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Making the Transition from School to Workforce

University student finds inspiration, focus and professionalism

Erik Rojas (left) looks at a music video shot with Ryan Whitten (center and rapper Aziz Dieng. (Photo by Marisa Benjamin)

As a current senior in Boston University’s College of Communication, I am preparing to enter the fraternity of professional filmmakers after my commencement.

I think we are at a pretty amazing point in the history of crafting moving pictures. Though the idea of graduation is daunting, I am excited to enter a new, professional world where I can further learn and experience film creation.

I began my college career as an advertising student, choosing the major because it sounded interesting and with the knowledge that BU has a top-ranked communication school. However, I was unaware of what my passion was, and I spent most of my time as many freshmen do—watching Netflix and eating Chex Mix.

It wasn’t until a then-acquaintance approached me to contribute to a music blog that I gained some focus. Although it seemed insignificant at the time, this catalyzed the realization that film and video are my calling.

I sprang at the opportunity to become a contributor. In truth, I was unsure of my ability to photograph live music, but built up the confidence to acquire free tickets and a press pass to a show at Boston’s House of Blues. I scrambled to borrow a friend’s DSLR for a night, and learned the camera mechanics rather quickly.

Since then, I have become enthralled with image capture and the technology behind it. Three years later, as a senior studying film and television (in addition to advertising), I can honestly say I have found not only my passion, but also my talent.

Though the near future’s uncertainty is sometimes overwhelming, I’m thankful to have had many experiences over the course of my education that prepared me for a career in the world of film and video. As a sophomore, some fellow film students and I decided to begin our own production company. We began to acquiring client work in and around Boston and continue to collaborate today.

Working with this small crew has shown me the power of cameras and production given today’s technological innovations. With so many opportunities to create powerful stories, more artists are capable of making magic.

It wasn’t until I lived and interned in Sydney, Australia, for a semester that I really felt my perspective shift along with my growing abilities. I worked for a phenomenal creative studio that did everything from shoot documentaries, animate epic 3D action scenes, direct commercials for the BBC and create motion graphics for Central China Television.

This whirlwind of stimulation and creativity allowed me to experience first-hand how the digital age is causing rapid hybridization and growth within the film industry. To say that my mental horizons were expanded by this experience would be an understatement. I hopped on a plane back to the United States with my brain jam-packed full of new knowledge, but most importantly, determination and confidence to work at and share my craft.

Excited―a feeling I mentioned previously―now hardly scratches the surface in regard to moving from my university into the professional world. With the ever-evolving progress of film and video, I am itching to immerse myself into the industry.

Although I feel privileged to have already accomplished so much of which I am proud, I cannot wait for the next chapter of my life. Directing, shooting and editing are my calling, and soon, I will dive head-first into a new world―one that is exciting, progressive, and most of all, meaningful.