My name is Gairo Cuevas. I graduated from San Francisco State University in 2007. I am currently a graduate student, working towards my MFA in film.
Where I’m at
I’m an Associate Producer for The CW, and am rapidly adapting to the wonderful world of television. Luckily, work keeps challenging me creatively! I’ve also been directing a lot of shorts and music videos. This year I am Emmy nominated for a promo I DP’d. It’s definitely a very exciting time in my career, and I hope it continues to flourish.
Where I want to be in the future
I want to be alive in the future. Also, I’d like to direct features and television shows.
Has this ambition changed since your college days? If so, how and why?
This is a great question. No. Should I elaborate? Okay. Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always wanted to make movies. The ambition has always been there, but I needed to make the proper steps to get towards the ultimate goal. I had to finish high school, go to community college, study film at San Francisco State, attain an internship, and then get a job in the media field.
I’ve yet to achieve the ultimate goal of directing features. However, I have directed television promos, short films, and music videos. I think I am making progress. With every project I complete, a sense of fulfillment keeps raising my ambition. Recently with this Emmy nomination, my ambition has shot through the roof. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever think I would be nominated for an Emmy. It’s safe to say that my ambition hasn’t necessarily changed, but it has grown immensely.
How I made my Baby Steps
My first ‘baby step’ into the media occurred in 2008 when The CW accepted me as an intern. The internship had me writing, shooting, and editing videos of events we attended every weekend. I didn’t get a lot of sleep during that phase because I wanted to prove myself to the company.
This was a scary time for me because everything I had shot before I started the internship was basically for my own personal projects. For the first time in my life, I was working on projects that represented a national television station. This was a bit daunting, but in the end, believing in myself (and working well with others) paid off.
The day my internship ended, my boss hired me on as a freelancer. He wanted me to be one of the camera operators for an online show called Style Bay Area that they had created. The show only lasted a summer, and then I started to take the interns out on shoots over several weekends.
A co-worker asked if I could help him on other shoots outside The CW. I agreed, and from there worked as a P.A. and camera operator for other clients (Zoosk and The Next Web). One day I would be working in Sonoma, and the next in New York. This went on for about two and a half years.
The work was fun; but it was not consistent. There would be long periods of time where I wasn’t working. I almost changed career paths many times because I wasn’t making ends meet. Luckily though, in April of this year, I was hired on as a full-time associate producer. Now I shoot, edit, write, produce, and am an assistant director on various projects.
What lessons did you learn from your Baby Steps?
To try everything you can at least once. It’s easy to pass up on opportunities when you’re scared. I’ve been in situations where I passed on something, and regretted it later. Also, don’t piss off a band manager because he will have a lawyer call you…that’s never good. It’s funny now though.
How do you keep your foot in the door?
There are some wonderful sites you can check out that have all kinds of media job postings. There’s indeed.com, media-match.com, mandy.com, craigslist.org, and bavc.org. Check out these sites, and see what they have to offer.
Also, don’t be set on wanting to do one thing, and only that one thing. Pick up a camera and shoot. Grab hold of some lights and light something. Capture some footage and edit. Get together with other filmmakers, and make movies. It’s really that simple.
The hard part is keeping that motivation going within you. Yes you will doubt yourself, but turn that doubt into something positive. Once you understand you will sometimes fail (as we all do from time to time), that’s when you truly start to succeed.
You can check out more of Gairo’s work at: www.loserstatus.com
My name is Marlon Torres, I am an independent filmmaker based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I graduated from San Francisco State University in 2007 with a degree in Cinema and a minor in Animation.
I am currently making a living as a freelance filmmaker, working as a Director, DP, Editor, and Visual Effects artist. I run a small production company from my home studio and work with clients like Yahoo!, AOL, Marvel, Dreamworks, as well as other talented artists and filmmakers around the country.
Like most filmmakers, I’d like to be directing major feature length films in the future. My ambitions since leaving college have changed. When I first graduated, I considered myself lucky if I got any work related to film or video but now that I’ve gotten my foot in the door, my ambitions have grown to directing and cinematography.
Helping your foot meet their door
Welcome everyone to Baby Steps, a new feature on the blog aimed at film students looking for help and advice about making the leap from college to the professional world. Baby Steps is all about taking those first… baby steps into a new world. It is about how those who have gone before you jammed their feet in the doors of the media and, more importantly, kept them there.
One of the hardest things to do as a film school professor is to answer the question that every graduating student asks: “how do I get my start?” The problem is that there are as many answers as there are students asking. We can give general advice but we know that those people who succeed tend to hack their own routes out of the jungle, machete in hand. With that in mind, Baby Steps will offer short interviews with recent film school graduates and established filmmakers who can still remember how they made their first moves.
My hope is that this feature will offer a wide range of examples, advice and support as well as introducing you to an inspiring and eclectic group of filmmakers who have at least one thing in common, they were all just like you once!