Monday, November 04, 2013


Sydney Jarol (Class of 2011) with Rebecca Fons of the Chicago International Film Festival

After three productive, enjoyable, and undeniably educational years in the Ballard Video Production Program, I was lucky enough to be granted a generous scholarship to Columbia College Chicago. Columbia had been my first choice, both because it was located in a new and exciting city, and because it’s film program is one of the best in the country (it recently made #14 on the Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Film Schools of 2013). It would not have been possible for me to attend without such a scholarship, and I am extremely grateful for all the instruction, both constructively critical and supportive, that I received from Mr. Lawrence during my time in the video program. It was this guidance that inspired me to create the best work possible, and therefore helped me to build a portfolio strong enough to obtain this award. 

Since starting at Columbia College, I have been involved in several projects, filling a wide variety of roles including producer, writer, director, editor, script supervisor, sound designer, and production assistant. It has taken me a while to decide where to focus myself within the world of film production, but I have finally decided on sound design. Sound is something that I never even considered as an option when I thought about working in film, but my first sound class changed my mind completely. I had never realized how much fun sound could be, and once I came to the conclusion that I was perfectly capable of working the equipment and software, it rapidly became my favorite aspect of the filmmaking process. I hope to pursue a career in post-production audio, but I also plan to learn how to work on location sound.

In addition to coursework, I have done my best to continually be involved in extracurricular activities that will ultimately help me achieve my career goals. I have worked as a lab assistant in the post-production center at Columbia, as well as in a teaching assistant position for an art in schools program with Chicago Public Schools. And this past summer, I spent five weeks working as a film instructor for a summer camp at a Chicago elementary school, which was both challenging and rewarding.

But the best, and most exciting experience thus far has been my internship with the Chicago International Film Festival. Beyond the actual process of filmmaking, being a part of making film festivals happen is another passion of mine, and I had been dreaming about working with the festival ever since I first arrived in Chicago and learned of its existence. For two years I volunteered with the festival each fall, and then last spring I was granted an internship working with the Education Outreach Coordinator, Rebecca Fons. In my internship position, I helped to plan and carry out the 2013 CineYouth Festival, in addition to other duties such as assisting with education screenings and general festival events. Although internships generally last only a semester, I was asked to return for the fall, which means that I will be a part of the force behind the 49th Chicago International Film Festival itself, and I could not be more delighted.

I will graduate next spring (2014) with a B.A. in Film and Video, and a minor in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago.