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The Creative Journey: Film Industry Professionals Teach Students How to Achieve Success

Every filmmaker wonders how they will break into the industry, and professionals are coming to ASU to show us how

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ASU professor and independent filmmaker Chris LaMont (left) and television producer Scott Steindorff (right) teach students how to achieve success in the film industry. 

The Sidney Poitier New American Film School is bringing The Creative Journey to ASU, an event dedicated to teaching aspiring filmmakers on Saturday how to succeed in the film industry, being presented by those who have done exactly that. 

For those unfamiliar with the trials of studying film, this opportunity could not be more invaluable. Any film student knows the struggle. "What are you going to do after college?" "How are you going to secure a job, let alone a stable salary?" "How do you plan to meet the right people and get your big break?" 

We don’t know! We are just as clueless about our futures as you are. Being a film major myself, I can confirm. 

Many film students have surrendered to the harrowing idea that success in creative fields is all luck and fairy dust. Oh, and nepotism. We can’t forget nepotism. Film students wonder daily how they will write the screenplay, direct the short film, or make the connection that will roll out the red carpets of Hollywood, where live the little gold men.

The Creative Journey is designed to address those concerns with industry knowledge.

Issa Sanchez, a junior in film and media production, wished to ask our panel members in advance, "What is one thing … someone can do to help them take the first leap in the business?"

Ellie Smith, a junior in film and media studies, echoed this concern, saying that her biggest concern is finding a stable job in the business. 

This is a most valid concern for students who hope to break into the film industry, but Chris LaMont, an industry veteran, assured us that there are ways to take the future into our own hands.

"Keep writing, and … keep getting better and better at your writing," he said about young screenwriters in an interview prior to the event. "Then those opportunities are going to open up for you."

Still, even for the best filmmakers, the sting of rejection never fades. "There’s no such thing as getting used to rejection," LaMont said. 

All you can do, he said, is learn from it. 

"If storytelling is in your heart and in your soul, then you need to continue to tell your stories," LaMont said. "Nobody else in the world can tell stories from your perspective. Keep believing in the stories that you tell because they're important."

LaMont will be joined by fellow panel member Scott Steindorff, a screenwriter and producer known for "Station Eleven," "Chef" and "Love in the Time of Cholera." 

This is a belief that is shared by Carlo Dall’Olmo, president of Phoenix Screenwriters Association Inc., which is partnering with ASU for this event. Dall'Olmo has hosted similar events in the past and is eager to incorporate ASU film students and faculty for this iteration.

After establishing the association in 2009 as a way to meet fellow creatives in the area, PSA soon became the leading screenwriting group in the Phoenix area. The mission and purpose of this association is to help screenwriters and filmmakers to hone their skills, regardless of experience or professional status.

The association provides an interactive space in which to give and receive feedback on one’s work, as well as a supportive community of individuals who are all passionate about the same thing: filmmaking.

"Everybody's welcome, all levels," assured Dall'Olmo. "We have people in their seventies, who are members of our group. We have people in their twenties who are members of our group."

Dall’Olmo said the event will give "people an opportunity to get up close and personal with somebody who was in the industry, who has been successful."

To learn from these professionals, students and other interested members of the community can register for the event here. Use the promo code "ASU22" to get in for free, and come to the Media and Immersive eXperience (MIX) Center on Oct. 15 at 10:00 a.m. to learn from industry professionals about how to succeed in this most competitive and exclusive industry.

Because let's be honest, we film majors, minors, and even just those interested in film, need all the help we can get. Again, can confirm. 

Edited by Claire van Doren, Wyatt Myskow and Grace Copperthite.

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