgan

Katrina Morgan received a Bachelor of Science degree in Digital Recording Arts (now named Digital Media Production) from New England Tech in 2009.  Since that time, Katrina has made her mark in the world of filmmaking.  The mother of two children, Aurora, 11, and TJ, 5, Katrina works long days as a Production Office Coordinator and film Co-Producer.  With the help of her mom, Katrina is able to balance her career with raising a family.  “Working three months and then enjoying a few months off before I gear up for the next film allows me to spend quality time with my children.   They are amazing being so supportive of my unique job.” Katrina shares her experiences with Tech News Readers. 

Why did you decide to attend NEIT for your degree? 

I really liked how unique the campus was along with the class sizes. The degree program attracted me as well as the hands-on experience using various video and audio equipment.

How did you choose your program? 

I grew up in the theatre and always knew I wanted to work in the entertainment business. However, it was difficult for me to find an area within the business that I felt confident in.  By attending NEIT, I was able to learn all aspects of film and audio production, which helped me focus my career. 

How did you get your career started? 

I was willing to work for free. A friend, Andrea Ajemian, who is a film producer, had posted on Facebook that she was looking for volunteer Production Assistants (PA) for her new movie. At the time I was freelancing so I was able to work for free.  I also wanted the opportunity to learn about the film scene in Worcester, which is near where I live. After I interviewed with her and volunteered for a few weeks, the production team ended up hiring me during the shoot as the Assistant Production Coordinator. 

Tell us about your current position.

I am a member of Local 161 as a Production Office Coordinator, and I am also a Co-Producer with Andrea whom I have now worked with for five years. I have worked on 12 movies as the Production Office Coordinator and 2 movies as the Co-Producer where I received my first front end credit. I have learned a lot from Andrea and look forward to doing more films together.

Most of the films can be seen on Lifetime.  Currently, two features that I co-produced are being shown on Lifetime, “The Assault” and “Don’t Look Back” the latter of which was filmed in Idyllwild, California, and my first film shot outside of Massachusetts.

One theatrical film, “The Forger” with John Travolta, was released to On Demand while other theatrical films I have done are yet to be released. I recently worked on “Purge 3” filming in Warwick and Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

What do you feel ultimately prepared you for your position? 

I feel my years in customer service, my education at NEIT and my drive to work in this business prepared me for the job.

Do you have any advice for graduates who are just beginning their job search?  

To be honest, getting your foot in the door is the hardest part, but once you’re in and you prove yourself, people will refer you for other projects. My advice is to be honest and true to yourself. Don’t take a job on a film if you don’t really believe in it or want to be there. Working in film production means 12 hour days or longer so if you don’t want to be there, it won’t be a good experience.

What can current students do to better prepare themselves for jobs in this field? 

Although you do a lot in school, you have a lot more to learn out in the field so never stop learning. Be willing to “get the coffee” without complaint, no one is above getting coffee.  Also listen and pay attention. There are opportunities everywhere. When I first was volunteering, I was doing various PA jobs for the production. Only by paying attention to what the production needed was I able to end up working in the office and thus starting my career as a Production Office Coordinator.

Save the Date: Back Focus is August 31st

On August 31st, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., faculty selected Digital Media Production class projects/movies from each quarter of  the past academic year will be showcased in Hall of Fame, room N103 on the East Greenwich Campus.

Refreshments will be served.

BKFOCUS1

Graduate has movie released worldwide

New England Institute of Technology Digital Media Production (previously called Video Audio Production/Digital Recording Arts) graduate, Tom DeNucci has movie he wrote, directed and produced, Almost Mercy released worldwide.  Almost Mercy was shot and made right here in little Rhode Island.

Congratulations, Tom DeNucci on your continued success in the movie industry and on your appointment as CEO of the Woodhaven Production Company.

Almost Mercy is available on iTunes, Google play store, Vudu, Amazon Instant, Sony Network, M-Go, XBOX, Blockbuster On Demand, Verizon, FIOS, Cablevision, Charter Mediacom.

