Principle Voices: Alyssa and her passion for film

I was a really big theater geek in high school, and have always been into still photography. At some point during my senior year, I realized that film was a great way to combine these two passions. The ability to tell someone’s story through film appealed to me and I really liked the artistic aspect of filmmaking. So I decided that I wanted to pursue filmmaking at Boston University, and eventually I realized that documentaries appeal to me the most.

I spent about a year and a half in Chicago and moved back to my hometown of Plymouth about two years ago. That same week my alumni high school director told me about a producer at a documentary production company right in downtown Plymouth who was looking for interns. I contacted Sean, sent him my resume, went in for an interview and within two weeks I was interning at Principle Pictures. Six months later the internship turned into a paid job.

My primary position at the office is Beth’s executive assistant. Shadowing a documentary filmmaker has been a fantastic learning process for me. I’m able to see exactly what her job involves on a day-to-day basis.

I ‘m really excited about taking on some more creative roles with the company. We’re trying hard to increase the number of still photos we take while on shoots, which can be difficult when you only have a two person crew. I’m eager to help out with this effort- not only with taking photos, but also editing them and using them for social media purposes. I’m learning Adobe InDesign and Photoshop, and I’m super excited to try my hand at designing some of our press and promotional materials. I’m also hoping to make the time to teach myself how to edit this summer.

My favorite experience I’ve had so far is the trip I took to California to shoot for THE LIST. Beth called me at 11pm to see if I could fly out the next morning. I cleared my schedule, got coverage for my other job, flew out seven hours later and suddenly found myself in the San Jose airport in California. This was my first on-location shoot. I was Sean’s production assistant and also helped with the logistics during our trip.

We spend five days with an amazing family from Kurdistan who treated us like family and cooked us an enormous meal when we first arrived. We all hung out and danced around. I had a really great time. And with the happy moments there were some really tough moments too. Anna, the Iraqi refugee we were filming, visited her mother’s grave for the first time- a very emotional experience.

The trip gave me a sense of what it’s like in the field and showed me that I may have a knack for field producing, where you get to be on location and help with organization and logistics; one of my strongest skills. It would be a great way to combine and use my skills well.

To go from multiple part-time jobs which aren’t very stimulating, to working for this production company that does a thousand things at once, all of which are really important, has been a whirlwind experience. And all in the best way possible, because I’m learning everything at once and I get to figure out where I fit in and where my passion lies. It has been awesome!

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