Cajun Hollywood: Students break into the movie business

POSTED: Thursday, July 22, 2010 - 3:45pm

UPDATED: Friday, July 30, 2010 - 3:46pm

From papers to movie premiers...It's a jump many students at Baton Rouge Community College are making now that the movie business is alive and well in Louisiana.

Getting a foot in the door of the entertainment industry can be tough, but having the right skills can make that transition a whole lot easier.

Javier Fernandez came to Baton Rouge from Guatamala looking for a unique opportunity. He wanted to study film. Baton Rouge Community College gave him that opportunity. The school has paved the way for students to study film in the Capital City. "In the two semesters I've been here, I've learned so much. I didn't imagine I would learn so much so fast in such a short amount of time," says Fernandez.

The entertainment technology program gives students a chance to learn the tricks of the trade. They are trained in everything from lighting techniques to how to shoot, edit, and write their own movies.

Steve Mitchell is the executive director of public relations and performing arts at BRCC. He says the hands-on approach seems to work. "They're passionate about making movies. It's something they love to do, so it's not much of a challenge to get them excited about it," Mitchell says. "They are really interested in how they can tell their stories, how they can create the visions they've always thought about. We try and give them tools to help them to do that."

BRCC has an internship program that also helps students make the transition to the big screen. Students are required to work in the industry, usually doing small jobs behind the scenes.

Jason Hewitt runs Films in Motion at Celtic Media Center. He says starting at the bottom is a right of passage for people who want to make it in the business. "You kind of start at the bottom of the barrel," says Hewitt. "if you want to be an actor, you be an extra on the set. If you want to be behind the camera in general everyone starts as a production assistant."

The chance to work on big budget films right here in Baton Rouge has other advantages. Those movies are keeping creative young people here in Louisiana. It's real life work that's keeping people like Fernandez here  once he's done with school.

"There's a lot of work to actually be done [here] a lot of work coming in," says Fernandez. "I'm actually planning on staying two or three years to see if I can actually get a job."

Check out BRCC's film program here

If you want to be an extra on a big budget production being filmed right here in Louisiana...check out Caballero Casting LLC. You can email the company for more information at

Special thanks to Baton Rouge Community College.

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