For Film Connection grad Rocky Shore, connections mean everything.

“It’s all about making those connections. You can’t be in your shell if you’re going to be in this industry.”

Film Connection graduate first got hold of this concept while on-set as an extra in Robert Redford’s film The Conspirator (Rocky says he got the opportunity because his mustache and beard fit the Civil War theme), and everyone on the set was talking about the importance of knowing people in film. So when Rocky decided to get serious about a filmmaking career, he decided on the Film Connection because of our name!

“I’m looking at film schools, thinking, Do I want to spend a lot of money for a film school? How do I get into the business? And I find this place called the Miami Film Connection…The connection word was there…and I said, ‘You know, I think maybe this is the one.’

It didn’t take long for Rocky to realize he’d made the right decision. The first important connection he made was with his mentor, Kevin Sharply of Kijik Multimedia in Miami, Florida. Not only did Kevin get him working on film shoots right away, but they also ended up working very well together, and Kevin soon noted Rocky’s eye for the camera.

“He’d say, ‘Hey, I want you to edit me a piece,’” says Rocky. “He gave me a big chunk of footage [to edit], and I think he was expecting about a three to five minute piece. Well, I’d frame him a 15-minute piece, and it floored him…He could tell that I knew how to edit these pictures and sound into a story.”

So integral was Rocky’s work to the project that Kevin shared credit with him on the film they were shooting, a documentary short called Ayikodans Rise. The film has already started making the film festival rounds, appearing in April at the Fort Myers Beach Film Festival, and again in June at the Miami Filmmaker Shorts festival!

Now graduated, Rocky is working on his long-term vision of being a writer-director, and still works with Kevin when the project calls for it. He continues to work on his connections, knowing they are a key to his success. The encouragement he received from his mentor about his visual storytelling ability continues to inspire him.

“I’m a very visual person, and I want to tell stories,” he says. “You put stories together with a visionary outlook, and that equals films.”

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