February 1, 2012

Students @ Work with Nicola Scandiffio

Nicola Scandiffio, a freshman Architecture student at Pratt, sat down to interview with Peer counselor, Becky Pierson, to discuss his film company, interests, and how it affects his time, path, and lifestyle. During the interview he was asked the following questions:

1. What is your job outside of Pratt?

2. How does your job apply to your interests and career goals?

3. How do you manage your school work and your job simultaneously?

4. What have you learned from your job about industry and having a career that will help you to dive into the real world when you graduate from Pratt?5. What would be your advice to students seeking outside jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities?

Jump into the following article to understand the lives of a few ambitious students and get advice on balancing your job and your schoolwork from the "CEO" behind it all!

Junior year of High School Nicola Scandiffio started a film company called Think Inspiration Media, now nicknamed TIM. The company has evolved and grown in scale and productions. They’ve earned a few thousand dollars and the challenges they’re taking on are growing by the week. Hayden Hoyl, freshman film major, works along side Nicola in the dueling tasks of running a film company and tackling the demanding curriculum Pratt is known for. They’ve shot commercials and music videos. Nicola describes his job tasks as endless. He works as a director, creates media, does camera work, lighting, and often interprets creative thought. “We do whatever is thrown at us,” replies Scandiffio. Dakota Pailes-Friedman, freshman animation major, was recruited to help with their video animation, upping their par and quality even more. Recently the company has evolved into handling more than film. The music videos they shoot are, of course, for the artist of the songs, but, their work for the artist doesn’t end there. Lately, they’ve been creating a “digital presence” for these artists. They create online “characters” and presence, allowing them to be on social networking sites, youtube, private websites, and more. They are “self made and self paid.” “We try to do things other people our age don’t even attempt to do,” said Nicola when describing what his company strives for. They take pride in their work and look forward to the leaps and strides they can make in the next four years and hopefully beyond.

For Nicola, film making is a hobby and a passion. If it’s the career path he claims only time will tell. When asked to pick architecture or film he can’t choose. He believes that he has the best opportunities at Pratt because he has the chance to study and engross himself in architecture but still have the chance to find his passion and continue his hobby with students that also have ambitious goals like himself. When asked his dream job he replied, “Two jobs. Architecture by day and free lance film by night.” He claims it “seems silly to choose.” 

Time management and balancing schedule, work, life and hobbies are common topics around campus. Nicola believes that TIM and his school work can never be perfectly in balance. He admits that they both sacrifice each other. He recalled the saying, “ Sleep, fun, work. Pick two.” In some ways this is true but all are important and necessary. On the weekend a normal Sunday starts with film at 9 AM. They shoot till 6 PM and then Scandiffio goes straight to the architecture studio, usually till 4 AM. They often shoot after class during the week as well. It’s all a balance. Nicola often realizes that sometimes you have to step back and know that even though there is a scene to be shot, the studios of Higgins Hall beacon his name. He claims he has always believed that a grade is just a number. It’s about quality and portfolio. He goes on to say, “I’m building two portfolios, which one will win, I don’t know, but I hope they tie for first.”

As far as being prepared for the “real world” Nicola has learned that you get exactly what you put into anything. Life and success is about passion, not numbers, grades, and scores. Committment is what one needs to be successful. He always plans to reach goals that are slightly out of reach. “I always tell Hayden when we’re planning a video, assume we can do anything,” Scandiffio explains. If a helicopter would make the video portray exactly what they want then they plan it with a helicopter. The first question should never be “How do we get the helicopter?” “We don’t have excuses, we just go for it. After working our butts off all day, then comes the reward."

When giving advice to other students seeking these opportunities Scandiffio states, “Don’t assume you don’t have time or can’t do it. In Architecture they say you won’t have enough time for life itself, but really that is just a lie. If you use your time efficiently then anything is possible. There are 24 hours in a day, don’t spend half of it sleeping and half of it doing one thing.” His advice is to cut up your schedule and make yourself busy. He advises to “take risks and do more, always.” Make sure to stay determined and remember that complaining won’t get you anywhere. Be excited about your work and put your whole self in to it and that’s when you get results.

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