Spring 2015 Freshmen & Transfer Retreat

From left to right: Chair Joe Pichirallo, Jonathan Fang, Brian Magarian, Jean-Claude Billmaier, Demi Chen, John Logan Pierson, Eamon Downey, and Erica Hart.

From left to right: Chair Joe Pichirallo, Jonathan Fang, Brian Magarian, Jean-Claude Billmaier, Demi Chen, John Logan Pierson, Eamon Downey, and Erica Hart.

In late March, UGFTV Department Chair Joe Pichirallo hosted the Freshman and Transfer student retreat at the Cantor Film Center. Students were treated to a student panel and an alumni panel.

Participating in the student panel were McKinley Hart, Peter Kelly, Renee Mao, Reut Elimelech, Robert Pigott and Daisy Zhou. The alumni panel was composed of Eamon Downey, Jean Claude Billmaier, Jonathan Fang, Demi Chen, Brian Magarian, Erica Hart, and John Logan Pierson.

Student panelists discussed their “aha” moments – moments when they discovered what they wanted to do for their careers. Robert Pigott discussed his experience in Sight and Sound: Documentary. While in the class, Pigott edited several projects and discovered that finding the right rhythm for each film while editing was what he really enjoyed.

A common theme throughout the alumni panel was the importance of self-starting and focusing on something you’re good at.

John Logan Pierson, a production executive for The Weinstein Company, talked about how he and his friends started their own production company and worked on commercial and music videos. The team ran the company out of their dorm room and “fak[ed] it until [they] made it.” When clients would ask them if they could come to meet Pierson and the team at their production facilities, they would always insist they meet at the client’s office instead.  

Brian Magarian began his NYU career as an editor before going into visual effects during his sophomore year.  He stressed the importance of having a Linkedin account and a personal website.

Both panels stressed the importance of networking.  John Logan Pierson said that the film industry is a business of who you know and he stressed, “It’s up to you to make those connections.” If nervous about networking, Eamon Downey has a nugget for you: “It’s just like dating, have a wingman.”

Freshman Jordan Rowe said that the retreat was eye-opening as he had a chance to  “talk to people who have had great experiences and realized they all started where I am.”