Tommy 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