Lucie McCormick is an aspiring producer and cinematographer with some amazing credits to her name. Between working on an exciting documentary post-graduation, and taking on gigs such as filming August’s total eclipse for the Boston Globe, she’s proven herself an Emerson superstar with strong potential in the industry. I sat down with Lucie after she had met with Jessica Chance, one of our career counselors, to discuss her path after graduation.
But, first, who is Lucie?
Lucie is a recent grad with a degree in Film Production who is currently freelancing in the Boston area. She’s someone who was super involved in her time at Emerson, a student who not only was the VMA Senator for student government, but was also involved with a national co-ed fraternity, cross country, and the student conduct board, all of which helped her make lasting connections she keeps in touch with today. More than that, all of this fed into the idea that Lucie was more than just a student or a freelancer – she was an agent for change.
In her words, “Those organizations gave me the opportunity to see that I could do something and actually create change, or work with other people and share my voice within a community.” This feeling was what lead her to take pride in declaring a minor in Political Science, an area of interest that Lucie is very passionate about.
She’s recently been freelancing in the local area while a film she’s been working on is going through some finishing touches, all of which came about through the connections she made in organizations and with the faculty at Emerson. But who cares about what I have to say – let’s get to Lucie’s words!
What is it that drew you to documentary films?
“My interest has sort of evolved. Initially, I was interested in telling people’s stories and getting to know them and humanize them – I think it’s so easy to look at people and sum them up, to put them in a box. So I wanted to get to know people and understand why they do what they do… But as I’ve gone through school and become more involved in different projects, I’ve realized too many documentaries just highlight issues and don’t provide solutions.
I think it’s important to have films that provoke thought, but now my interest is a lot more in, yes, highlighting an issue, but also trying to provide some sort of avenue for viewers to move down once they’re aware of an issue. I really want to make viewers more accountable and say: ‘this is an issue now what can I do about it?’… I’d like to make films that simultaneously share avenues to change.”
Do you see this as the combination of your major in Film Production and your minor in Political Science?
“It could be political, so possibly, but something I’ve been thinking about a lot… is how media has so much influence on what we perceive as natural. So I’ve been thinking about media ethics and whose voices we choose to share, or how much are you inserting your own perspective into what you’re making. Also, how can marketing be applied to documentary films without being manipulative… How can you make films that aren’t biased, but still push viewers to engage?… I’ve definitely been thinking a lot more about marketing since graduation.”
What Lucie is hitting on is the relationship between her major, her interests, and the means to making her dreams a reality – the relationship between the coursework you see in VMA and in Marketing. She’s also applying a certificate she received in Inbound Marketing in a way that really ties together her interests. These are certainly some big questions, but they are questions that VMA professionals should ask themselves when working in the field.
How did you find the opportunity to work on a documentary?
“I was doing some [work] with the VMA department because I was the VMA Senator for student government, including some involvement with Orientation. I gave a talk to the incoming VMA students, and, through that and other projects, I connected with some of the faculty and staff here who knew people involved in documentary filmmaking. They helped make that connection for me… Actually, I started doing freelance work my sophomore year, finding opportunities just by telling people ‘this is what I’m interested in’ and making connections with different faculty members.”
Lucie is a master at maintaining relationships with her professors as she continues to have a strong relationship with many of them today, reaching out for conversations and advice on working in the industry and occasionally learning about new work opportunities. I found it super impressive that Lucie was working on a project of this size not only because it’s an exciting opportunity but because she started working on it in her Senior year, showing some amazing skills in balancing her time and seeing the project through.
Do you have any interesting gigs that stick out in your mind?
“Yeah! I also do freelance videography and I have a couple memorable jobs… One time I filmed a priest’s retirement party – that was interesting, and they had good food. Another memorable job was working on the eclipse for the Globe. That was a really positive experience, but also terrifying. I was by myself with 5 cameras trying to operate all of them and watch the eclipse at the same time. I also needed to export my video right away, so I was hooked up a hotspot on the highway, driving out of Nashville while uploading all of my footage trying to get away from all of the web traffic in the city… But that experience made me feel a lot more confident in myself.”
Woah! How did your opportunity with the Globe come about?
“I had a few conversations with somebody working at the Globe about video production after a professor connected us. Then I was heading to Nashville over the Summer to see the eclipse, and it occurred to me that I could possibly connect with them about what I was doing and ask if they had anyone filming the eclipse. So I reached out and asked if they needed anyone, or if they’d be interested in the footage, and they wound up sending me with a 360 camera which I took, along with my own cameras… It really came down just to asking. I’ve been learning just to ask for what you want. Things don’t always come back, but the more you ask, the more comes your way.”
Is that how you find most freelance work?
“I think you just need to tell people what you like to do and not try to be what they want. Know what you like, know what you can do, and be excited about that. Then show up and focus and they’ll think of you for their next job.”
Are there any takeaways you’ve had from your experience so far? Any sort of wisdom that’s come your way?
“Something I’ve learned is that I’m very good at being rejected. I don’t see rejection as a bad thing. Like, here’s an opportunity to learn where I need to improve. I’m proud to get rejected because it means I tried and I put myself out there.”