Digital Recording Arts Grad Hits the Big Screen

TommyDeNucciTommy DeNucci, a 2005 graduate of NEIT’s Bachelor of Science Degree program in Digital Recording Arts Technology (currently named Digital Media Production), is now an internationally recognized writer, actor, director and producer. A native of Cranston, Rhode Island, Tommy, at the age of 30, has a wide genre of films to his credit. In May, 2014, Tommy and his crew shot the film, “Almost Mercy”, in just 18 days at 20 different locations in the Ocean State. This film is one of a five-picture deal Tommy has secured with Universal Studios. In September, 2014, Tommy was featured on the cover of “Imagine” magazine, the premier information source for film, television and media production in the Northeast.

Tommy’s mentor and creative partner in film production, Chad Verdi, says, “Tommy’s single most interesting character trait that I genuinely admire is his willingness to always test others and make them better.” Tommy now shares his insights with Tech News readers.

What made you decide to attend NEIT?

I always heard that New England Tech was known for its hands-on approach to learning. I didn’t really respond too well to conventional teaching methods in high school. I knew at NEIT I’d get a chance to learn by doing and concentrate my focus on what I was interested in.

How did you choose your program?

I used my father’s video camera when I was a teenager and knew from that moment on I wanted to have some kind of career in the film industry. I was happy to hear that NEIT offered a program in Video Production and later was even more excited to find out I could focus on filmmaking. I had taken a video production class in high school and loved it, so the idea of doing that all day was really exciting to me.

What did you do to get started with your career?

The first thing I concentrated on was writing. I worked really hard to hone in my screenwriting skills. I cranked out draft after draft of different stories I had cooking in my head. I finally found one that really stuck, “Self Storage” which would go on to be my first feature film. I had just started interning for filmmaker Chad Verdi. He got a chance to read “Self Storage” and really gravitated towards it. Chad green-lit the project and we’ve continued to make films together ever since.

Tell us about your current position.

I’m currently working on finishing the last feature film I shot, called “Almost Mercy”, which I wrote, produced and directed. It’s been my goal to take projects from the early stages of development all the way through principal photography and finally shepherd them through the post production process. I’m basically married to each movie I make. It’s a long haul but I love it.

What do you feel ultimately prepared you for your position?

Hearing a lot of “no’s”, dealing with lots of disappointment, closed doors, things like that prepared me for what lied ahead.   It’s all about never getting too high or staying too low. In this industry, things can swing pretty quick and there’s always going to be plenty of rejection. Understanding that early on helps prepare you for the road ahead.

Do you have any advice for graduates who are just beginning their job search?

Be tenacious. Go after every opportunity. Even those that appear to be dead ends may lead to great contacts. Invest in yourself by taking the time to intern and learn from people who are already on the job. There’s a lot more to getting coffee, than just getting coffee. Swallow your pride.  I’ve learned some of the most interesting things about people and the business by doing some of the “low man on the totem pole” type jobs.

What can current students do to better prepare themselves for jobs in this field?

Interning on a film set is by far the best way to learn. New England has been buzzing with production as of late, and these filmmakers are always looking for eager people to come on and intern. This is definitely a learn-by-doing type of field. It’s also an industry where hard work can get you very far. People notice the gamers, and those are the people who eventually come back and land themselves a paid position.

NEIT will always mean a lot to me. It’s where I fell head over heels for what I do every day. The flexibility within the structure of the program gave me the freedom to optimize my creative potential. It’s a place I’ll never forget.

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and online degree programs, including Digital Media Production (previously called Video Audio Production and Digital Recording Arts) contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

More Information | Apply Now

NEIT students create ‘happy’ tribute

Grandma Betty became an internet sensation when her grandson created an Instagram account for her. In spite of her medical diagnosis of terminal cancer, Grandma Betty had still had a positive outlook on life. Her grandson began sharing Grandma’s words of wisdom through her new social media account and she quickly gained hundred of thousands of followers.

One video had Grandma Betty dancing to Pharrell Williams’s “Happy.” This video caught William’s attention and he shared with his thousands Instagram followers.

East Greenwich resident Bianca Sperduti was so moved by Grandma Betty that she felt sending a sympathy card to Grandma Betty’s family was simply not enough. That is when she turned to New England Tech Video Audio Production student Neil Guliano, whom she was classmates with at East Greenwich High School.

New England Tech students Neil Guliano, Robbie Savage and Joseph “Judah” Giudici then helped by directing, videography and edited the video, completely as a volunteer project. Here is the result an awesome memorial video to Grandma Betty. May we all learn from Grandma Betty.

