Film Connection student Steven Deleonardis works himself into paid gigs for his mentor’s studio

It took very little time for Film Connection student Steven Deleonardis to begin to feel part of the community at EQ Studios in San Diego, where he has been externing under Film Connection mentor Hector Ramos. “It’s really laid back, everyone there,” he says. “All the guys there are really helpful. They know a lot about lighting, and sound, and all that stuff, so I get a lot of knowledge from them.”

And that’s not all. As Steven has gotten the hang of things, the studio has begun passing him some paid gigs as well. “It’s a win-win,” he says. “I get to work with cameras and get paid for it.”

Steven says his interest in film came early, when he and some neighborhood kids began re-creating Star Wars scenes using his parents’ camcorder. However, he didn’t necessarily think he’d make a career of it, and even put it down for awhile to concentrate on sports during high school. However, the interest in film was rekindled shortly after he graduated, and when he started scoping out film schools, he decided on the Film Connection because it would get his foot in the door of a real production facility. “It really made a lot of sense to me,” says Steven. “It sparked that again for me that I could see that I could actually work at a production studio, and do something I really didn’t know how I would get into in the first place.”

Steven made the most of the opportunity to learn both the business and technical aspects of film production on-the-job—and as it turned out, his passion has paid off as the studio is now giving him paid gigs, including some travel to a variety of destinations to shoot. “I’ve gone to Hawaii,” he says, “I’ve gone to Miami, Oregon, and a couple other places…It’s been great. I get to travel to different parts of the United States. And it’s interesting—it’s like personal development. That’s stuff I’m interested in.”

Even as Steven now enjoys being paid for doing what he loves, he says he’s making plans for the future. He’s been working on some personal projects, including collaborating with a friend on several short films (one of which one a cash prize at a student film festival). He’s also got his eye on the future, and is very interested in new trends in film. “I’m really interested in the future of filming and where it’s going, how it’s going to progress,” he says. “I see myself working on traditional films with my own production company, and getting into virtual reality films as well, really just in that technology. I’m really passionate about where virtual reality is going.”

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