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December 8, 2015

SCA Student Stories: Angelique Molina

By Eileen Kwon

Pursuing her passion of photography and storytelling, Angelique Molina ’16 is currently earning her Masters Degree in Production at SCA. Molina shared about her continued growth as a filmmaker through her experiences as an SCA student, her time with the Diatribe Art Collective in San Francisco, and as a member of the SCA Graduate Student Government.

With a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development, what in your past experiences, whether professional or academic, has pushed you to pursue an education in the cinematic arts? I loved working with children but with photography as my main passion and hobby, I knew that I wanted to somehow work in that capacity. After graduating with a B.A. in Child and Adolescent Development, I decided to take a beginners course in photography. After creating a short film out of still shots, I was encouraged by my professor to seriously pursue filmmaking. I took that short film, left my job and moved back to Los Angeles, where I worked as a PA and A.C. for two years until I decided to apply to USC. I submitted the same film that I made in that photography class and got into USC, so I guess it all worked out for a reason.

What in your past has given you inspiration or a unique point of view that you bring to SCA? My family on both sides. They are quite the characters. So many characters that I’ve written have been based on their behaviors. Also, going to so many different schools when I was younger was actually a blessing in disguise. From schools with the majority of students from a lower socioeconomic status to ones with most students from a higher socioeconomic status, public to private, I gained a very unique outlook on many aspects of life.

How have you grown creatively during your time at SCA thus far? I’ve grown creatively by learning to trust myself more. By being put in roles of leadership and roles where someone else is relying on you, it causes you to just trust your choices. By trusting myself, I’ve learned to just let go and make things happen.

Could you share about your start with the Diatribe Art Collective? What has your journey with the collective been like so far? Though I’m no longer active with the Diatribe Art Collective in San Francisco, that group gave me the confidence to be creative. The collective itself is made up of a group of all female artists (writers, painters, photographers, etc). We used to have shows at local businesses that gave us the platform to display our work. I didn’t realize it then but that experience literally allowed me to do whatever I wanted to do as an artist. The only rules were the ones that we made up, so it was fun.

As a member of the SCA Graduate Student Government, what are your thoughts on the importance of student service in the context of an educational institution? SCA creates an extremely busy environment and a bit of a bubble. I can go weeks without being on other parts of campus so being involved in the Student Government is a great way to get to know other people from different schools and be up-to-date with any issues that come up campus wide.

What were some challenges you faced while working as a production assistant? How did these experiences impact your growth as a producer and filmmaker? Working as a production assistant is like being hazed, especially on lower budget productions. You experience something that you feel like it can’t get any worse. But it all pays off because the higher you get the more creative you get and while the pressure grows, you know you can handle it after being at the bottom. I was yelled at once for not mixing the dressing in a producer’s salad. That was pretty ridiculous, but it also made me realize how sane I was and that it was going to be ok because we were making movies.

What was your experience working on shorts such as Blood Sisters, SuperZero, and Homegirls? How were you stretched creatively and technically as a cinematographer? If you’ve reached a point where you feel like you can’t learn anymore, then you should quit. Like my 508 trio-mate Yufan told me on set once, “If we think we are done improving then we don’t need to be in school, we need to be at the Oscars.” While at the time it made me laugh, I still think that it is valid. Remembering that I am in school to learn has helped me on sets like “SuperZero,” “Blood Sisters,” and “Homegirls.” On “SuperZero,” I was pushed to go out of my comfort zone and do some handheld work that actually helped me tremendously when shooting on-the-go with the documentary “Homegirls.” “Blood Sisters” was extremely fun because I got to play with lighting for a scary movie and using cooler temperatures was awesome. With every production, you just have to keep pushing yourself. And because we are in a collaborative industry, quite often that means asking your peers and learning from them as well.

What advice do you have for prospective/current students in your program? Work hard, be nice, and keep learning from each other.

Looking to the future, how do you see yourself and your work evolving? In the future, I hope to see myself evolving into an artist with a signature style. I want to walk out of USC with a foundation of skills and just keep learning and growing with every project.