Special thanks to www.eastgreenwichnews.com for making sure we were aware that our students volunteered and helped to produced such a quality project.

NEIT graduate, DeNucci is magazine cover story

New England Tech is proud to see Video Audio Production and Digital Recording Arts graduate, Tom DeNucci get the cover story of the September’s issue of IMAGINE magazine.  Everyone here at New England Tech would like to congratulate Tommy on his continued success in the film industry.

TommyDeNucci

From IMAGINE Magazine:

Tommy DeNucci was born in Cranston, RI in 1984 and at thirty he is a writer, actor, director and producer. He also has a five picture deal with Universal. He happens to be charismatic and lights up a screen. The camera likes him and so does the boom operator – a voice with resonance. He also expresses himself well. His mentor and creative partner in film production Chad Verdi says of Tommy, “his single most interesting character trait that I genuinely admire about Tommy is his willingness to always test others and make them better.” Before he was thirty he directed three films that received worldwide distribution. At present DeNucci and his team are editing ALMOST MERCY, the film he shot in eighteen days in May at twenty different locations in the Ocean State.  According to Tommy the film has a bigger feel than it should have considering its budget as he pushed the look he says as far as humanly possible.  Tommy recommends this to fledgling filmmakers, “Show up early and be the last to leave. Do the dirty work in the beginning. Learn the process from the very bottom, try to get in every circle you can and don’t think your ‘less than’ when you work from the bottom up…just go for it.”

Click here to read the entire Imagine story.

You may subscribe to IMAGINE Magazine by Clicking Here

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 40 Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and online degree programs, including Video Audio Production and Digital Recording Arts contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu

More Information | Apply Now

Video Student Wins National Contest

Harrison Brailey

Harrison Braley

Harrison Braley wanted to give his mom, Danielle, something special for Mother’s Day this year. And that he did! Using the skills he learned in NEIT’s Video and Audio Production Technology program, Harrison entered the 2014 CertainTeed Exterior Living Spaces® Home Makeover Contest. Each year CertainTeed invites homeowners to submit 30 to 90 second videos that showcase why their home needs a makeover using the company’s expansive line of home improvement products.

Harrison used his creativity and filmed and edited his 1 ½ minute video, “Nightmare on My Street”. Harrison’s mom explained, “He used a sepia filter depicting “scary” conditions of our home that included rotting window sills, peeling paint and even “creepy” critter damage accompanied by eerie background music and descriptive subtitles.” His video qualified for the final round by placing in the Top 10 as selected by Facebook users. CertainTeed’s panel of judges chose the Grand Prize finalists based on creativity (70%), theme (20%) and need (10%).

Congratulations to Harrison for winning a special second place prize that included installation of siding, trim, and roofing products for his home, as well as $500 for the videographer! Needless to say, the Braley family was extremely excited. Harrison’s video may be viewed on CertainTeed’s Facebook page.IMG_9305

Vinny Paz film to begin shooting in Rhode Island this fall

The Ocean State is going to be the site of another movie beginning this fall.  This one about the comeback of world champion Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza .  “Bleed for This” is being produced in part by Verdi Productions/Woodhaven Production Co. in East Greenwich, RI.  Local filmmaker/actor and NEIT Digital Recording Arts (DRA) Technology graduate, Tom DeNucci is currently part of Woodhaven Production Co.

From the Providence Journal:

Vinny Paz film to begin shooting in Rhode Island this fall

“Bleed for This,” the film about the life of local boxing legend Vinny Paz, will begin shooting in the fall with an estimated budget of $16 million, according to the Rhode Island Film & TV Office.

Oscar-winning producer Bruce Cohen (“American Beauty,” “Silver Linings Playbook”) will join Chad Verdi of Verdi Productions/Woodhaven Production Co. of East Greenwich, Martin Scorsese, Emma Tillinger Koskoff and Noah Kraft as producers on the project. Writer/Producer Ben Younger will direct.

“Bleed for This” tells the story of world champion Rhode Island boxer Vinny Pazienza who suffered a near fatal car accident but went on to win three additional world boxing titles in the 1990s.

via Vinny Paz film to begin shooting in Rhode Island this fall | Entertainment – Music, Theater, TV & more | Providence Journal.