Taylor Whittemore

Taylor Whittemore

BA Cinema & Media Studies '19

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How has the School of Cinematic Arts changed your view of your discipline of Cinema & Media Studies? My understanding of Cinema & Media Studies prior to arriving at the School of Cinematic Arts was rather limited, and I was under the impression that it was strictly related to academia. Since I began my first semester here, however, I have realized that Cinema and Media Studies is deeply involved in all cinematic disciplines. Possessing a comprehensive knowledge of each discipline means that you are better able to deeply discuss it in a variety of different situations, whether it be writing an academic article, applying for a position that has more to do with consulting, or becoming involved with the filmmaking process itself.

What advice do you have for prospective students looking at applying to your program? When applying to the Cinema and Media Studies department, allow whatever you are passionate about to really shine through, especially with your writing samples. Your specific interests are completely unique to you, and, by focusing on them while working on your supplements, you define yourself as an individual while also showing your enthusiasm for the overall subject. My personal experience has also taught me that people tend to write better essays when they enjoy the topic.

How has the School of Cinematic Arts prepared you so far for a career in your discipline? In addition to the information I have amassed about the history of the cinematic industry, my courses have also placed an emphasis on how the industry is changing to better prepare myself and other students for future jobs in a constantly shifting industry. Additionally, the School of Cinematic Arts has an abundance of connections with industry professionals, and the smaller sessions and classes make those connections very accessible to students.

What have been the biggest challenges for you at USC? One of the biggest challenges at USC is managing the abundance of events that the university has to offer. There is always something constantly going on and yet you have other activities that require quite some time, such as classes, coursework, and clubs. Finding a balance between everything that is going on around you and your free time can be rather difficult to do, but ultimately you will never be lacking in something to do.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to USC? Ever since I discovered the Harry Potter series in kindergarten, I have been invested in exploring fictional storyworlds established through a variety of different mediums, whether it be books, films, video games, or television shows. These universes allowed me to relate to people rather unlike those that populated the small town I am from and learn about societal issues that were not prominent in my area, and this has inspired me to use narratives as an influence to help people expand their worldviews, for I understand how effective storytelling can be instructive in addition to entertaining.