Career Opportunities On Location Week, or COOL Week was established in 1999 by Leander High School. Students choose an organization to work with for a week to get a glimpse at their future career opportunities. This year, Hunter Orona and Marcos Vargas chose to work for Austin Film Festival with our Young Filmmakers Program. Get a glimpse behind the scenes of AFF’s offices from their Guest Blogs.
Hunter Orona: NO NEED TO KNOCK, COME RIGHT IN
There was a sudden piercing thought that over came me as I approached the green house on Salina street. Was this the feeling of anxiety or the feeling of excitement? The mystery inside led me to think the answer lay behind the green, hinged obstacle of sorrow, or maybe even the bridge to enlightenment that only a few more steps could unfold. The sign on the door read “No need to knock, come right in!”. I was apprehensive at first. It seemed welcoming. A little bit too welcoming. . .
As I walked through the door I felt a sense of comfort, as if at home. This might have been due to the fact that this “office” was a home but never the less it was a friendly environment. This was not the typical corporate setting that I had envisioned before my arrival. There were no cubicles dividing the staff. The designated lounge area was actually not designated at all. People were sprawled all about the house. The only sight of a suit or a tie was on a Kiss Kiss Bang Bang poster. Most interesting of all were the staff meetings I was able to sit in on. People said what they wanted. And they meant it. There was no real filter (whether this be good, or bad) that the staff members were expected to use which encouraged all thoughts to be presented. This was eye opening to me. The once uptight business I had in mind was transformed into a place where ideas could freely be traded amongst people who had the same common interests.
The place fascinated me. Everyone seemed to be individually working on their own aspect of the company but at the same time there was a connection between each of them. A sort of cooperation was present that allowed the collaboration of ideas to flow throughout the company to better benefit every individual. There was one common interest that intertwined and held together everything in this green house. Everyone had a love for film.
My experience here at the Austin Film Festival headquarters has, in fact, enlightened me. I now realize how a business can successfully be directed toward a common goal in an efficient and enjoyable manner. To further progress ideas people need to be able come together and collaborate.
Marcos Vargas: A WEEK AT THE LITTLE GREEN HOUSE ON THE EAST SIDE
Having lived in Austin for most my life, I had heard of the Austin Film Festival, but never really did anything with the organization. When my transition coordinator called me into her office and asked if I would like to intern with AFF, I was ecstatic. Showing up to this little green house in the East Side of downtown Austin, I knew that this was going to be not only a good week, but a cool week.
I walked in on Monday, a little apprehensive having arrived a few minutes early, I sat down in an office where instead of a sitting at a desk, most interns propped up their computers on their lap. It was then, that I met Patrick. Patrick is the Young Filmmakers Project Director. Patrick was very nice and very enthusiastic about his work. He showed me around the office and told me a little bit about what he does during his normal schedule. Having an abundance of questions I was dying to ask, I was just waiting for the right moment to flood Patrick with questions. When the time came, I was amazed at how open Patrick was to answering my questions, which I felt was very helpful. I learned so much just in the first 30 minutes that I was afraid that the rest of the week I was not going to learn anymore, I was mistaken.
On Tuesday morning, Patrick took me and another student to Anderson High School where he helps teach juniors and seniors screenwriting. Before heading to the school, Patrick had me write up a survey enticing the students to express their feelings about the class and what they had learned so far in the year. After listening to the students read their film, I understood the dedication that Patrick had to his job. After the group reading at Anderson, Patrick had us head to the office for the weekly staff meeting. This was definitely my favorite part of the day. Listening in on the meeting, I was able to see the structure of a productive office. I was able to see how, from an unfamiliar point of view, separate departments can come together and efficiently get things done.
I have really enjoyed my time at the Austin Film Festival. I have enjoyed meeting everyone in the office, and I really appreciate them giving up their time so that I may get some experience in the real world. Having learned so much in a week that a book could never teach me, I am sad to leave. Though I leave sad, I have gained knowledge that will be able to help me for the rest of my life. Like how to create your own schedule for the week and get it done and how to ask good constructive question to get ideas across to other staff members. I do hope one day I can master all these skills that I learned and work in an office space just like the Austin Film Festival.
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For more information on Austin Film Festival’s Young Filmmakers Program click here.