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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    UA film senior uses thesis to inform career path

    Nick Going, a senior studying film and video production, says he would rather fence or play video games than sing his own praises. And unlike many of his classmates, film was far from a natural decision when the Tucson native started college.

    Going said he experimented with film in high school and even participated in a film club. But filmmaking didn’t stand out as a potential career path until a seemingly routine viewing of “The Shawshank Redemption” with his father turned into a much more resonating experience. While watching an emotional scene in the film, Going and his father were able to openly discuss a suicide in their family for the first time.

    Going said that when he saw his dad crying, he realized movies affect people in a way that reaches far beyond the story or the plot. That was when he decided he wanted to make movies that people can relate to.

    When Going applied to the film program his sophomore year, he immediately began to seek a niche that would help him accomplish this goal. Luckily, that didn’t seem to take much time.

    “First it was like, maybe writing, which I enjoy,” Going said. “That’s what I worked on for a while, until we did our film sound class.”

    Lisanne Skyler, an assistant professor in the School of Theatre, Film and Television, has taught Going for the past three years. She said she noticed his knack for working with sound early on, so she invited him to work as a boom operator on one of her short films.

    “He has such enthusiasm for the process, and grabbed on to the technical things really quickly,” Skyler said.

    Going was motivated from the beginning to impress his teacher, despite the intimidation that came from working on a “real” film so early on in the program.

    “It felt like a ‘pressure’s on’ situation,” Going said. “That’s what made me think about sound, and then taking the class, I just kind of snowballed into it.”

    Working on Skyler’s film also acted as an early lesson on the importance of collaboration, which the film program emphasizes as the students progress through each semester together.

    In fact, film seniors have been preparing for months to screen their thesis films at the “I Dream in Widescreen” event in May, and it’s not uncommon for each of them to have contributed to several of their peers’ films in some way.

    “It’s just kind of a family, and that’s really fun,” Going said.

    Friendship becomes a motivator when the students are required to put in long hours. Working on their thesis films in post-production sometimes results in 22-hour days, Going said, where the students take naps with sound blankets as pillows and share the sleeping bag left behind in the film lab by one of their classmates. And while everyone wants their film to stand out, the goal doesn’t come at the expense of others.

    “It’s not a competition, really,” he said. “We all want to succeed and we’re all helping each other. You want to be there for them, and they want to be there for you.”

    In addition to directing his own project, a performance-driven comedy titled “Half Amazed,” written by film junior Alex Italics, Going acted as sound designer and mixer on several of his classmates’ films. He often spent as many as 12 hours on a two-minute scene.

    His attention to detail in both style and sound continued to help him stand out. He said “Half Amazed” seamlessly incorporates visual and technical aspects, introducing dramatic performances and a dynamic score into the aesthetically rich world of a magic show gone gorily awry.

    “He’s really found an area that I think he’s going to shine in,” Skyler said.

    Going added that directing over the last few years has helped him realize which parts of the filmmaking process he prefers.

    “I think the most rewarding part is the ending,” Going said. “I love creating an idea, then I hate everything until you’re back into editing. You see writer-producers or producer-directors. I’ve never heard of a writer-editor, but I totally would do that if it existed.”

    With graduation and an entrance into the professional world looming, Going is applying for industry jobs on both coasts, building on some connections he made while interning at a post-production company last year in New York City.

    Although he said he isn’t worried about career prospects yet, he’s driven less by fame and fortune and more by proving to his parents that helping him through school was worth it.

    But really, he’d like “to be able to afford food and a place, and I’ll be happy,” Going said. Then he quickly added, “And movie tickets.”

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