Film Connection grad Jason Malizia
Seizes Opportunity, Gets Going in Film & TV!
Why did you choose Film Connection? “I was approaching my end of my senior year in high school, and I looked into going into some film schools early on during senior year, and I actually got into one out West but it was just so expensive. And I wasn’t the best student, I would say, because I didn’t really try to get the best grades. I could have spent more time trying to, but I did make a lot of short films when I was in high school and I spent a lot of time doing that. So, I was able to get into this one school, and I just couldn’t really afford it with my parents and I didn’t want to start my career off being in debt…Film Connection seemed like it was less like a school and more like a kind of stepping stone that you could use to kind of propel yourself forward and meet more people and make more connections.” Take us back to that first meeting with your mentor Zef Cota. “I went in with my parents, I remember. They met him, too, and yeah, he’s a really good guy. Not just the first meeting, but over time just getting to know him, he’s a good guy…He seemed like someone who could really show me how to get started… I remember he gave me some of his work and I showed him some of my work. I did some motion tracking project, this short film that I sent him where I did this animation. I remember he was really impressed with that, he thought it was really cool. He kind of liked my eye for shooting things…We talked about just working together and stuff and what we could do.” You’ve become an expert at assessing the needs of the pros you meet and getting hired onto jobs. How did you do that? “When I started doing fulltime work was January 2017 when I did my first PA job, which was from a mutual connection with Zef…who was producing a short film. She had me come PA on it. So I was in Upstate New York for a week. It was really cool…It was some indie small short film, and I ended up convincing the director to let me edit it, because I just showed him all the shorts I did before that, and it was kind of a similar vibe to what he was doing. So I just proposed to him that he should let me edit it, and he agreed. So [then] I went to Zef and I said, ‘Can I start coming in, like, five days a week, and you can pay me in a very small amount of money so I can just help you finish your feature?’…and I basically just spent the next few months just five days a week with Zef and then two days on the weekend with this guy, Alex, the director of that short film. So I was simultaneously editing that and working on the feature…” You’ve stuck to your goals and as a result, you’ve been able to get working fulltime in the industry. How’d it happen? “Just as I was finishing up this feature and the short film…I got on this feature film that was in Upstate New York, called Spy Intervention. So I spent a month upstate in Glens Falls…I think it [had a budget] around $2.5-3 million. It had Blake Anderson from “Workaholics,” that Comedy Central show…It was a spy satirical comedy kind of thing. So that was really cool. That was the end of 2017. I then came back to New York City and started trying to move into just editing all the time because I was doing a lot of PA’ing and I was doing low budget editing but I was trying to get to my goal of this year, of 2018, was really to do almost no PA work by the end of the year…so that was the goal for 2018, and I’ve been moving towards that, basically… Then I got this call for this HGTV job, and that along with the cooking show job, doing all editing fulltime for three months straight, that was just definitely something that’s going to change the way my resume looks.” Well they must have been impressed by your work because they also hired you on for another show. “I’m not editing the show. I’m doing DIT, media managing, assistant editing basically. I was technically in the tech department on the call sheet. So it was just me getting all the footage at the end of every day, adjusting it, putting it in Avid and stringing it out, and then I would send MXF files to the editors so they could do it. Because all the post was [being done] in Australia.” What’s your ultimate career goal in film? What’s the career you’re working towards? “I want to edit narrative TV or film. That’s definitely the most exciting thing for me. I do make my own projects, too. I’m making a short film with my roommate next year who also does film work. He does production coordinating, stuff like that for some production team, so we’re going to be working together. I’m going to direct and he’s going to produce a short…I’m just moving up in that world, doing things. I was able to do a feature last year after Zef, some shorts, some commercials, [and] music videos.” Do you have any words of wisdom or advice for people on similar career paths? “This is kind of what I really think about how working in this industry is in general: if you want to get into the film industry and work, you actually want to just work in a department, you have to just start getting your hands on those things directly, because the things that you learn about it are really going to be accumulated through doing that. How I’ve learned the most is when I go into some sort of job or just a situation and I have to figure something out that I’ve never learned before…That’s how you progress.” What’s your advice for current Film Connection students on how they can make the most of their externships? “Work with your mentor. Try to see what he/she does and the way that he works and how he branches out to people, because I think it’s all about branching out. Film Connection is a stepping stone…It was a place where I was able to start branching out to different people. And it’s definitely hard. I think that’s an important thing to say…You’ve got to do a lot of things that you wouldn’t think of doing otherwise. Like [have] a lot of persistence…Because I remember I had to convince Zef to let me start working for him, I had to convince Alex to let me start working for him, because I had never worked for someone before doing this.” Check out Jason Malizia’s website.Film Connection graduate Jason Malizia (Brooklyn, NY) started shooting and editing skateboarding videos when he was 12 years old. Over the years that followed, through junior high and high school, Jason’s love of shooting, storytelling, and especially editing, flourished into a full-fledged passion. In a recent interview, Jason tells us how he’s been able to use that passion to seize opportunities as they arise, ask for what he wants, and build a fast-growing career in the industry before age 20!
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