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.

Digital Media Production Grad Starts Film Fest

Support ‪#‎DigitalMediaProduction‬ graduate, Adam Theroux by checking out 401 Film Fest this Friday and Saturday. ‪#‎401FilmFest‬ is FREE to attend and 100% of the money raised on the sale of food and raffle tickets will go to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State.

From Rhode Island Monthly:

The Scoop on the 401 Film Fest

The free inaugural event features films and music videos by local and international talent.

By Casey Nilsson

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I went to New England Tech for audio/visual. I’d already had some experience with audio, but I fell in love with video while I was there. Now I work for WPRI as a video editor, and I still do some independent film on my own.

There are lots of established film festivals out there already. Why start a new one?

I started this for zero-dollar independent filmmakers, not $20,000 indie filmmakers. We don’t have an outlet like this, especially not locally. We’re just a bunch of people getting together for the love of the art, not necessarily to make money.

Is the focus on local talent?

I wanted to have at least half of the selections be from Rhode Island; the last thing I wanted to do was not accept a Rhode Island submission, and we ended up having, for content reasons, to say no to two Rhode Island submissions. But I also wanted anyone to be able to enter. We got about 1,000 submissions in the end. It just took off and I got some great submissions.

What can attendees expect?

Everything from local talent in the music video showcase, including Roz and the Rice Cakes and Ravi Shavi, to a music video featuring Willie Nelson. It’s pretty hilarious stuff: One day I had this crazy idea to start a film festival, and then I received a short with Corey Feldman acting in it.

Some films are from people who are doing well in their field, which brings in some higher quality content. So we have a music video from a famous pop star from Kuwait and a video from a fifth grader from Rhode Island, which he made for a school project. He shot the whole thing on his cell phone. It’s inspiring.

Another inspiring thing: All funds raised will be donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Ocean State, right?

Yes, 100 percent of all funds raised through raffles and food. I’m a mentor, and it’s a blast. It’s really changed my life in the past year. I’ve seen a lot of good that it does. It benefits my life too, not just a child’s.

And admission is free?

Both days are free. We are expecting to sell out – well it’s hard to sell out when you’re not selling tickets but…. When I came up with the idea, I wasn’t expecting it to blow up as it has. The whole thing melted my heart in the greatest way. It’s free, it’s local and there’s a little something for everybody.

The Details: Nov. 13, 7-10 p.m. Arctic Playhouse, 117 Washington St., West Warwick. Nov. 14, 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. William Hall Library Auditorium, 1825 Broad St., Cranston, 401filmfest.com.

NEIT graduate produces video series to combat Domestic Violence

As part of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the movement for “No More Domestic Violence”, New England Tech Digital Media Production graduate Neil Guliano joined forces with Ten Men to produce a series of digital stories aimed at combating domestic violence.

from Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence website:

The Ten Men 2015 Digital Stories series features current members, all local Rhode Island men, sharing their stories about why preventing domestic violence is important to them and why they joined Ten Men.

The following digital stories were filmed, edited, and produced by Neil Guliano (NEIT Digital Media Production student), a 2015 Ten Men member.

To continue watching more of Neil’s Video Series OR learn more about Ten Men and the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence: Click Here.

Video/Audio Grad Tours with Children’s Choir

18-Brayan Destiny Africa

Brayan Delacruz

Brayan Delacruz, a 2014 Associate in Science degree graduate from New England Tech’s Video and Audio Production Technology program (renamed Digital Media Production), has been using his skills as a Sound Technician/Engineer through a volunteer internship for Destiny Africa, a talented children’s choir from Kampala Children’s Centre, Uganda. Through music, dance and art, the choir performs to audiences across the world at schools, colleges, private/public organizations, companies, and festivals sharing their story of hope and changed lives.

For each performance, Brayan is responsible for the set up and breakdown of all sound equipment, instruments, and graphics while overseeing all technical aspects during the show.  During a recent performance at NEIT, Brayan shared that Destiny Africa’s East Coast tour has included New England, Virginia, Illinois, Ohio, and North Carolina. The group had the honor of singing the National Anthem for the New York Yankees and has made nearly 70 appearances during its four month tour. Kudos to Brayan for sharing his time and talent for such an exceptional group of children.

If you would like additional information about any of New England Tech’s over 50 Associate, Bachelor’s, Master’s and online degree programs, including Digital Media Production Technology

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Contact the Admissions Office at 800-736-7744 or email NEITAdmissions@neit.edu 

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.


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.

Successful Video Grad Speaks With Current Students

New England Tech would like to give a big thank you to Christian Beaulieu, a 2013 graduate from the Video Audio Program (currently named Digital Media Production). Christian assisted Career Services in speaking with a Digital Media Production class today regarding interviewing and finding work. Christian stressed the importance of having technical qualities and strong skills in communication. His perseverance led him to a few part time jobs and eventually landed him his first full time job. He will be working at HB Communications in Digital Media along with a part time job at Gillette Stadium as an Audio Visual Tech. Congratulations, Christian!

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