Panel of Viewpoint’s Film Program Alumni Share Their Insights and Experiences of Film School and Working in Entertainment
Panel of Viewpoint’s Film Program Alumni Share Their Insights and Experiences of Film School and Working in Entertainment

On Thursday, March 18, a panel of seven alumni from Viewpoint’s Film program gathered on Zoom to share their experiences applying to film school, attending film school (or not), and for those who have graduated, what life looks like after film school. Four of the panelists are still in film school at NYU, USC, and Emerson. One studied Theater at Williams and is currently filming a television show for HBOMax. Another alum studied Theater at the University of Arizona while making films on his own. He is now the Director of Photography for a YouTube production. Yet another went to Georgetown, where he is now getting a master’s degree in Security Studies, while continuing to help his friends make films. 

The current Viewpoint students had a lot of questions, especially about making an impactful film to submit with their applications. Scott Lipman’14 had a great piece of advice. He told them not to try to imagine what some unknowable admission committee member is seeking, but instead “make something that is authentic to who you are and what you like.” Matt Kern ’18 shared that he was accepted to NYU based upon a four-minute film about Dungeons & Dragons at Viewpoint. Sarah Williams ’19, who attends USC, emphasized that the schools, above all, are looking for good storytellers. The fancy technical skills can come later. All of them stressed the importance of networking with their professors and fellow film students, as well the importance of the relationships that they made while at Viewpoint. For many of them, those friends continue to be their most meaningful collaborators and creative partners.

The alumni panel was organized by Film teacher Monica Hoenig. She explained her intentions for the evening, “My aim was to create a friendly, yet informative discussion between our current and former film students. I hoped that listening to our alumni’s personal stories would greatly comfort current students struggling with their decision about college.”

She added, “Talking with my juniors after the program it was evident how exciting and inspirational the event was for them. One Film III student said that he felt so much more comfortable about applying to film school than before, and listening to former Viewpoint students encouraged him to pursue his goals and dreams.” 

Ms. Hoenig concluded her remarks by saying, “It was also an important networking event for our film community, considering that Viewpoint alumni working in the film industry will seek out current film students to collaborate with in the future. They understand that the creative and essential skills learned in Film I - IV puts our film students at a huge advantage once they enter film school, and the standard procedures, practices, and work ethic learned at Viewpoint directly translates to our students’ future ability to be hired.”