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Film and Media Studies Program

  • Edwin Diaz

Alumni Spotlight: Edwin Diaz

Class of 2012

Edwin Diaz received two undergraduate degrees from USC, one in Film and Media Studies and the other in Media Arts. Combining both degree programs enabled Edwin to integrate his interest in media theory and history with media production, an increasingly popular choice of current students.  Edwin recently took time out of his schedule to talk with us about his experiences as a Film and Media Studies major and current career path.

Why did you major in Film and Media Studies?

Film and Media Studies was actually the third major of my college career.  Originally, I studied physics and then history at the U.S. Naval Academy.  It was only after two years of holding back my creative passion that I decided to transfer to USC to pursue something that I would be happy doing regardless of my situation, rather than something I would be miserable doing with a structured, steady situation.  I knew that I needed to do something in the artistic field, and I knew I loved watching film.  So I transferred to USC, and it proved to be one of the most gratifying decisions of my life.

What was your first film and media job after graduation, and how did that job set you on a path to your current career or position?

My first job in media after graduation was as a wedding videographer.  After my last class at USC, I immediately polished my reel and resume and sent it to every media outlet in my home town saying that I was a recent graduate looking to gain some experience in shooting and editing professionally.  Of the many places I contacted only one company responded, and I began working immediately.

Tell us about your current work.

Currently I work for a "Full Service Media Company" in Chicago, IL.  "Full Service Media" means that we do everything from branding, PR and media training to making productions like corporate videos, commercials, and reality television.  Majority of the time my work focuses on shooting and editing videos; however, with such a broad range of services, I have gained experience as a media coach, project manager, art director, graphic designer, associate producer, gaffer, grip, audio technician, and content manager.  It is a really good environment for creative people that want to dabble in the many facets of media while growing in their specialty.

Do you have any advice for Film and Media Studies majors?

DO WHAT YOU WANT TO DO TOMORROW, TODAY.  If that means you want to be a critic, then write reviews.  If you want to make documentaries, then start researching topics.  If you want to edit, then grab some Red Bull and Cliff bars and set up camp in McMaster's edit suite.  If you want to produce, then find all these other people and get them together to make something.  Take advantage of every opportunity given to you now, so that you don't have to waste time finding out what you want to be later and you can build your portfolio sooner.  To alter a line from When Harry Met Sally:  "When you realize you want to spend the rest of your life making film, you want the rest of your life to start as soon as possible."

If you feel there aren't opportunities out there, then MAKE SOME.  You have access to more than enough resources to either participate, create, or find out how to be a part of something.  It is up to you to build yourself.

What was your favorite Film and Media Studies course at USC?

My favorite Film and Media Studies course at USC was Masculinity in Contemporary Film.  That class was the one course that removed any insecurities or regrets that I had taking a nontraditional major.  It was something about the professor's style, the films we watched, and the involvement of everyone in the class.  Every time I left that class, I felt like I realized something new about film as a universal communicator, but more importantly about my personal connection with it.  That course was when I knew I had found my passion and was doing exactly what I needed to, in order to make a career and a living doing what I loved.

What is your current favorite film, TV show, and/or interactive game?

I'm assuming 'current' means that it is within the past 10 years or so.  My favorite film is La Haine.  TV show is a tie between 30 Rock, Mad Men, and Seinfeld.  Game is FIFA or Red Dead Redemption.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.