mentor Nelson Ramirez is the co-owner with Rick Barcode (also a mentor) of 1905 Film Studios
, the first full-service film studio in Las Vegas, Nevada. Nelson checked in with us recently to talk about his experiences getting into film and the differences he sees between the mentor-apprentice approach and traditional film school. He even took some time to brag on one of his apprentices, Jessica Ryder!
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RRFC: What initially got you into the film business?
I originally was working in construction. I got out of construction [and] went back to school—you know, your traditional school—for video and film, and photography as well. It had always been a passion of mine—I just never realized I could actually work doing what I like versus something else. That’s kind of what pushed me into the business.
RRFC: So you’ve done the traditional schooling, and you’ve also been a mentor with the Film Connection program. What are some of the differences that you see between this program and traditional film schools?
Well, the biggest difference that I have noticed is the fact that you get to work with real-life productions. You get to actually go out there and work with everyday industry people, doing everyday industry things versus traditional school. You can read about it in books, which is all fine and dandy, but you don’t get as much hands-on experience as you do with the Film Connection program.
RRFC: When you were going to school did you have any mentors that looked after you?
No, not at all.
Pretty much, you’re sailing your own waters [at film school]. You pick your classes, you decide what it is you want to take, you decide your workload. There is nobody actually guiding you or helping you along the way. You just kind of have to figure it out for yourself.
RRFC: How do you like working in the Vegas area as far as film goes?
I really, really like it. I come from a construction background, and going into this, I’ve noticed that the people in general are more, I guess you can say, welcoming than the construction industry. I’ve been able to learn from numerous really talented people, which is a plus. I find that there’s a lot of people that are willing to share their knowledge, which is really awesome.
RRFC: Where does film apprentice Jessica Ryder fit into this? How is she doing?
She’s been doing really well. She’s excelled at everything that we’ve thrown at her. She’s been learning mostly editing [which is her focus], but she’s also been exposed to the camera-side of the business as far as setting up cameras, lights, grip equipment, even as well as learning about exposures, lighting, that type of stuff, which we believe is actually going to help her when she goes back and she starts doing the post-production on whatever project we work on.
RRFC: You guys had her actually on set with a Snoop Dogg video her first day, correct?
Her first day, yes. It definitely was not typical. It was one of those [situations] where it just worked out the very first day she was here. It so happened that we had that one client shooting a video at the studio. One thing led to another, they were like, “We need one girl. Are you willing to jump on here and be in the video?” How do you say no to that?
RRFC: So it’s safe to say she fit in pretty well right off the bat?
Yes, definitely. She always comes in here with a big smile, was always happy…We love to have her around.
RRFC: What kinds of projects do you guys have coming up?
We’re working on some promotional videos for some clients who are doctors, we’re also working on a self-help video, and we’re also going into post-production for a feature film that we produced. And potentially Jessica could get her hands on some of that footage as well.
RRFC: When you have these apprentices that come to you now, what do you feel is the most valuable aspect of being a mentor to an up-and-comer?
Well, the fact that both Rick and I, not only are we learning every day, we actually like to share the wealth. We like to teach, and share our experiences, and the stuff that we’ve learned. Just the fact that we are able to bring in people who are willing to learn, made it that much better for us.
RRFC: Do you see yourself down the road working with some of these apprentices again?
Yes, in fact, we’ve become pretty close. We actually have three apprentices right now, and we feel that once they get to a certain point, they would be capable of working on just about any production that we have. They could really help us out.