Grad Hired as Post Production Assistant at Create Advertising
Rachel Leone was born in New York and raised in Arizona, where she attended Campo Verde High School in Gilbert. Interested in photography from a young age, she studied at Northern University Arizona for two years prior to transferring to FIDM, where Rachel earned an A.A. in Digital Media in 2016, and received a B.A. in Digital Cinema in 2020. Amidst the pandemic, she was hired as a Post Production Assistant at the entertainment marketing agency Create Advertising in Los Angeles, where fellow FIDM Graduate Jonathan Gitlin serves as President. We recently chatted with Rachel to learn more about her FIDM journey.
What was your path to FIDM like? I was originally going to college at NAU for Studio Photography. I stayed there for two years before transferring to FIDM. I had the desire to do more with story and movement. I always loved film and music. I did some research and found FIDM’s Digital Media program was well versed in cinema, sound, post production, animation, and more. The structure of the course was calling to me.
How did you become interested in Digital Media/Digital Cinema? I started shooting 35mm when I was 8 or 9 years old. I really enjoyed dialing into my camera settings and developing film. Clicking the shutter was and is a dopamine send to my brain. I started shooting digital when I was 15 years old. I found the process of lighting, framing, and working to achieve the best composition I could really satisfying.
When I upgraded my camera a few years later I found myself using the video feature more frequently. To get a final product you're proud of, finishing techniques are applied. After learning Adobe Lightroom, After Effects, Premiere, and Photoshop, post production was seamlessly integrated into my work. I'm still exploring and learning new things in these programs. It feels really fulfilling to see my style continuing to evolve.
Tell us about your new position at Create and how it came about: Create was on my radar since I was in the Digital Media A.A. program at FIDM. Cassandra, my Compositing instructor, was working at Create at the time. She introduced the name and reputation to me. It was also brought to my attention that a few other FIDM Alums were at Create as well. I liked the idea that Create focuses on post production with a variety of departments that keep the work robust and interesting. There is a lot of attention to detail, progressive style, and fun injected into their projects.
I contacted my instructor and mentor, Paige Adamczyk, who has been a huge support in my schooling and career. She helped pass along my reel and information. The interview process was successful on my end and I am now a Post Production Assistant at Create and my dreams of moving up to be an Editor are starting to feel more like a reality. I am forever grateful to be a part of such a talented and humble team. I'm looking forward to becoming more familiar with the people here.
How did FIDM help prepare you for your career? I was pretty thickheaded during my first years at FIDM in terms of constructive criticism. I often wanted to do things my way, but once I stopped resisting I found my skill set growing and technique becoming more refined. I'm very grateful for all my instructors that kept believing in me on not just my good days but my bad ones as well. FIDM helped me understand the importance of maintaining focus and setting emotions aside, implementing skill set diversity, and keeping momentum in workflow.
Any favorite FIDM lessons or memories? You’re not going to like every project you take on and you have to remove personal attachment at times for the project to reach its highest potential. If the picture is good but the sound is bad you’re gonna walk out of the movie theater, but if the sound is good and the picture is bad or decent, you’ll be more inclined to stay. I found this lesson useful because it motivated me to invest more of myself into sound design and film score after I graduated. My edits smack way harder keeping this principle on the forefront of my mind. Also, snacks keep editors happy.
What are your ultimate career goals? I want to be a video editor that works on well-respected projects. My goal is to deliver excellence and an experience. Recently I've also been working on a lot of experimental visuals (animation and video edits) for the underground music scene here in Los Angeles. I taught myself Resolume to play my visuals live with my MIDI Controller. My goal is to be more proactive with making my live sets a recognizable part of my identity as a digital artist.
Anything else you'd like to share? Kindness and self-awareness goes a long way, use your resources, and never stop doing personal projects to stimulate your inner child.
Keep up with Rachel on Instagram @rachl.8i.