Film Connection student Ronald Reid Grows a Deeper Understanding of Filmmaking
Sometimes you’re tired. You’re exhausted. Then, you look around and you find yourself in a field with 100 other people at 2:30am. It’s precisely at that moment that you remember– you’re a filmmaker! This is literally what you’ve wanted to do your whole life and now you’re doing it. You smile to yourself and you keep on working.
Film Connection student Ronald Reid has had that experience. Since joining the Film Connection program, Reid finds he’s constantly on-set, on the move, and up till all hours of the night. Luckily, he has a large support group to help him burn the midnight oil. Ronald externs at Rite Media in Atlanta, Georgia where he’s learning the ins-and-outs of filmmaking under Steve Carmichael. Along with helping him gain real world experience and make industry connections, Steve has helped Ronald hone in on what it is, creatively, that really speaks to Ron about film as a medium. In our recent interview with Ron he said, “I think for the most part, I just want to have an outlet to take what’s internal to your own imagination and share that with others…Film is that instrument for me.”
Although he’s still focused on ultimately working as a director, the time he’s spent on set and engaging with members of the profession has deepened Ronald’s appreciation of the collaborative aspect of filmmaking. “It’s not just your vision alone; it’s shared between all the persons involved, and the audience as well…I maintain a strong desire to contribute as part of a team… it’s more than about oneself.” This statement is completely accurate and one we often don’t hear celebrated much in the media of today. Films, more so than any other artistic medium, are about teamwork. They’re about functioning within a larger organism.
While externing at Rite Media Group, Ronald has worked on numerous film projects. Most recently, he worked on the an epic music video for the song ‘Pride’ by the artist TOTEM (view video below). It was an exceedingly complicated and prolonged shoot which required quite a bit of orchestration and planning.
“It was very long, it was very cold, and it was outdoors,” Ronald said of the shoot. “It was like 50 people, just crew, and then on top of that, 50 extras. I don’t know. It was a massive amount of people. Everybody was just out there. They had their own departments, grip and gaff, and art department, extras and so forth, and everybody was just there, working in concert. They were all part of the creative process. It was a long shoot. We were out there for 22 hours.”
But in the end it was all worth it. Ronald said, “Just to see that entire piece come together when they had the release party and the actual viewing and showing of the video itself. You know, we were out there for 22 hours, just on the grind, getting it done, and to see what it became—it was almost like the power of the human spirit, I guess. We’re not existing alone, we’re of one mind type thing.”
Despite the long hours, the hard work, and the challenges ahead, Ronald finds the pursuit and learning experience deeply fulfilling. His mentor, Steve Carmichael very much the same way: These people don’t make movies because they like movies; they make movies because they have to. They’re driven to. They’re compelled to. It’s what separates them from other people in the industry.
Himself and veteran from the armed forces and a college graduate with a degree in business, we asked Ronald to tell us what he made of the mentor-mentee approach. Here’s what he said:
“With a mentor… you feel more that it’s a direct relationship between the two, like the mentor actually has a vested interest in you learning and growing versus somebody’s getting paid at the ending of the day…Steve’s kind of a family member in some aspects, like an uncle that I would know. ‘Oh yeah, I’ll teach you that,’ that type of thing. He’s passing on his years into you, he’s feeding it into you.”
This kind of direct, personal approach is what makes the Film Connection so perfect for people like Ron. Propelled by a need to make films, he’s deepening his appreciation for the craft while he’s working on real projects and connecting with the people who are actively making film in Atlanta. As an aspiring director, Ronald Reid has discovered he’s “very much interested in the shared vision of the director” and something about this “shared vision” is definitely percolating beneath the surface. He says, “Look at a child who has an imaginary world. He’s playing with his toys or something like that, and everything in his world is in vibrant colors, but they can only exist within that world. For me, [film] is kind of the same experience, though you can share that imaginative process with others. It’s not just your vision alone, it’s [a vision] shared between all the persons involved, and the audience as well.”
We can’t wait to see where this “shared vision” takes you Ronald Reid!