Stephanie Heckman

Interview with a media professional: Ashanté Hill, filmmaker and video editor

In Career, College, Film, Interview with a media professional, Videography on March 19, 2013 at 11:47 pm


Ashanté Shomari Hill is a 20-year-old filmmaker and video editor. He is currently a junior studying film, video art and Japanese at the Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. He speaks to us today about promotional work, video editing, finding internships and following one’s passion.

Stephanie: Can you describe to us what you do for your job?

Ashanté: I go out and shoot the footage and I handle all the set equipment. Once that is done, I take it back to the computer lab and make the movie through computer software and that includes the soundtrack, the special effects and all of that.

Stephanie: Have you done any promotional work?

Ashanté: I haven’t done any promotional work yet but I am in the process of doing some with the women’s studies department at Ohio State University. Currently, I am doing a commercial that focuses on doing students what the major and minor are within the women’s studies department and what skills they can get from it and how it can benefit them intellectually.

Stephanie: Is promotional work something you would like to do in the future?

Ashanté: This is something I would definitely like to do in the future. It would be challenging. To do videos for other companies, it would require me to do research, to learn more about advertising, to think critically and learn how to best represent the message to get across to their audience.

Stephanie: Is this something you would like to formally study?

Ashanté: If I had time, I would definitely like to take courses in advertising and marketing. This is why I am currently taking a persuasion class, I would like to learn more about how advertising and marketing works and how to incorporate these theories into my promotional work.

Stephanie: Can you tell us about your major?

Ashanté: My major is in film studies which is the study of film history and film theory. But my concentration is in video production which can be the video production courses taken through the theater department. They focus on learning on to shoot video and edit video and on learning how to produce video, with the current standards of the equipment and software.

Stephanie: What is your favorite part of the film major?

Ashanté: There are not only film theory and film theory from an American perspective but you can also take film classes during other departments such as the German Department, French Department, East Asian Literature Department and even the Women’s Studies Department. My favorite part is to learn about it from different things opposed to having to learn film from one perceptive.

Stephanie: You are only a junior yet you’re already on your third internship. What would you recommend to other students to help them get on the right track?

Ashanté: I personally came into college thinking that I wanted to major in Japanese which is why I came to the Ohio State University in the first place. Upon taking these courses, I realized that it was something that I enjoyed but it was something that I was not passionate about. I think one of the things college teaches us is that it’s okay to be good at something but not passionate about something. And I think once you get to that point in your college career, you can actually focus on what you want to do. I definitely recommend getting to that point in your life as soon as possible. Then you can choose your major, choose your courses and start finding internships and networking to realize the professional goals that you have.

Stephanie: Would you recommend that people don’t go to college until then?

Ashanté: No, I recommend that I do go to college because higher learning gives a sense about what professional life is like; our courses will help us prepare for professional skills. Once you go to college and take courses in what you want to do, that is when you’ll realize if it’s something that you actually want to do. I don’t think it’s something you can know about unless you’ve tried it.

Stephanie: How did you find your internships?

Ashanté: I found my very first internship at age 18 through a program that was for underrepresented minorities. I got into this program and they helped me write up a resume and found me a job that pertained to my career goals. They found a job that pertained to experience I had, which is in graphic design. I found a job, which is as a graphic design intern.

After that internship ending, I did some research about local companies that had anything to do with art, film or videos. I came across the Wexner Center for the arts. I simply found their website and looked to see if they had any internships and they did so I applied and got accepted. Even though the internship that I actually got wasn’t the internship that I wanted to get into, it ended up being a lot more productive. I got to work personally a professional filmmaker.

From that internship, I actually found a flyer referencing an internship in digital media and it was actually accessible through the university’s website for internships and jobs. I didn’t even realize that the university had that website. I recommend college students find out if their university has a website like that because it’s very helpful and user friendly. I got that internship. My current internship is writing for a show called Writer’s Talk. This is a Youtube portion and a broadcasted talk show portion. We interview authors and bands that come to Columbus or OSU. My position is digital media assistant and what I do is that I go with them, I shoot the interviews then come back to the computer lab, edit the videos and we post them on the website. After that, we do an audio version for podcast broadcasting.

Stephanie: Can you tell me more about your internship from last summer?

Ashanté: For the Wexner Center, they did a community outreach program. They picked 10 artists between the ages of 16 and 21 and they brought them in for 2 weeks to each build a proposal in any way they could with the artistic skills that they have with professional architects who are building a youth project in the Wexner Center.

What I did is that I worked with their hired professional filmmaker and we shot the entire program, we interviewed the young artists, we interned the architects, we interviewed the entire staff. We put together a documentary covering the entire program. It turned out well. We got to have all the artists come back a few month later and they got to see the documentary as well as the head of the Wexner Center for the Arts, who is someone who is really interested in a youth perspective of the center that they planned on building.

Stephanie: What would you advise to people who want to follow your career path?

Ashanté: The first thing I advise is to see if you want to get a higher education or if you want to focus on gaining skills. If you want a higher education, don’t go to film school. It will only get you skills, not an education. Skills are something that you can learn without going to school. Nowadays, you can just hop on YouTube and learn about digital skills and what you may want to get into.

If you decide that school is not for, you need to start researching and saving to take up money to take classes in film and video editing at places like Adobe or Apple. Once you feel like you’ve gotten to the point where you feel like you can do video work, I would start applying to jobs and internships that pertain to your skills, as long as it’s something in your reach and doesn’t require more experience than you actually have.

If you decide that if you want to pursue a higher education, then you should take as many classes as you can manage. For the major, closest to your field. If you can’t find a major closest to your field at your school, then see if they have a personalized major where you can construct a plan that will help you move into your future profession. In addition to that, see if your school has any internships or part-time jobs pertaining to film or digital media. They may have a station or Youtube channel pertaining to students that you can use for your resume when you graduate.

Ashanté: I would like to add, for students, it’s okay if you don’t know what you want to major in or if you decide that what you do is not what you wanted to do. Because what you actually decide to do will be all the more rewarding.

Check out Ashante’s short film for the Wexner Center:


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