Renato Ruiz

Renato Ruiz

BA, Cinema & Media Studies '17

View Renato's CTPR 290 video and other works on his Vimeo page
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How has the School of Cinematic Arts changed your view of your discipline of Cinema & Media Studies? Upon attending my first course in the Cinema & Media Studies program, I knew that I was stepping into a much larger world than I could anticipate. Cinema now has such a deep historical value; one will soon realize that intertwined with the science of filmmaking are the theoretical approaches to the moving image and their meaning within the context of their time. The historical perspective of film has forever changed my view on present and future cinema; it is my opinion that this knowledge base is a solid foundation for anyone wishing to enter any aspect of the entertainment industry.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program?Be open to what Cinema & Media Studies has to offer. The knowledge base mentioned above is also a great starting point to find what fascinates you most about cinema. Also, let me be the first to tell you that many professors and alumni believe that students in the program are more rounded individuals. You will hear this now and then because you are getting a sampling of the filmmaking spectrum, learning from cinema scholars who are anxious to pass on their knowledge to those who are just as passionate as you are about film and the filmmaking process, and, in that respect, you will feel very much at home.

How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline? One recurring observation in my first year of courses was what made these films worthy examples of cinema at its best, and to me what it boiled down to was story. Compelling characters in interesting situations are all a part of great filmmaking, a delightful discovery within the Cinema & Media Studies that lead me to minor in Screenwriting. Like many of the other disciplines taught here at the School of Cinematic Arts, you will learn from professors who are industry professionals working on their own projects. They will share their insight that will prepare you on what to expect from your chosen discipline. 

What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? Within my time here at USC, I found that that each and every course, project, or assignment will present its own little challenge—nothing that any good student can’t handle. But, as you can imagine, with multiple classes in any given schedule, this can easily become overwhelming. The biggest challenge then is self-management: making sure that you are doing your best in both your academic and creative work. This becomes even more crucial if you plan to work or help with other student projects, which I highly encourage. Striking the right balance will not only payoff in some of your best work but also keep you sharp and ready to take on new challenges along the way, not to mention mimicking what you will find upon graduation.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? I’m one of only a handful of students who have come into the USC School of Cinematic Arts having already worked in the entertainment industry. For almost five years, I worked in the post-production visual effects, particularly as stereoscopic (3D) clean-up artist. Thus my point of view has naturally come from working behind the curtain and seeing all the inner workings of the post-production process. Personally, this has made me curious to explore the production and pre-production sides of filmmaking. Since starting here at USC, I have been given the chance to do more than just explore, but to also take part from writing to hands-on production and, yes, even explore other post-production process including editing and sound.