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TRANSFER STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: COLTON

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What department in film do you enjoy the most?

Since I’m so new to filmmaking, I’m still learning about all the jobs that I like and don’t like. This semester, I’ve been leaning pretty heavily towards the Production Department and am currently working as a Producer, Unit Production Manager, and 2nd Assistant Director across three different films. My affection towards writing and editing grows the more I do them, but I’m not sure I have the patience to do either long-term. Ask me again in a year, and I may have a better answer, haha.

Why did you come to film school?

I came to film school, so I could learn all about the film industry. When I graduate, I want to feel qualified and confident that I can complete any film job that comes my way, whether it be PA, Director, or something in between.

Who is your favorite filmmaker?

I like to be entertained, and I generally focus on lighthearted comedies more than dramas and thrillers. For this reason, Edgar Wright, Wes Anderson, Taika Waititi and Baz Luhrmann are all up there for me. They all have unique styles and are my favorites for different reasons. Wright’s editing, Anderson’s cinematography and colors, Waititi’s “happy-sad” storytelling ability, and Luhrmann’s stylized showmanship. If we go back in time, Howard Hawks’s dialogue, and if we go back even further, Buster Keaton’s stunts and Charlie Chaplin’s storytelling. I’m sorry I can’t give you just one.

Describe your on-set experience? Pros? Cons?

In my experience, there are three things that can make or break a set. Your personal attachment to the film being made, the people you work with, and the quality of life on set (bathrooms, crafty, weather conditions, etc.). The first two are the most important because you need at least one of these to have a good time. The quality of life is a little more nit-picky, but it’s amazing how much of a morale boost it is to have sunny weather and good food after being in cold weather without snacks.

Is the cinema program what you imagined?

The cinema program is not what I imagined. I thought there would be a lot more run-and-gun, creative, make-your-own-movies type of work, but the program is more vocational and collaborative than that. The program teaches the fundamentals of all on-set jobs and gives students the resources to learn about all the other aspects of filmmaking that they want to know. This self-teaching is a necessary mindset to be successful in this industry, so I’m glad they’re instilling it in us. The cinema program is designed to teach people how to work well together throughout the filmmaking process. You’ll learn what all the different jobs do and how everyone pulling (or not pulling) their weight can make (or break) a project. Half of this industry is knowing your craft and the other half is knowing your people. The cinema program gives students the opportunity to master both learning and networking.

For Transfers: How is VCUarts Cinema program different from where you transferred from?

I took required general classes at a community college for my first year of school and worked towards a Computer Science degree at an online university after that, so VCUarts Cinema is very different than my previous college experiences. It’s the best college experience I’ve had of the three, partially because of the community of great people and largely because I’m learning about things I actually care about knowing.

Colton in the short “340ft. Below”