Emily Hayes

2013 Film Alumna

  • Program: Film
  • Employer: Optimus
  • Position: Assistant Video Editor

Emily’s Story

Emily is a 2013 Film graduate and is currently an Assistant Video Editor at Optimus. We asked Emily a few questions about her current role and here’s what she had to say!

What has been the largest challenge you have encountered while entering your industry and how did you overcome it?

Initially breaking into the industry itself proved to be pretty difficult. I had to dedicate myself to following up on every lead I had, even though many times they lead me to dead ends. I would work my day job and then come home and send emails and make calls for hours just hoping someone would answer and might be in need of an intern! Additionally, I often did a lot of work for free just to get face to face with people in the industry, hoping down the line they would keep me in mind for any open positions.

What would you say is one of the most important assets to have in your line of work?

You have to have a thick skin and not take things personally. Many times, coworkers or clients will come back with comments that can seem very harsh to a piece that you’ve put so much time and effort into creating. However, you have to understand that their job is to HELP you make great content. Many times these seemingly negative comments end up pushing the piece in a better direction. Instead of feeling criticized I’d take it as being able to see something from a different perspective and opening new possibilities.

What advice do you have for individuals specifically interested in your field of work?

Take every opportunity you have – even if it doesn’t seem relevant. The post production industry in Chicago is not that large, and a lot of people run in the same circles. Doing a freebie project for someone now could end up with them remembering you down the road when they have an open position. Or participating in a very small-scale production may not lead to any big-time nominations but it does boost your connections to other people for future projects.

What piece of advice do you have for Flashpoint candidates preparing to enter their respective industry?

Don’t stop applying yourself. Keep sending out resumes, making calls, and updating a website or anywhere you have current work. Even when I was employed full-​time I still spent nights and weekends applying myself, and there were a lot of rejection emails (that is, if they even responded to my email​!​) I think people get disheartened about being rejected and they give up, settling for a job they don’t even like. Persistence pays off, and if you work hard enough to get there​,​ you will.

How did your experience at Flashpoint help you join your industry?

It opened my eyes to the amount of post-production houses that I didn’t even know about. Career services also aided in building my reel and showing me how to get my website out there.

What would you look for if an opportunity to potentially hire Flashpoint graduates came along?

Students that have a passion for the industry. We often have crazy hours, intense projects, and make lots of sacrifices. But it’s all worth it when you’re truly dedicated and love your field of work. You can learn technical skills, but you can’t learn passion.

What was your favorite thing about Flashpoint?

Peter Hawley and Bill Baykan!!! These two men were huge influences on my direction in film. They helped me grow in my studies while also being sources of encouragement along the way. Both are incredibly smart and driven individuals, but they genuinely cared about each student and nurturing their passion for film.

Name one thing that made you choose Flashpoint over other colleges.

I really liked the hands-on approach they had in getting students to learn. It wasn’t just sitting in a classroom all day being lectured. We were physically using cameras, or going over to the CBS studios, or cutting on professional editing software.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do differently?

I’d start doing your research now on the place you want to end up. Look at who works there, how they got there, and what they did that you can mirror. I did this, but I think it would’ve been helpful if I had started a little earlier!

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