Cassandra Bauer attends Drake University. She is a junior majoring in digital media production and minoring in graphic design. She recently sat down with SchoolJournalism to answer a few questions that we had. We hope the interview is helpful to both students and advisers.
Q: When you were looking at schools, what was it about Drake that pulled you in?
A: I was really focusing in on schools in Iowa because I didn’t want to stay in Missouri and be with the same people I spent my high school years with. I choose Iowa because it wasn’t completely isolated from home. My grandparents live in Grinnell, and so I get to see them a lot during the school year. That is nice because before I was only seeing them once or twice a year.
Ultimately, I chose Drake because of its journalism program. I’m really hoping to be a documentary filmmaker after I graduate, or at least be able to do something along that line of work. Drake seemed to be the best choice for me.
Also, my Dad went to Drake for business and actuarial science.
Q: What opportunities has Drake provided you within your field of study to help you build your portfolio and gain experience?
A: I’m always adding to my portfolio throughout the school year at Drake. I take a great variety of classes to make me a well-rounded individual with skills I can use in the field.
For example, I’ve had a lot of amazing experience taking a J-Term class, “The Recorded Music Industry.” In this class, I spent three weeks in January learning about the music industry and working directly with a non-profit record label, Station 1 Records, to promote an upcoming artist, MarKaus, as well as Lily DeTaeye. I got the opportunity to help the record label with their social media strategies, marketing strategies, as well as to launch The House Party, which is a monthly event featured at Lefty’s. The House Party event not only supported these local artists, but also gave back to the community by giving a good portion of the profits to other non-profits.
Along with this experience, I took an audio class which required me to produce and host my own segment on 94.1 The Dog, a radio station in Des Moines.
On Mondays at 10 a.m., I would DJ my radio segment, playing music by Iowa musicians, and I also heavily featured the artists of Station 1 Records. My segment was called “The Locals’ Morning Show.”
In other classes, such as video production, I complete projects weekly, which got published on Drake Digital News (links can be found on my portfolio website cassandrabauer.weebly.com on the homepage under “RECENT WORK”).
Q: It’s my understanding you are currently in a summer internship; can you elaborate a bit on that?
A: I am a film production intern at Northwest Passage, a residential treatment program for youth who are going through trauma, depression and other mental issues.
As a film production intern, I work directly with the kids to create videos featuring the various things that they do. For example, on Mondays, the girls at Prairieview, the residential program for girls located in Frederic, Wis., go on underwater photography trips. They learn how to use their photography skills to capture what cannot be seen above the surface. This program is called “Under The Surface” and their photos are featured at Northwest Passage’s Art Gallery in Webster, Wis.
Not only is there this program, but there is also “In A New Light,” which is the program I’m working the most with. In this program, the girls of Aspen, a unit of girls at Prairieview, go out on Wednesdays to different parks, trails, etc. to explore nature and expand their writing skills, mainly poetry. My role in this program is to turn these girls’ poems into motion poems, which are poems in the form of videos. I’m working directly with these girls to decide what they would like their poems to depict and the stories they want to tell with those poems. If you would like an example of this, you can find them on my YouTube channel, which is also linked on my portfolio website.
Aside from In A New Light, I also work one-on-one with kids at Riverside, the residential program for boys located in Webster, Wis., who are participants in the film program. I help these kids directly with writing, filming and editing their films.
Aside from my work directly with the kids, I spend most of my time filming and editing videos to showcase the kids in their various programming, and also to show the side of Northwest Passage that people don’t see. Our goal is to destigmatize mental health issues and my videos aim to do that.
Q: What advice do you have for high school students who are hoping to go into the profession?
A: If you’re like me and you want to go into any kind of film work, you need to put yourself out there right away. Don’t get caught up with your summer plans to vacation. If you want to make it out there you need to be constantly building your portfolio.
If that means you work a summer job at Wal-Mart while you work remotely as a intern for Spoon University making a video once a week, do it. If that means sacrificing your summer to work full-time for a news station, or some kind of video outlet where you can get your work out there, do it. Make it work.
Even if you can get paid more working a job that has nothing to do with your major, stick with what builds your resume. You need to really make it known to anyone who sees your resume that you know what you’re doing. Because no one wants to hire someone who doesn’t know what they’re doing or doesn’t have the experience.
What I’ve done to get where I am wasn’t that hard, but it wasn’t that easy either. I worked my way up from being a freelance staff photographer for Drake’s newspaper in my freshman year, to taking over as photo editor for that same newspaper my sophomore year. I’m continuing that path my junior year.
I’ve also been involved with Spoon University since my freshmen year, just working as a photographer for our chapter’s writers, and now I’m not only but my chapter’s sole video contributor, but I have wracked up millions and millions of views over the term of the two years I have been making these videos. Not only am I a video contributor, but also I’m community manager or our chapter of Spoon University at Drake, and the vice president of the chapter.
Along with all of that, I’ve been working with ESPN 3. I’ve made my way from the lowly camera assistant to camera operator to replay operator to director. The climb is worth it.
Even if you have to work crappy hours, even if you’re not making enough money for right now, do it. If it gives you the experience people are looking for in your field, you’ll only be better for it.