Alumni Spotlight: Celina West

Celina West

What class/professor impacted you the most and why?
The Summer Intensive was, without a doubt, the most important class I took in college. It taught me so much about not just filmmaking but about people and about working in general. It’s intense by design, the filmmaking pressure test. If you can thrive in that high-stress environment, you won’t be blindsided when facing similar problems on non-student sets.

What was your lightbulb moment in Cinema, when you realized this is what you want to do for the rest of your life?
It was less about a moment in Cinema and more about a general feeling. Filmmaking is hard work but being part of a crew is electrifying in a way that I don’t think I’ve experienced in any other environment. At times when my energy was low or my self-motivation was waning, I was so committed to the people that I was working with that it never occurred to me to give up. That’s how I’ve felt on most crews I’ve been a part of, both during and after school.

What department(s) did you focus on in Cinema and what department(s) do you work in now?
I focused on production and art department in school and I am now a Producer in marketing/advertising.

If you had to do Cinema all over again, what would you do differently?
I would have taken advantage of the access I had to facilities and equipment while I was in school. It becomes significantly harder to do your own thing if you are also working full-time, I had to learn that the hard way.

How did the skills you learned in Cinema help you in your line of work now?
In Cinema, you learn how to wear 10 hats on set and working with student film budgets teaches one to be thrifty and resourceful. In my work now, I often save money on projects by doing things myself. I don’t hesitate to pick up a C-stand, build props, or style food. I also know how to source props/set dec on the cheap and find locations that won’t break the bank.

What’s your favorite summer intensive memory?
It’s nearly impossible to pick favorites. Some top contenders are pre-dressing for The City and Mary (period films where we had to gut entire rooms and re-dress) and night shoots for Straw. Sourcing and building props for Will Wager was super fun – we got a chance to work with the SFX person to blow up some bottles.

Wanna check out some of Celina’s work on “Mary”? Check it out on our Vimeo here: