UCSB student discusses her journey as an aspiring filmmaker

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Q+A: Aryana Moreno 

By Saira Rodriguez

Aryana Moreno, who is set to graduate from the Film and Media Studies department at UC Santa Barbara this spring, did the camera work and editing on The Tipping Point, a short documentary that recently premiered at the 2018 Santa Barbara International Film Festival. It was among several documentary shorts from local Santa Barbara filmmakers featured at the film festival. The Tipping Point deals with the Trump administration’s suppression of science, including the deregulation of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and how local Santa Barbara scientists are fighting back. A large audience embraced the film at its screening, inspiring Moreno to gain even more hands-on experience in shooting and editing.

Moreno says she has always had a passion for working with cameras and her class productions at UCSB have provided professional opportunities that are easing the unnerving transition from school to the workforce that she faces this year. The experiences she gained in Film and Media, have helped her build a portfolio that will push her towards the professional film industry after graduation, she says.

In a recent interview, Moreno discussed how studying film at UCSB has both helped and challenged her on her journey as a filmmaker.

Most of the work you have done is in the realm of camera work. Do you believe the film department provided you with any resources that have helped you to become better in that area?

I do think this department has provided for its students. My film advisor always sends emails about opportunities and internships that are available. My professors have had real-life experiences in the area that I'm interested in so it's really great to hear from them, and they always have guest speakers that come and talk about the film industry and what it's really like and what to expect.

Do you feel the Film and Media department here at UCSB has helped you prepare for the real world after graduation?

Definitely, it has given me an idea of what it's like. When we are handling productions or equipment, they're really professional about it, so it's not like you're working with a bunch of kids playing with expensive equipment. They are great for teaching us about how everything should be handled and properly used, which is important in the real industry. 

What particular skills has the film department helped you develop? 

I've learned more about equipment. About lighting equipment and specific equipment that I would need if I wanted to be a first AC or second AC, assistant cameras. 

We have a soundstage, so we have all types of lighting as well as a green screen, so I've learned more about how to work with that. How to handle every piece of equipment, as well as how to light a specific scene and what kind of mood to set are all things that I have learned and developed here.  

Are the topics covered in your film courses helpful towards what you want to do after college? 

Yes, the production classes have definitely prepped me. The lectures are more about the history of cinema, and it's nice to learn more about filmmaking in the past, but I would like to try to brush up more on actually writing some of my own stuff.

I love being behind the camera and focusing on the technical aspect of it. And I do feel like it has opened me up to trying other things in the industry, besides just cameras. The people that I have met here at UC Santa Barbara have experience in production, casting, writing, sound. It's a broad spectrum of positions out there and I'm always learning from each and every one of them.

 Aryana Moreno prepping the clapperboard for her next film project,  Yours Truly.

Aryana Moreno prepping the clapperboard for her next film project, Yours Truly.

Saira Rodriguez is a Junior at UC Santa Barbara, majoring in Communication.