When senior Alex Colby looks through his Canon EOS70 camera, most people think he is taking pictures. But in fact, he is filming.
"What's neat about these cameras is that they allow flexibility in video-making," said Colby. "They're basically the future."
Colby became passionate about filmmaking during his first year at Bowdoin.
"Everything I did was self-taught," said Colby. "During my freshman year, I was fooling around with iMovie because I got a new Mac."
Since sophomore year, Colby and his roommate Alexis Thomakos '10 have been producing films together. Thomakos, a music major, creates the soundtracks and sound effects for their videos.
Colby, an anthropology major and film studies minor, would have liked to major in film studies, but the College does not offer that.
"I want to push for a film studies major here because there are a lot of students on campus who enjoy filmmaking," said Colby.
The College's Film Society, for example, has 21 active members. Lucas Delahanty '10, the president of the club, won the National Film Festival Talented Youth (NFFTY) in Seattle, WA.
Another member, David Shuck '12, landed an HBO internship this summer.
"Film is being used in basically everything today," said Colby. "It's a very marketable skill."
"Every company is asking for videos for their Web sites," he said. "It's the best way to spread information in an entertaining form"
"People here need a more technical background," said Colby.
"In today's technical media age, film has erupted and [is] integrated in so many ways we get info," he said.
Colby said that because of the high demand for video, film has also been incorporated in many classes by professors.
"It's a great way of getting across the material through a creative lens," he said.
For example, in place of a 25-page paper for his Anthropological Research Methods class last semester, he created a documentary about the Thorne Dining Hall's Super Snacks chef, Bob Darling.
"It was a fantastic compromise," he said. "Even though it took a lot more time to make than writing the paper would have taken."
Disappointed about the lack of a film studies major, Colby has found even more ways to continue his passion for filmmaking.
Recruited by Dean of Students Tim Foster, Colby now works without pay for the Bowdoin Daily Sun, a news Web site launched by President Barry Mills this semester. He is responsible for putting up diverse two-minute videos that represent campus life every week. Those videos include snippets of athletic events, student activities, as well as alumni thoughts on life after graduation.
Colby also consistently participates in film competitions held throughout the year.
Recently, Colby won $250 for the Bowdoin Minute Competition and a gift card to a free ZipCar for the Career Planning Center Film Competition. Last fall, he also participated in the campus-wide "48-Hour Festival", in which students made a film within 48 hours, through following strict guidelines.
Colby said he has high hopes for the upcoming spring Film Festival sponsored by the College.
"I have to take advantage of all these film opportunities to build up experience and work so I can pursue a job in film after graduation," he said.
Colby aspires to become a film director. Last Thursday, he interviewed for a highly competitive Assistant Director's position for Directors Guild of America (DGA), a craft union based in New York City.
The two-year internship has a selection process. Over one thousand applicants apply each year, and only 80 are selected to move forward based on their responses to a 7-hour bubble-in scantron test that "combines SAT, personality and IQ," said Colby, who made it past this initial round.
Based on the interviews, about 18 to 20 candidates move to the next level where they are interviewed by the DGA board.
"My interview went well," said Colby. "I was prepared for a strict, professional interview, but instead an elderly woman asked me about my life."
Colby will find out in June if he is one of the five to seven people who get the internship.
"Videos are becoming much more accessible and now becoming a regular form of communication," he said.
"I'd love to see a video-run blog at Bowdoin," he said.
All of Colby's videos are available at: http://vimeo.com/user2537420/videos.