ESDD Student Julia Vela Attends Careers in Film Summit Hosted by the Academy
Julia Vela, a student in the Entertainment Set Design & Decoration (ESDD) program, was recently invited to attend the 5th Annual Careers in Film Summit, hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences (AMPAS) at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California. In a series of panels, Academy members and filmmakers discussed their professions, shared advice, and addressed the skills that a career in film requires. The topics included production design, costume design, songwriting and composing, sound, editing, visual effects, and animation.
Students had the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists and network with them. Batina Fisher, Director of Educational Initiatives at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said, “I dare you to dream big. This event is for networking.”
We caught up with Julia Vela, a former FIDM Fashion Club President, to find out more about her experience at the industry event.
Tell us something you learned at the Careers in Film Summit: Attending the Careers in Film Summit, I felt inspired and ready to join the workforce. It amazed me how many different positions there are in making a movie. Being in the same room with well known directors, producers, writers, actors, and cinematographers was truly astonishing. It was so interesting to hear where they came from, how they started their careers, and when they made their break in the industry.
Hannah Beachler's story especially hit home with me because I could relate to her in a way. She was the production designer on Marvel’s Black Panther, and spoke about how much she struggled in the beginning of her career—coming from low income, sleeping in her car at one point, and being a woman of color in the entertainment industry. Being a women joining the industry which is male dominated must be difficult. Overall, what I gathered from everyone is that you must push yourself, take risks, be nice to everyone, and importantly network—and don't let anyone pull you down!
Tell us a little about yourself: I graduated from FIDM in June of 2019 majoring in Visual Communications. After graduating, I am continuing my education in ESDD program for film/TV. I have always loved film. I love how it can take you from reality and place you into a world shadowing characters. When I started thinking about a career, I thought, ‘I love movies and TV; I love interior design; I love being in theater; and I love creating things with my hands.’ I came to the conclusion that I wanted to be a set designer or production designer, as it combines all of my passions.
Why did you choose FIDM? I was in FIDM Fashion Club at my high school. A college rep visited our campus and spoke to our fashion classes about FIDM. She mentioned the ESDD program and I was immediately hooked. I knew working on films was a career option I wanted to pursue, so I was interested in looking into FIDM. I applied my junior year of high school for Visual Communications, and I got accepted. I became Co-President of FIDM Fashion Club in my senior year, and because of that I received the FIDM Presidential Scholarship. That finalized everything for me.
What are your career goals and how is FIDM helping you get there? My ultimate goal is to work on films and television. I have always loved the production side, and I truly believe being in this program will help me expand my knowledge and learn new aspects of the industry. I do not imagine myself doing anything other than being in film and TV production. My goal has always been to be a set designer, although that could change as I gain exposure to the industry. I see myself working in production for film doing set/production designing or set decorating for film/TV—for projects that have an important message to tell the world.