MMC: What brought you to the PC Film program?
Doug Stradley: I had been working in the high tech industry for six years after college and realized that I had always wanted to be a filmmaker. I didn't want to go through years of graduate school and was looking for an intensive, hands-on experience.
MMC: What were your goals at the start of the program?
DS: I wanted to make a short film that I could enter into film festivals. While I accomplished this goal, it was the wrong approach to take. I quickly realized that filmmaking was procedurally and artistically much bigger than I had thought. Filmmaking is also something that you can't learn from a book.There is a lot of trial and error involved. And until you have collaborated with other filmmakers on a set and screened your film for critique, you really can't appreciate the process. Rockport provided a comfortable atmosphere for me to constantly fail in. This was crucial and allowed me to learn, instantly, from my mistakes and to move forward with gained knowledge.
MMC: Do you remember a particular
"break through" moment?
DS:Oh yes! I made a short film during the first semester that I thought was amazing. At the end of the semester it was screened for an audience of over 150 people. It was a comedy and absolutely no one laughed the entire time. It was the most harrowing experience of my life. But it provided me with a clear understanding of what a filmmaker does and completely solidified everything I had learned during that semester. The filmmaker tells a story to an audience. The craft of filmmaking allows filmmakers to completely control their audience's experience. On that lonely and quiet night all of this became completely apparent to me. Screening your work for audiences is an important part of the learning process.
MMC: What are you currently working on - what's next?
DS: I now own a successful production company with a former classmate from the College In 2008 we completed a documentary on Climate Ride 2008 which featured 150 bicyclists riding their bikes from NYC to Washington DC to demand meaningful Climate Change legislation, as well as a series of videos that will be featured on NBC's website during Earth Week. We’re currently in pre-production on 2 feature length documentaries that we hope to shoot in this year.
These excerpts have been edited for space, to read Doug’s complete Q&A, visit the Alumni News page of our website.