Why did you pick your college major? How did that help (or not) lead you to where you are now? I had always been into movies since they were my first resource to learn English when I first arrived in the USA at the age of 7. During high school, I read a lot and was really involved in theater. And even though my natural gift wasn't acting, storytelling of any kind was definitely one of my passions. I began to shoot short skits and just memorable moments on my phone with some friends and began to edit them using iMovie. Always building on my technique and knowledge with each new project, from then on I knew I wanted to be involved in storytelling through filmmaking. Living in Utah, I set my sights on the University of Utah where the Film and Media Studies department, along with the campus and ties to the yearly Sundance Film Festival, called to me. Since graduating from the program, I've managed to complete just over 6 years of experience as a video editor here in Salt Lake City and have even followed my second passion, sports, and have been working in the local sports broadcast community here for the past 6 years.
How have your career aspirations changed over the years? I'm still very much involved in the video making industry here in Salt Lake City, but also discovering my passion for sports broadcasting has allowed me to gain experience in that side of the entertainment industry as well. I'm still deciding on which path of the industry I would like to follow, but either way captivating storytelling continues to motivate my goals wherever that might take me.
What services and/or resources were most helpful to you? The campus or city library. Before you go on to purchase any software or book that you think you might need for a class, check with your campus or city library to see what options are available through them. This will help you be more tactical with your spending at the beginning of each semester.
What’s your favorite thing about your job? The craft services...haha! In all seriousness, it's the collaboration. When people of many talents come together to tell a story, almost always there is a special bond that is built among the crew. And sometimes, those relationships go on to produce many stories together.
What hobbies/interests do you have outside of work? I like to hike, camp, and follow soccer. Hiking gets me out there and out of my comfort zone. It can range from a relaxing stroll to a very challenging ascent or distance that takes planning, training and discipline to overcome the obstacles and reach your destination. Camping goes right along with hiking sometimes, but it also serves me to be more practical and clear my mind when I'm stressed. And lastly, I enjoy soccer because its simplicity brings people of all places together and it's just down right fun to play or follow. They don't call it 'The Beautiful Game' for nothing. I have been involved in all three of these hobbies since I was very young and have made many friends because of them.
What are some roadblocks you hit during your career? How did you overcome them? The Covid-19 pandemic was a huge roadblock in my career, especially since one of my favorite aspects of filmmaking is that you get to collaborate with so many people whose different talents add to every project. I was able to get through social distancing by working on my online networking and different individual storytelling skills, so when the time came for in-person productions to return I would be able to come back more prepared and with clearer goals in mind.
What impact/influence did ZF have on your academic career? Your professional career? ZF's help has had a big role in my professional development. Because of ZF, I was able to focus on my studies and graduate from the University of Utah debt free! After graduating, I was able to make career decisions that were based more on my skills and not because of how I needed to manage my student debt.
What piece of advice would you give to your younger/high school self? While getting good grades is important, don't forget to enjoy the extra curricular activities and build as many relationships as possible. Many opportunities come from those closest to you.