Get to know BCIT Intern – Ethan

Tell me about yourself, what your story is, how you ended up in TV at BCIT?

My name is Ethan Pagnottaro and as a teenager going through high school, I struggled to keep myself motivated to work hard on academics I didn’t care for. It was tough when all I really wanted was to get out of there and move on to a potential career. The drive was something I was lacking in the early years of high school. However, I always found passion in doing hands-on work such as building computers or working with my dad and his construction company. After I graduated, it seemed like a lot of my friends already had post-secondary plans and I felt stuck and didn’t know what to do. During this time, I was a supervisor at the local movie theatre. I was pretty content with it but knew I wanted more than a minimum-wage job just to pay the bills. During my three years working at the theatre, I saved up enough money to go to Europe with three of my best friends. Going to Europe was an amazing experience, having the freedom of traveling without parents and just your friends was great and something I will never forget.  Coming home after being on such a high to the same old job really pushed me to find something I would want to do for the rest of my life. I finally decided to apply to the Film and Television Production program at BCIT in January 2017 and got put on the waitlist. I didn’t end up hearing back until August later that year. So thinking I never made the cut, I applied to different jobs and got hired at the Amazon Warehouse in New Westminster (which I heard it was one of the worst jobs anybody could get). Finally, on my 19th birthday, BCIT called me saying someone dropped out of the program and I can take their spot. Stunned, I said yes to starting the program right on the spot and told amazon I couldn’t work there, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Tell me about the BCIT Program, what is it like, what are the best things about it?

The past two years at BCIT have been great! I’ve learned so much that I never would have expected to learn. When I joined, I didn’t realize how intense the program would be and how much learning was involved. However, it has been amazing finding passion in film and the production behind it. I have classes that focus on things such as screenwriting, after effects, and on Powerpoint. (Microsoft Suite) The program teaches you from A to Z on not only all things film and TV, but also how to market yourself and even Broadcast Law. The first year went by fairly quickly and was quite an intense workload. I never gave up, however, and it was an experience I will never forget. The best part of the program for me is having the hands-on technical experience right from day one as well as having the continued support from teachers and friends. Our last three big projects have been super fun and eye opening to work on.    

What sets BCIT’s program apart from other TV Programs

The TV portion of the program has been a big difference between the film programs in Vancouver. Most film programs don’t really seem to teach TV production that much, Instead they mainly focus on film. I believe BCIT is one of the quickest programs in B.C for film being a quick two-year program You get to learn everything from camera operations to lighting, to script writing. Then applying that to actually being either behind or in front of the camera. A lot of other programs tend to usually get you to specialize in a certain field, BCIT however, gives you the choice and freedom to choose your specific field give you the tools to apply yourself to that field.

How does BCIT’s TV program set you up for success when you graduate?

In my program, there is a class called Media Industry and this is where people from the industry and all walks of life come in and talk about their job. They really invest their time to help you and to gain contacts to help further your career. BCIT requires you to have a mandatory one-month industry related practicum near the end of the year. I am very thankful get to complete mine at Noravera. With a balance of technical behind-the-scenes work and getting taught different aspects of the industry, BCIT has truly given me the stepping stones to find a career path I can be passionate about.  

What is the internship portion of your schooling look like, what’s the criteria, etc?

Nearing the end of the two-year program, our final assignment was to find a month-long practicum that is industry related. Some of my classmates are currently working on rental houses, casting offices and production companies. I am lucky enough to get the chance to work at Noravera, working on things such as editing and shooting different projects. It’s a fairly open criteria so I get to do what inspires me. When I was first applying for internships, I was really just looking up smaller production companies. I was pretty open on what I wanted to do but having my number goal to get something to do with editing. I applied to many different places but after finally getting the email from Geoff, I knew that this was the company I wanted to be a part of for my practicum.

What is the internship portion of your schooling look like, what’s the criteria, etc?

Nearing the end of the two-year program, our final assignment was to find a month-long practicum that is industry related. Some of my classmates are currently working on rental houses, casting offices and production companies. I am lucky enough to get the chance to work at Noravera, working on things such as editing and shooting different projects. It’s a fairly open criteria so I get to do what inspires me. When I was first applying for internships, I was really just looking up smaller production companies. I was pretty open on what I wanted to do but having my number goal to get something to do with editing. I applied to many different places but after finally getting the email from Geoff, I knew that this was the company I wanted to be a part of for my practicum.

Where are you doing your internship, tell me a bit about it?

I’ve been doing my internship at Noravera I have been steadily working on editing smaller videos and shadowing the other editors and Cinematographers. It has been super helpful learning small tidbits about making your shot look more professional.

Would you recommend BCIT TV program and why?

I have been asked this before and usually, my answer always is different. If you just want a job in the film industry, I would recommend starting by getting your safety certificates (traffic control, motion picture industry orientation, etc.) and then you are usually able to get a simple PA job since there is so much happening in the film industry in British Columbia. On the other hand, if you want skill sets that you will not necessarily just learn on a film set like editing and cinematography, I would recommend going to school and obtaining a degree.

 

> Ethan

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We started this company in 2012 with one objective; to tell stories of human ambition through immersive, cinematic video – with no bullshit. We’re humble as hell, honest, hardworking, and don’t take ourselves too seriously.