San Jacinto College video and film production student Ramon Cordova, right, works on a scene that includes theatre students Zac Kole and Jessica Harper. Cordova says his artistic skills are improving rapidly because of such hands-on training. Photo credit: Rob Vanya, San Jacinto College marketing department.
Video, film student has a Hollywood dream
Rob Vanya, December 20, 2012
PASADENA, Texas – Ramon Cordova admits he is a dreamer. He has big dreams, too. “My ultimate goal is to make it in Hollywood,” he commented, with a quick and engaging smile. “Why not Hollywood? I am a dreamer. I know it. But, others have made it big in Hollywood, so why not me?”
Cordova is making a good start on his chosen career path as an exemplary video and film production student at San Jacinto College Central.
Veteran filmmaker Billy MacTavish, who teaches video and film production classes at San Jacinto College, likes Cordova’s work ethic and willingness to explore and be creative. “Ramon is reliable, dedicated and has an upbeat go-with-the-flow attitude and willingness to take on whatever task or assignment that might be presented to him,” MacTavish remarked. “He is open-minded and accepts feedback and instruction with a desire to learn and improve. He listens to constructive feedback and makes changes when needed. Such humility positively sets Ramon apart from many others.”
From an early age, Cordova seemed destined to pursue a career in photography and video work. “Growing up, I was always the guy with a camera or a camcorder, and friends and relatives always looked to me to be the camera guy during special occasions,” he said. “I love everything about video work and photography -- capturing special moments, making the magic happen. I especially like it when you get to show somebody the finished project and you see the smiles and hear them talk about how amazing it is. That positive feedback makes all the work you put into it worthwhile.”
Learning how to improve the skills required to produce high caliber video projects is the main reason Cordova chose San Jacinto College. “I believe the training in video work I am getting at San Jac is as good as the training offered at most universities,” he remarked. “In fact, it’s probably better because video students at some universities hardly even touch the camera equipment until their third or fourth year. At San Jac we start working with cameras right away – producing short documentaries and films. The best way to learn is by doing.”
The College’s video and film production program is one of the most comprehensive programs in the state, according to Dr. Jerry Ivins, Central Campus fine arts department chair. “We are one of the few institutions that combines virtually all aspects of live theatre work with all the technical areas of video and film production,” Ivins commented.
Cordova says his skills are rapidly improving because of such well-rounded training. “I like to be behind the camera, so I lean toward the technical side of film and video production,” he said. “But in this program we get experience in every area, such as writing screenplays, acting, learning about lighting and audio, and all aspects of post-production work. It’s amazing how much practical training this program packs into just one semester. I know all of the training will help me to grow and make me a more complete and versatile video artist.”
Cordova’s “idol” and favorite director is the legendary Steven Spielberg. “I especially like Spielberg because some of his best films are historical, and I am also a big history buff,” he commented. “My dream is to some day either direct, or be involved in a really good film. I know to get there will involve a lot of work, but I feel like I am on the right track.”
He says these are revolutionary times for anyone interested in film and video work. “We are making history right now and pioneering new areas with all the rapid technical advances in photography and video equipment, and all the social media outlets like You Tube, Vimeo, and Facebook,” he said. “Now, virtually anyone can put together videos and other cool presentations with the easy-to-use camcorders and cameras, and even with the new smartphones. But there’s good and bad to this revolution. Just because anybody can put together You Tube projects, does not necessarily mean the finished product is good. That’s why education and training is so important. It’s the only way to improve and produce really professional work.”
Cordova graduated from Pasadena Memorial High School, and plans to earn an associate degree in film and video production from San Jacinto College in 2014. He then will transfer either to the University of Houston, or the University of Texas to earn a BA in film and video production.
San Jacinto College launched the video and film associate degree program in autumn 2011 to meet growing video and film industry needs in Texas. The program prepares students for a number of career possibilities, such as video production, script writing, acting, directing, cinematography, digital editing, gaffer work, sound production, special effects production, makeup design, set construction, and casting agent work.
According to the Texas Industry Profiles website, workers in career fields such as film and video script writers, producers and directors, film and video editors, and film and video camera operators can expect to earn annual salaries ranging from $32,999 (entry level) to $68,345 (experienced worker).
San Jacinto College offers a wide range of courses and degree plans in theatre at the Central and South campuses. The Central Campus houses the associate degree program in video and film production. For more information, please visit arts.sanjac.edu.
Here’s a link to scenes of Cordova in action on campus at San Jacinto College:
Here’s a link to a fake movie trailer Cordova produced as a high school student:
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has been serving the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, for more than 50 years. The Achieving the Dream Leader College is committed to the goals and aspirations of a diverse population of 30,000 students in more than 200 degree and certificate options, including university transfer and career preparation. Students also benefit from the College’s job training programs, renowned for meeting the needs of growing industries in the region. San Jacinto College graduates contribute nearly $630 million each year to the Texas workforce. San Jacinto College. Your Goals. Your College.
For more information about San Jacinto College, please call 281-998-6150, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.