Liu, who holds a bachelor’s degree in dance performance, praises Saddleback’s cinema department. (Courtesy of Mimi Liu)
The Saddleback College cinema department is growing rapidly and students have been very enthusiastic about it, including Mimi Liu, a current Saddleback student.
Liu, 23, television production, who currently takes classes in the cinema department and has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts with a focus in dance performance, has nothing but good things to say about the cinema department.
“Everything in the department is current and upbeat,” Liu said. “The equipment is the latest and the best.”
The department focuses on giving students a hands-on experience to prepare them for a job in the film industry.
She especially mentions one of her instructors, Instructor Hiro Konishi. “He’s been my adviser, he’s a very fair professor and expresses what he thinks,” Liu said.
Instructor Konishi teaches Video Production Basics, Television Production I and II.
“His expertise is documentary production. He’s very good at what he does,” Liu said.
Liu appreciates the authenticity of her instructors, and mentions how it positively affects her academic experiences.
“I can easily see the actor and performance perspective,” Liu said, “but I didn’t know much about the behind-the-scenes, and I’ve discovered it is difficult to deliver a professional film. There’s so much going on.”
She explains that the cinema department is trying to expand from just the vocational, and establish a real film school.
“Hiro acts like a real producer, not just an instructor,” Liu said. “I think we need that kind of intensity to prepare for the real world.”
Film students are dedicated to their work. Most of them work on their projects for several hours.
“Filmmaking is a collaborative experience,” Liu said. “A lot of people do 14 hours a day on their film projects. In the industry, people love what they do and love people. It’s very easy to work with people in this department.”
She mentions that in the department there is absolutely no drama behind the scenes, and communication is key while working on film.
“We focus on the project, so collaborating isn’t a problem,” Liu said.
She loves the way the instructors teach in the department, although she says she struggles at times.
“I soak everything in, but personally at times I struggle with my learning curve,” Liu said. “It’s very subjective sometimes, there can be a lot of criticism.”
Liu talks about the process required to make a film, whether it be a documentary or a movie. “Any good movie or story should be able to be summed up in one sentence,” Liu said.
Liu feels that she has developed exceedingly better people skills and broadened her horizons with the cinema department.
“Many classes are just lecture and theory, but the film and cinema classes are far from that,” Liu said. “They’re a hands-on experience and it’s great. I can register it, memorize it, and understand it.”
She is also working on an underground alternative music television show called “Alternation” which she is very excited about.
Alternation broadcasts every Monday from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
“Overall, how much you put into your projects is how much you’ll get out of it,” Liu said. “I can see it all from the filmmaker’s perspective instead of the audience. There’s real magic in suturing everything together to make a film seem seamless.”
She also explains that nowadays the average audience attention span has decreased.
“Because of the attention span, everything has to be interesting or fast-pace, but it has to be meticulous and use a good eye while editing film,” Liu said.