Behind the Camera with Recent Radio/TV/Film Grad Adam Clark

Today we feature December 2020 graduate Adam Clark. Adam graduated with a degree in Radio/Television/Film. He also commuted from Bridgeton, NJ (Cumberland County). He tells us about his work since graduation and his upcoming plans.

What have you been up to?

Before I graduated I started working on this film that continued long after I graduated called “Chasing Shakespeare.” It is a comedy film that is 90 minutes long and was shot in Camden and Belmar, both in NJ. I had reached out to their team to be a production assistant and I saw they posted looking for a gaffer as well. A gaffer is a more advanced position, so I did not want to talk up myself too much. I told them I would be happy to help in any way I can. After talking to them more I realized they are all the same experience level as me and they all just graduated.

I got the job as a gaffer and I did lighting for them, which was really cool. There was not difficult lighting set ups for me to do. It was more having everything look as realistic as possible, like classroom and office settings. But even that can be a challenge when you are making something look real when it is not.

Adam outside of Bunce with his video gear.

Where did you find that job?

I look at Film.org every day of my life. That is the Philadephia commissions website.

You mention making scenes look real can be a bit tough sometimes, how did your classes at Rowan help you get that skillset?

In Television Production 2 we did a lot of lighting scenarios, mostly for interviews, but really all of the lighting setups we did we just tried to get realistic and natural so that translated well.

Adam holding up his video camera.

What other projects have you been a part of since graduation?

In 2019, I was a production assistant on this guy’s film and then this year he reached out to me and said, ‘Hey I am working on another project it is a lot different but would you be interested in being my assistant?’ He was making commercials for businesses on a street in Philadelphia. That was a weeklong thing and we drove to more businesses than I can count. We shot interviews, B-roll, and some just for a quick thing. Essentially the video was a bunch of people saying thank you for the local communities supporting their business during COVID and encouraging them to continue shopping local. We interviewed these people about how important that support was and what their business is. It was a fast-paced shoot and go to like eight businesses each day. A lot of quick set ups and tear downs. He is a great guy and I will work with him again in the future.

How did you make this connection?

I worked with him on his film called “Stick Doll,” a short horror film shot in Philly. I found that job in a Facebook group for Philly area film makers. I just reached out and told him I was interested in being a PA and talked to him, that’s how I got the job.

I highly suggest looking for local film Facebook groups to find jobs.

Adam holding his video gear and looking at the camera at Bunce.

What is your plan from here?

Short term — In the next couple months I will be working with Joe again making a video for an exotic pet store. It is owned by a biologist. It is not just pets it is also plants and it is called Ill Exotics Flora and Fauna. They have all these lizards, tarantulas and crazy plants. They opened a new location that is not just a store but an experience. They want to have QR codes that you scan and watch the video about the animal/plants and we are making those videos. That is really exciting. I hope I get to meet a bearded dragon because I like them.

In July I worked as a G&E Swing because I can work for the grip or the electric department. That was on a horror feature film shooting in Pipersville, PA in the Appalachian Mountains. It was definitely the biggest thing that I have worked on. Some of the set ups were crazy and it was a big crew. I worked with them at the beginning of April for a weekend as an extra set of hands.

Long term — Eventually I am going to have to leave New Jersey if I want to find consistent, well-paying work. I do not know where I am going yet. Wherever I end up I would like to work in the lighting department for movies. Interviews are cool but as for what I’d like to be doing is definitely narrative film. I feel like the lighting is really what makes the movie look great; it is really what gives it the cinematic quality. So being a part of that is always super satisfying. So be a gaffer or even higher as a director of photography.

Adam posing outside with a Rowan sweatshirt.

What was your favorite class?

Even though it was crazy stressful and hard, I think Television Production 2 was my favorite class. We just got to do so much in there. We made three different documentaries of increasing complexity in that class. The first one we followed someone around for a day in the life. It was purely recording what they did in their job. I did mine about a radio DJ. For the second one we interviewed one person and shot footage of them. I interviewed my dad; we talked about how he worked in law enforcement and retired at a young age. The third one was bigger we interviewed three people, a lot of lighting set ups and more of a serious tone. We interviewed my mom and two others from her church about an organization that gives gifts to kids around the world that are in poverty. So that was a huge project and it took about a month and a half. There was so much organization, I was the producer and did camera stuff. It was a big undertaking but it was so satisfying when it was all done to see what we had made.

The professor really pushed us and taught us a lot to make a great product. When something was not up to the standards of the class he was not afraid to let us know, I really appreciated it. He was hard on us in class but I really appreciated him doing that because I want to know the right stuff to do and I want my stuff to look good.

I do not want to just feel good about it and be putting stuff out that doesn’t look great I really appreciated how hard he was on us even though it might had been rough in the moment.

Like what you see?

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Story and photography by: 
Stephanie Batista, junior music industry major

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