Aaron Ashby

Aaron Ashby

BFA, Production '17

Watch some of Aaron's short films on Vimeo.
Visit Website »

What part of production most interests you, and how has the School of Cinematic Arts helped shape your view of production overall? While I enjoy the entire production process—from writing to sound mix—I am most interested in directing. I came into the School of Cinematic Arts with a strong desire to direct, and my experience at SCA has helped to expand my idea of what that means. I have a much more rigorous approach to every part of the process, and that has helped to elevate the quality of my projects. Now I have become interested in expanding my stories outside of the traditional film medium. Now I ask myself, “could this story work as a graphic novel, a concept album, or a virtual reality experience?”

What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying for the Production program? Think deeply about why you want to make films and tell stories. Even if you're not sure how you will accomplish your goals, or how to bring your creative vision to life, having strong convictions about what you want to do will make others want to help you. This will also guide you in determining what you want to get out of your experience at USC.

How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline? I've gained the most from the opportunity to listen and speak with people who have been successful in all areas of the film industry, and from paying attention to creative and technological breakthroughs happening today. The School of Cinematic Arts is always at the forefront of technological innovation, and as an SCA student, I've been able to participate. Because of its many connections in the industry and location in Los Angeles, I've been able to make industry connections that wouldn't be possible otherwise. My experience here has made more open-minded, more attentive, and entrepreneurial.

What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? There's so much to do and experience at USC and in Los Angeles that sometimes it's difficult to prioritize, breath, and focus on the task at hand. Coming to USC was my first time being surrounded by people who were just as talented and passionate about film as I am, and that was both exhilarating and intimidating. I learned to relieve stress, build self-esteem, and avoid distractions by remembering my goals and practicing optimism.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? Because of my varied creative interests and multi-ethnic background, I have always found myself straddling different worlds. Before I came to film school, I acted in theater, produced several genres of electronic music, and performed spoken word poetry. Sometimes I have trouble focusing on one thing, or belonging in one community, but I believe this experience has developed me as an artist and is a huge influence on my creative process.