On April 6th, I attended the first Gotham Tour in our series of site visits held during #careerweek. Our group traveled to Avenue of the Americas to visit Mindfile, which like most small companies owns a space in a building located in the center of crowded Manhattan. After years of movies and The Good Wife, I expected Mindfile’s office to be a crowded space filled to the brim with desks and chairs and computers. When we went through the door, instead I found myself surprised at the small yet open space with plants, plenty of floor space and large windows that illuminated the room with sunlight.
Jennifer Wanamaker, who is the Production Manager, greeted us and proceed to introduce us to the office staff to hear what they do. First, we heard from a freelancer. He mostly comes in to edit, and he showed us this awesome machine that looked like I could find it in my grandfather’s basement. The pre and post production industry is just beginning to be digitized, and as a result these older machines haven’t been phased out yet. Mindfile used to transfer their files onto film with this contraption and create tapes that would then be delivered to clients, but now Mindfile downloads their files to their servers and sends them to their clients digitally.
Next, we visited the in-house editing room. There we had the chance to talk to Pratt alumni Chris Minor and got to hear how the stop motion classes at Pratt helped him prepare for his current project. Then we spoke with Valeria Angel, the Production Coordinator. Valeria was a former intern at Mindfile who is now employed there full-time, and she advised that during internships you should ask lots of questions and to offer help without being asked to show your initiative and interest.
Last, but not least, we were introduced to James Curry who is the founder and president of Mindfile. He started off by showing us the equipment room and explaining the various devices Mindfile owns. Mindfile is unlike many pre and post production houses because they own their own equipment and store much of it in house rather than renting from outside companies.
James shared that he first began his career in broadcasting. Before creating Mindfile in 2008, he had experience with filming as well as post production. By gaining experience in all areas of production, James learned how to help save time for editors when he was filming and figure out what he liked about the field. Jennifer offered similar advice to us. She suggested to students not only to do many internships but to try different things because “you don’t know what you are going to like.” James added that he has worked with many people who have been pigeonholed in their interests because of their consistent specialization, and now as an employer he looks for interns who are willing to try a little bit of everything.
Personally I was stuck by the fact that James and Jennifer knew what their interns were interested in pursuing and were dedicated to helping them grow. When new videos come in for editing, the interns are told how to edit the clips, but James gives his interns the chance to make their own edits and show him their work. While they don’t get paid or their edits may not be used, it gives the interns a chance to hear feedback from a professional who has worked in the field for over twenty years.
Visiting Mindfile was an eye opening experience that I am glad I participated in. If you are disappointed that you missed this awesome opportunity and want to know about our upcoming events, follow us on Twitter (@PrattSuccess) and like us on Facebook (Pratt Success).
Written by: Bree BalsamoImages by: Bree Balsamo