Jeffrey Martin '2017
I managed to get a lot of my English major requirements out of the way early in my undergrad career. With the surprising amount of spare time I had in my schedule, I decided to pursue the Film Certificate to fill up the difference of credits I needed to graduate. I fell in love with production and the feeling of applying my analytical skills to a process that fell outside an academic niche. The next step for developing my production skills and experiences were with whatever internship I could find: I was lucky that I landed on Amherst Media.
Amherst Media brought me on as a production assistant where I instantly felt like I belonged. No day was the exact same as the one that came before and there was always something for the interns to do. On my first day, I learned about the elements necessary to film a high-quality shoot, whether that was in our studio or out on location. The training was extensive, but I could tell you that white-balancing a camera was important because the camera needs to know what white looks like so that all other colors will be filmed as they are in their natural state. Eventually, the discussion of the mechanics of the camcorders we filmed with diverged into how to properly light a person being interviewed. If the lighting was somehow compromised due to an open window, I learned how to compensate for that change. There was a shotgun mic applied to the camera, but in case that failed, I knew which channels belonged to the camera’s internal mic as a back up. I felt primed for whatever situation would come my way as far as filming goes.
All of the camera training proved to be useful in post-production, the stage where anything that went awry while filming can be fixed, or at least, minimized. We edited a lot of town government meetings and I had to edit these pieces in such a way that the viewers watching from home wouldn’t be distracted by a sudden drop in sound, for instance. The turnaround on these edits was very quick, so that added a healthy pressure to find the quickest solution whenever we encountered a roadblock. In a strange but educational way, editing helped reform my filming because I knew what problems to anticipate and how to avoid them. Other days called for interviewing a couple that wanted a food co-op here in Amherst. Someone always wants to film their event or to spread the word on their passion project, and that’s what we did.
The major highlight for me came from working with Amherst Media to launch their community- centric website The Collective. With my previous writing experiences on Ripped Laces, I was eager to apply my knowledge to a rising platform. They let me contribute film reviews and episodes of my podcast, The Pick-Ups, and allow me to do so to this day. Together, we craft and curate content for a growing audience that encourages writers, filmmakers, and other artists to engage with their community while promoting their work. Recently, we were able to host a non-fiction short story contest in which I was a panelist and we published a piece that we proudly stand behind. My intent was to learn the tools of the trade when it came to making multimedia pieces, but I walked away with skills that reach far beyond technical know-how.
Currently, I am a freelance video editor and writer. From time to time, I’ll assist on a shoot, whether that’s monitoring sound or operating a camera at Amherst Media. But, for the past few months, I’ve been working on a video series centered on Puerto Rico. We have set our sights
on a September premiere, of which we couldn’t be more enthusiastic about. I never would’ve thought that my studies in English would take me standing behind a camera or sitting in front of an editing bay, but the application of those aforementioned skills made me proud of the products I produced with Amherst Media.