Dear Freshmen: Advice for a new CTV major

Cinema-Television (CTV) senior Cassia Sherrill shares her best memories of being a CTV student and offers advice to current freshmen in the program. 

Now that we are well on our way into the new school year, we have all had time to adjust to our new schedules and classes. For some, however, things may still seem a bit crazy, especially for freshmen taking the first steps in their chosen major. But never fear—the seniors are still here! And many of them are willing to offer encouragement and guidance to younger students with the same major.

I had the privilege of interviewing Cassia Sherrill, who is known by many on campus not just for her work in the Cinema-Television program but also for her roles as an RA, Orientation Leader, and Orientation Captain. Lively and outgoing, Cassia is a constant source of friendship to those around her. Now she shares helpful advice to new students beginning the journey that Cassia herself has almost ended.

AC: Looking back on all that you’ve been through up to this point, what would you say is your favorite memory of being a CTV student?

CS: Favorite memory? [pauses to think] I don’t think I can pick just one thing. The community you build within a set and with your team is always the most rewarding part. You come out with all these inside jokes and funny moments. You go through happy and really great times but also really stressful moments too. It’s a growing process for a group of people, but it really bonds you, and that’s the most rewarding thing.

AC: Is there any one particular memory that stands out?

CS: Not a specific memory, but I can give you my favorite sets I worked on.

AC: Sure!

CS: The first is Out of Tune; it’s a musical I produced. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a set. Every single scene was so much fun. It was just like a big party, the whole thing. The most innovative and rewarding film I worked on was Tailor-Made, which I was line producer for. For that film we worked with industry professionals and shot with 35mm film, which was such an experience because of the precision we had to use while shooting. It was challenging but so rewarding and definitely a favorite of mine.

AC: Now that you’re nearing the end of your time as an undergrad, what would be your advice to current freshmen as they move through the CTV program?

CS: Something I’ve told a lot of freshmen is to hop on every set you can. You’ll have to start small, but that’s okay. You get on one set, and if you’re good, people will keep asking you to help in the future. Brand yourself early. After people started to know who I was, I asked to produce.

AC: Producing is what you want to do, right?

CS: Yeah, but I didn’t start with it. People will place you in certain positions, and you won’t always get the position you want, especially starting out. I first started working on sound. And that’s okay—you have to start somewhere. But it’s up to you to go after the position you want and important to do so early on. That’s what I’d tell freshmen: as you progress, hop on as many sets as you can, then brand yourself once people start to know you.

AC: There’s a lot of community involved with being a CTV student. Can you speak to the importance of that community and making connections?

CS: It’s all about who you know—here at Regent as well as in the industry—and how hard you work. There are some people you will always want to work with, people you pull on every set, because they’ve shown how competent they are. That’s why it’s so important to make good impressions, and be the best you can be. It’s okay that you don’t know everything yet. That’s the point; we’re all in this, all learning the film industry. If you have a specific area you want to work in, it’s so easy to ask someone to mentor you. And it’s okay if you don’t know things, just ask someone for help. This is something you can’t do by yourself. It takes a team. So be humble enough to ask for help and willing enough to help other people. It’ll get your name out there.

AC: There are many different roles to play as a CTV student and on a film set. Can you talk about the importance of learning the different aspects of CTV, as opposed to just one?

CS: Don’t limit yourself to only working one type of position. At least try a couple different ones, because you may find that you love something other than what you set out for. Experiencing the different aspects of film also helps you know what your team members are going through, especially if you end up in a position like director.

AC: What is the best thing you’ve learned during your time as a CTV student so far?

CS: Well, for myself as a producer, the best thing I’ve learned is that a producer is someone who shines a light on their team. It’s not always about me and my project being done, it’s about the person I’m helping and the story we’re telling. That’s such an important quality to have, and not just as a producer but in any position. Don’t just look at a project for what you can get out of it. Focus on your team and your director. Show them how much you want to help them make their movie. It’s also so wonderful as a producer to give opportunities to people to grow in their craft and skills, to help them become better by shining a light on them—it’s so rewarding. And that idea—that a producer shines a light—I’ve tried to embody that, to bring it to life. In this way I can be helpful to seniors and freshmen alike.

Andrew Corder is a department head for the Daily Runner.