1. Tell me something about your life and the educational background.
I was born and raised in Chicago. I received my BFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago, with a concentration in Video and Photography. In the handful of years that followed, I traveled and worked in a variety of industries, broadening my ideas and perspectives. During this period, I discovered my love of warm weather, specialty coffee, Belgian beer, climbable rocks, and bicycles. It was only a matter of time, however, before I found myself again dreaming of academia and decided to further pursue my artistic inclinations.
I am currently an MFA candidate at Syracuse University in the School of Visual and Performing Arts, with an emphasis in Art Video. My work has been shown internationally in a number of exhibitions and screenings dealing with local and cultural issues. I hope to continue working in video, long-term, both on the technical and creative sides.
2. When, how and why started you filming?
My first experience with a video camera was during my undergraduate career, as part of a required course. The process and potential of the medium was so inspiring to me that I ended up changing my major to Video, receiving my degree several years later. I have kept my camera with me ever since.
3. What kind of subjects have your films?
My work deals with a range of issues from heritage, culture, and oral history, to family, aging, and death.
4. How do you develop your films, do you follow certain principles, styles etc?
Typically, in developing a particular piece, I will have a general idea in mind, as well as a certain experience I am hoping to elicit in the viewer. I rarely have a defined vision of the finished work in my mind. The editing process is where the magic happens–the various pieces of the puzzle arranging themselves, almost as if they possess a life and will of their own.
5. Tell me something about the technical equipment you use.
Although I have access to far more sophisticated equipment, I shoot almost exclusively with a Sony DCR-TRV33, a single-chip digital video camcorder released early in the decade, and a gift from my father. I prefer to use this camera both because of the slightly dated aesthetic it creates and because I feel very comfortable with its features and quirks.
6. What are the chances of new media for the genre film/video in general
and you personally?
New media is the hope and the future of video. While old traditions and methods have their importance, especially in building a strong artistic foundation, adapting to modern technologies and modes of communication is how we as artists will stay current & relevant, communicating our messages most effectively to the broadest audience. This is true, not only for art in general, but also of the work I personally make.
7. How do you finance your films?
Until now, my work has operated on a small enough scale that I have been able to cover my own costs without outside assistance. I own or have access to all the equipment I use when shooting, as well as the appropriate software for editing. Additionally, I act as my own writer, director, editor, and post-producer. While this translates into a much heavier work load for me to carry on my own, I prefer the added control it brings to my process.
8. Do you work individually as a video artist/film maker or do you work in a team?
Primarily, I work individually as a video artist. Occasionally I will request assistance with voiceovers, camera operating, etc., but for the most part, I am my own team.
9. Who or what has a lasting influence on your film/video making?
Two Chicago-based artists, Jennifer Montgomery and Deborah Stratman, have deeply influenced my video work. In my time with Jennifer, I have learned the importance of being able to defend my artistic decisions & instincts. From Deborah, I have learned the value of thinking outside of the box and taking risks. Beyond their accomplishments, I deeply respect both artists for their fearlessness in approaching the young, tenuous medium of video, for giving voice to the unique position of women in the field, and for their unwavering commitment to excellence in everything they create and produce.
10. What are your future plans or dreams as a film/video maker?
I dream of one day having both the opportunities and resources to give a voice to non-profit organizations helping to advance underdeveloped population both among the less privileged in the United States and in many of the third world countries in which I have had the honor of spending time.
Can works of yours viewed online besides on VideoChannel? Where?
My work can be viewed on my website: http://hollyrodricks.com