Real-Life Lessons from the Reel Experts
COM grad learns from the pros on new talk show
The BU in LA program is designed to give aspiring actors, screenwriters, and directors film industry experience and to help them jump-start their careers by spending a semester working as interns in Hollywood’s biggest studios and casting agencies.
Last semester, one student got a look at what happens when college ends in Life After Film School, a new series created by the Fox Movie Channel that allows recent film school graduates to interview successful actors and directors about their work. Octavio Hinojosa (COM’07) was selected as one of the program’s interviewers after meeting the executive producer in one of his BU in LA classes, and his first segment — an interview with Len Wiseman, director of the Underworld movies and the upcoming Live Free Or Die Hard — aired Sunday, June 17, at 7:30 p.m. “It’s been really fun,” he says. “Getting to shoot on the Sony lot, on the stages where Cecil B. DeMille and Irving Thalberg made some of my favorite films, I couldn’t help but think, ‘Wow, you’re in Hollywood, dude. Who knows, your dreams might come true!’”
In each episode, three young filmmakers conduct the interviews, and Hinojosa, who received a master of fine arts from the College of Communication in January, already sat in on interviews with Michael Chiklis (CFA’86), star of The Shield, Don Payne, a writer of films such as Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer and My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and the television show The Simpsons, and Stan Lee, creator of Marvel Comics superheroes like Spider-Man and the Hulk. The biggest surprise, Hinojosa says, is that nobody has been “a diva,” and that the show’s subjects have been eager to share their stories about getting started in the film business. He’s also been encouraged by the diverse array of experiences they’ve had, demonstrating that there’s not just one path to success.
“Success comes to people in different ways,” Hinojosa says. “It’s mainly being on top of your game at all times and hoping that you’ll have something to offer, like a great idea or a great screenplay, when the stars line up for you.”
Hinojosa’s big break is also providing a boost for the BU in LA program, which now has more than 500 businesses providing film industry internships for its students. “Octavio is getting a wonderful experience and great exposure, and meeting significant people in the film business,” says Bill Linsman, the director of the program. “It’s win-win for all concerned.”
As far as his own life after film school, Hinojosa is getting steady work as a commercial actor, filming spots for Coca-Cola Europe and the Salvation Army, but is still looking for more opportunities as a director. His work on the Life After Film School series, however, is helping him stay optimistic. “No matter what I’m doing, I always look at my peers and feel I haven’t done enough,” he says. “But it’s funny because Don Payne was telling us about his experience after film school, and how he felt everybody was doing better than him. He pointed out that we all have different journeys, and that we have to trust the journey. I think this is a great time to be a Mexican filmmaker in Hollywood, so hopefully my journey will lead me to continue the tradition of great Mexican cinema that my compatriots have started.”
Jessica Ullian can be reached at email@example.com.