Covid-19 notification icon

ALUM SPOTLIGHT: MONICA

Categories

What’s your favorite summer intensive memory?

I’m going to have to go with the chicken memory. I took the opportunity to enroll in summer intensives as a freshman and was the Location Manager on one of the films that summer called Dakota’s Daughter. It was a farm film, so we needed chickens for one of the scenes. Fast. Luckily, as the Location Manager I met so many nice and amazing people while scouting for a farm location. I called up a woman who owned a farm that we didn’t end up filming at, and she was so kind and gladly let me borrow three chickens to use for the short film. It was just so great to have the responsibility and create connections to make things come together; and the chickens were an adventure to have around.

What’s the most important aspect of Cinema?

One of the most important aspects of Cinema is the teambuilding that occurs during the program. Since the program is smaller than the rest of VCUarts, we’re able to become a very close knit family during our years in the program. This becomes valuable when we enter our summer intensives because we’re all so familiar that we can work well with each other and have a fun time. In addition, if you don’t know somebody very well and work together during a short film, you’re bound to become good friends towards the end. The people skills learned during this program are important in the film industry since a lot of the industry is about networking and forming relationships or friendships that can lead you to your next job. 

How was the transition from school to the working in the industry?

The transition was fairly smooth. Our film sets in Cinema are honestly very similar or exactly like what things are like on a real film set. I was also very lucky to have a film internship on the feature film, Loving, during my time in Cinema thanks to the program’s connections with the Virginia Film Office. Loving is where I learned so much information and met people that helped me transition smoothly into the film industry, and it’s all thanks to the Cinema department helping me get the opportunity.

What was your favorite movie you saw for the first time through Cinema?

This is a tough question, actually, since there were a handful of good movies we saw at Cinematheque and in classes. I will probably go with Band of Outsiders by Jean Luc-Godard. I found out through Cinema that I actually really like French Cinema and European Cinema. After graduation, I found a great theatre in Midtown Atlanta that I frequent which screens European and French Cinema such as somewhat recent releases like Portrait of a Lady on Fire and Beanpole that major theatres wouldn’t normally screen. I really love how Cinema gave me a greater appreciation of films such as those.

How did the skills you learned in Cinema help you in your current job? (what are you doing right now?)

Cinema was very helpful with my current job. The basics of communication, teamwork, and understanding the different personalities of a crew has been one of the greatest assets I have learned. I’m currently an Assistant Production Coordinator and work with many different people on a film crew so being able to communicate effectively, be a team player, and just be personable has really helped me soar in my career. Being able to problem solve has also been a life saver. A lot of the time, the industry is fast-paced and problems pop-up regularly. Remaining calm and focusing on solving whatever problem may arise has been a very important skill that I learned during my time in Cinema.

Monica Woolsey and Maura Mazurowski on the set of VCUarts Cinema’s “A Good Soldier”