Raymond Calderon

Raymond is a second-year filmmaker in the BFA in Production program at the College of Motion Picture Arts.


What surprised you the most when you entered the BFA in Production program?

There's just so much that you learn in all your classes. One of the biggest things that surprised me was that there is so much happening behind the scenes of every movie that most people don't realize is going on. You not only get the opportunity to learn all about these behind the scenes jobs from talented & supportive teachers, you get to do this with your wonderful classmates. We all bring something different to the table due to our diverse interests, knowledge, backgrounds and experiences. Everyone's uniqueness truly inspires collaboration, enhancing our films and giving us the best education possible.


What advice do you have for prospective applicants of the program?

You've got to be yourself in all of your application materials. Don't think "I must appear to be this sort of person, because that's what the school is looking for." Just be truthful, and let your enthusiasm and passion for filmmaking shine. Don't misrepresent yourself. Answering the application questions honestly and sincerely goes a long way in showing the faculty what type of filmmaker you aspire to be. If you can, try to come and visit us at FSU so you can get a better sense of what we do and how we do it. Maybe talk with one of the students if you get the chance. Someone might even be shooting a project, and you could volunteer. Who knows?


How does a typical class schedule work for an FSU film student?

Well, if I had to boil it down and simplify it, one could say we have two "schedules." There's a "class schedule," comprised of film school lectures and labs that deal with different filmmaking topics--one day, you're focused on screenwriting, the next day you jump into cinematography, the following focuses on producing, etc. It's one big whirlwind of learning. The second schedule is the "production schedule" during which films are being made. This is the exciting, creative, collaborative, crazy, and stressful time when you go through the real world application of everything you've learned during class to create your own films and those of your classmates from the beginning (writing that first treatment) to the end (screening the film). Even though it's scary, it's very rewarding when you see the finished product and know that you were just one small piece that helped put it together.


Tell us what past experiences led to your passion for filmmaking.

It was around eighth grade that I realized that films could be a visual extension of writing, so I just started learning everything that I could about filmmaking. Since my school didn't have a video production class or program, I read articles and books; I watched online videos and behind the scenes extras on DVDs; I even took a summer class at a local university on filmmaking. Eventually, I started a film production club at my school for people to get together to learn about filmmaking, and shoot some short projects too.


When is the last time you had a full day off?

When did freshmen year end again? In all seriousness, you do actually get a lot of free time off during the start of each semester (weekends, the occasional Monday or Friday as well). Once the production cycle begins though, you work back-to-back on projects. It all goes by very fast and before you know it, it's the start of the next semester.