Department of Theatre and Film
Interview with John Jurko: BG Graduate
By Krystal Bolden
Many Film students and students in general have no idea what they want to do after graduation and that lack of planning can result in jobs that have nothing to do with their major or their interests or taking a path in a direction that they have no idea where they are headed. Film students are often find themselves in great limbo once graduation approaches. So to give us some insight on life after graduation, we have interviewed recent Film Production graduate, John Juko II, from the Theatre & Film department’s undergraduate program at Bowling Green State University.
When did you graduate and what was your major?
I graduated summer of ’07.
I double majored in Film Production and Philosophy.
Have you had any production gigs after graduation?
I’ve had one gig since I graduated in August. I worked as a PA with the camera crew on the production of for the feature film, Dead Matter, shot on super 16mm in Mansfield, OH. It’s a vampire/zombie film with a couple of professional actors (Tom Savini and Andrew Divoff). It was my first time working with a full-fledged professional crew with all of the gadgets and equipment. I was lucky enough to be a PA and get to work so closely with the camera department. I made some great friends and learned more about making a film in three weeks than I did in a normal school semester. Nothing takes the place of real experience.
What’s the hardest part about life after graduation as a film production student?
There are a couple of things. One is realizing that if you decide you want to have a career in something other than film, your degree doesn’t stand for much. Everyone wants you to have experience in their line of work before they will hire you. But you can’t get experience unless you have that job. The good ol’ Catch 22. The other is that if you want to make it in film production you either have to make the sacrifices and do it yourself, making your own films, or you have to work extremely long hours for shoddy pay and slowly work yourself up a very long and difficult ladder. If you want it bad enough, you must persevere. It will take a lot of hard work and will power to overcome the fear of failure that most people create for themselves. If it’s what you love, find a way.
What type of advice would you give other students in film production that are on the brink of graduation?
Plan ahead. Know what you are going to be doing the day after you graduate, the week after that, and the months that follow. It will really pay off if you have saved your money for a big move, have a job lined up, or working toward the completion of a major project. Do not wait until you graduate to decide what you are going to do next. This will most likely lead to a lot of non-action and if you’re like me and live in a small town with little resources you may end up down and more confused about life than you were to begin with. You need actionable steps that you can take when you get out of school. So work it out now. At least line up some kind of job you can live with while you work it out. Do these things and the transition will be much smoother. Plans can always changed, but to leave school without one is a mistake.
Is there anything you realize that you would have done differently before graduation?
I would have done more PLANNING. It was hard for me because I have so many different interests that lie in completely different directions. It was difficult to make decisions that would leave some paths left behind. I have done tons of brainstorming on how to combine all of my interests into a career path that would excite me and motivate me to do my best.
What types of production gigs are you looking for?
I am most interested in documentaries, travel gigs, and feature films. The big reasons that documentaries interest me are that they give me an opportunity to research and learn about something new, as well as give me the chance to create fresh and exciting educational media. My last two years of college I realized that I love to learn, mixing that with travel and film would be my ultimate job.
What is your current occupation?
I’m just finishing up a month and a half construction gig, framing houses, to make some extra cash. I needed the money after A: not having a job lined up after school, B: purchasing eight grand of video production equipment and C: because there are no film/TV relate jobs in my area. My current plan is to finish a documentary about my small town of Yankee Lake over the next six months to a year. I’m working on putting together a website to promote the doc and the preservation of local history. The address is www.yankeelakehistory.com and it should be complete within the next month. I also have a couple of other video production business ideas that I am currently putting together.
How beneficial was your experience at BG in preparing you for where you are now and where you want to go in the future in production?
I learned a lot about production. The Film Production Workshop in the TCOM department was probably the most beneficial class I have ever taken. I learned more in that class than many of my other production classes combined. BGSU is a good school and has a good curriculum in the film department but it’s all about what you make it. If you are interested in film production, go out and find classmates and other people that want to do the same and make a movie. Being in an academic environment always facilitates that type of learning and networking. I have met a lot of cool and interesting people at BGSU that I look forward to working with in the future.
Jose is the man!