We sat down with Angelina Ramsey, our Production Manager and Film Grad to discuss her pursuits in the industry.
What inspired you want to get involved in the entertainment industry?
I was raised on films. I was raised by my beautiful single-mother who was a full-time student at UCLA when I was born. With days full of homework, our precious VHS player did most of the babysitting. Follow That Bird was my first VHS tape, and it laid the pavement for what would lead me towards my aspirations of becoming a movie-maker. I enrolled into a Film, Television and Theater Magnet (Pacoima Middle School) in 6th grade and have been taking film classes, courses, workshops, bootcamps – you name it, every since. I went to CSUN, USC and worked everywhere from Hollywood Video to Sony Pictures. My last stop was The Los Angeles Film School, having graduated back in 2007.
What did you learn from school that you now apply in your professional life?
Life at LAFS was unforgettable. My most influential role-models and mentors were found at this school. Faculty members like Linda Cowgill and Morgan Sandler really made an impact on me. The great Joe Byron continues to be an inspiration to me to this day, along with a handful of my co-workers and fellow grads, who I’m lucky enough to still be in touch with. The school taught me to focus, pick up a technical skill (editing!) and to network, network, network. I feel like if it weren’t for my experience here at LAFS, I would have considered an alternative career. It’s easy to lose drive in this field, and my relationships and opportunities with LAFS have been rewarding, fulfilling and have kept me going both on campus and on set.
What do you love about filmmaking?
Everything. Every. Thing! The start-up excitement of a good story, the birth of a vision even all the way up to the stressful management and the headaches that come with the package. You really have to be all in to make it. I think a lot of people who don’t make it don’t have the will to keep pushing, and don’t have the patience to put up with the heartache and bull*** (or you can say drama I guess) of making a film. At the end of it all, that light at the end of a making a film is the satisfaction of leaving something behind. It’s moving an audience, sharing a part of yourself – that, to me is my legacy. My family, my friends and even my future children should remember me as a film lover and filmmaker.
What are some of your goals in the industry?
Direct. That’s what I was born to do. I’ve done every roll, I’ve paid my dues. I’ve done the coffee runs, the script supervising, I’ve cut, produced, shot, etc. and now that I’m seasoned, I’m ready to bring my own stories to set. I feel like I’m finally ready to start taking some risks and approaching this industry as a career and not just as a side-gig. We need more women on set, but I’m not going to be good because I’m female, I’m going to be good because I continue to learn from every project. I believe a successful director needs a balance of fear and drive when making of film. I try to stay grounded, remain a student and continue to learn from the cast, crew and story-tellers I’m lucky enough to know and work with.
What are you working on now?
Back when I was a student at LAFS I experienced one of the most traumatic learning lessons of my film making career. My thesis film, which was shot over 4 days on Super 16mm film, took a turn for the worse when I realized that I had purchased discounted film (from a friend of a friend…) which ended up being so old and damaged that, once developed in post, it produced no images. No footage was salvaged from the shoot. It was a crushing blow to the cast, crew and most of all to me because that project was my baby. I wrote it, directed and spent a hefty chunk of my school tuition loan on funding the film. It was awful, but looking back, proved to be an invaluable learning experience.
What are some words of advice that you would give to new students entering the program?
It’s been said to death but I’d say to students and all aspiring artists, “Don’t ever give up”. It’s the most shared piece of advice because it’s probably the most important. If there is something you love to do, do it until the wheels fall off. I think the endurance one develops from continuing to push themselves is what produces the most growth for an artist. It’s never too late, don’t let people talk you out of your dream and no matter what… just keep swimming!