Film panel offers advice at Flagler’s COM Week

By Matthew Goodman |

Flagler College’s recent Communication Week featured a film panel from the Jacksonville area that provided a reality check for students interested in a career in television and film, but also encouraged them to chase their dreams.

Jim Gilmore, Patrick Barry, Frank Goodin, Gerald Jackson, Kim Murray and Lorraine Portman offered seasoned advice.

Murray, who has worked on several TV shows, started the panel by saying a career “doesn’t happen overnight.” She advised students trying to get a career in film or TV to get a backup job.

Each of the panel members stressed the importance of hard work. It doesn’t start out easy.

“Don’t be afraid to work from the bottom,” said Jackson, a Jacksonville music video and film maker whose first feature film was just picked up by Warner Brothers.

Goodin was first to mention the importance of success through high quality work. “Put your best work out,” he said. “Feel you’ve done the best you can before you put it out.”

The panel assured students that quality work won’t go unnoticed.

“It really comes down to making good work,” said Berry, a Jacksonville filmmaker and professor at Flagler.

The speakers all agreed that students need to make contacts as soon as possible. Knowing people is key in progressing in the industry.

“Mind your friendships,” said Portman, who has experience in film, TV and theater, and also teaches screen and scriptwriting classes at Flagler.

Contacts are important for funding, as well as producing content. The speakers recommended finding local people with similar interests to work together on film projects. Whether the films are documentaries, feature length films or simple shorts, they all require collaboration.

Many of the panel members emphasized the need to go out and start making films as soon as possible.

“Just grab a camera and go do it,” said Berry.

Gilmore was a professor at Flagler for eight years and he specializes in documentaries. His initial advice consisted of encouraging students to make their portfolios standout.

He also shared that students are able to tell any story they want to tell. It’s all about the way they tell it.

Gilmore commented on the need to “accommodate to technology.” The industry requires knowledge of certain technical aspects, and the panel members advised students to stay up to date.

The panel was somewhat divided on the issue of what to do after getting their degrees. Some, like Jackson, encouraged students to go to film school. Others, like Goodin, suggested that students head straight into the field and gain experience as soon as possible.

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