"I applied to 13 different film schools because I wanted to make sure that I had options, haha."
We asked SOCAPA campus director and USC alum Bianca Dansoh for her advice to high school filmmakers preparing for college.
I applied to 13 different film schools because I wanted to make sure that I had options, haha. One of those schools was USC which I only applied to because my brother in LA made me and I never once thought I would get in and then I did and my brother never lets me live it down. USC was the number one film school in the country at the time, and I believe still is, so it was an obvious choice. The debt was future Bianca's problem. (Thanks, past Bianca.) When I was picking schools though I looked at the facilities on campus to see what they had to offer. What kind of editing labs did they have? Were there any sound stages? What was made available to the students? I also wanted to know who would be teaching me and were they industry professionals. I wanted to know what kind of networking opportunities I would have for when I graduate. USC passed all of those with flying colors. Another thing that was important was how thesis films were made and how it was determined who directs them. In some schools everyone directs and in others you have to pitch and some schools you're given money and in others you use your own. At USC you had to pitch and I was lucky enough to be one of the ones who were selected and they gave you $11,000 to make your film so it was a pretty sweet deal.
My most exciting learning moment in filmmaking was finally getting the hang of lighting because its so important and I use it in both film and photography so it was great to finally feel confident in that.
My most challenging experience has been selling myself. I'm not one to talk myself up or boast so it's been a challenge to find that confidence and be able to sell myself without feeling awkward or uncomfortable.
Writing. I wish I had taken up writing earlier because whenever someone gives you advice about the industry they almost always say to have a good story ready in your back pocket because you'll never know who you will run into.
After spending some time working on set for live-action commercials and working as a freelance photographer and filmmaker, I fell into a career in animation. I currently work as a Production Assistant on an unannounced show for DreamWorks Animation Television. After minoring in 3D Modeling, I thought I was done with animation because the tedious staring at a computer for hours only to animate 10 seconds drove me crazy. However, when I was introduced to the production side of making animated tv shows, my eyes were opened and I fell in love. I am working towards becoming a Producer and currently plan on staying in the animation industry. Always keep your mind and options open because life doesn't always turn out how you think.