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College of Arts & Sciences
Film and Media Studies Program


Ina Rae Hark Award 2016 banner image

2016-2017 Ina Rae Hark Award Recipient

Meet the Film and Media Studies 2016 - 2017 Ina Rae Hark Award Recipient: Angelica Davis

You’re a Film and Media Studies and Media Arts double-major. What led you to decide to double major?

I started with Film and Media Studies because I was interested in the film industry and the history behind great film, but I also wanted to create some films myself.  My advisor encouraged me to double major in Media Arts and Film and Media Studies, which has really helped me achieve a more complete understanding of film as a whole.

  

How has your critical studies coursework in the Film and Media Studies major prepared you to reach your goals?

Film and Media Studies has taught me about the history of film from its start to the present, and I am now able to look more closely and analyze them from a technological viewpoint. I know more about what to expect from the industry and the many positions within the field, which has helped tighten my focus. I am now leaning towards television and film writing, but I am constantly thinking about the cinematography I view on the screen. My media studies classes have taught me to appreciate films I never would have glanced at and to look further at ones that excel in their style and make contributions to the industry. I have especially become interested in global media—understanding how television gets remade and distributed internationally, for example.

 

Tell us the ways you’re gaining experience from your work and activities beyond the USC classroom?

To be honest, I may be slightly behind in this part of my experience. I entered into my major late and then came upon some unfortunate circumstances my junior year. For a while, this silenced my motivation and halted my creativity. But recently I decided to get back on track and immerse myself more in career goals and work harder on my profile. I decided I wanted to Study Abroad in England next semester to gain a closer view and deeper understanding of film and media from a global perspective. I also plan to volunteer at the Nickelodeon and maybe work more with film like at a video rental store (and yes, I know they are going out of business!). I constantly find that I view film and television differently now, even when I am trying to watch for pure entertainment value. I concentrate on the form of the text so much it starts to get annoying at times, but at least it keeps it interesting and the information fresh in my mind.

 

What are your plans for summer 2016 and beyond?

For Summer 2016 I am going to take summer classes to finish up with my core requirements that are unrelated to my major. But this is also when I plan to volunteer and work on my scripts that I started from junior year in class. I hope to get a job working closely with movies and after the summer I will be abroad working more on my career goals. While abroad, I plan to continue working on my scripts and filmmaking, and will start to network on that side of the globe. I also want to make sure television writing is what I truly want my focus to be in. I have been given a lot of advice on how your portfolio and networking are the most important parts for success within the industry and this is what I hope to work on.

 

What advice would you give to students considering a major in Film and Media Studies?

I have known many people who have questioned my decision to join this major because they believe that it is a very uncertain career choice. I urge anyone who really wants to work within the film industry to join this major and not let others talk you out of it. I also believe it’s not enough to just focus on studies, but to also work closely with Media Arts and find a way to get more experience making media…that way if you do get a job in the industry, you will know about the work required of you. The best advice I have is to network. So, form connections with people, don’t be shy, and don’t stop after a few rejections. It is important that you don’t let criticism get to you, but instead let it help to make you a better worker and artist.