Recent VMA graduate illuminates life after Emerson, job prospects in LA

by Jason Madanjian / Beacon Staff • April 2, 2015

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Courtesy of Jordan Ferrin
Courtesy of Jordan Ferrin

After graduating last spring with a visual and media arts degree, Jordan Ferrin, 23, has kept busy in Los Angeles with a variety of projects. Most recently, Ferrin was a jack-of-all-trades on the production of the indie horror comedy Crabs!, which isabout horseshoe crabs that were mutated by nuclear radiation and began to wreak havoc. Shot in Northern California, the film wrapped last week.

The Berkeley Beacon reached Ferrin by phone to discuss his role in the film, struggles in the job market after graduating, and future goals. 

 

The Berkeley Beacon: How did this project, Crabs!, come about?

 

Jordan Ferrin: The director of Crabs! was a childhood friend of my brother. He’s been planning on making his first movie for a while, so he invited me to come work on it. It was a smaller feature, with a budget around $650,000.

 

BB: What was your role on the production?

 

Ferrin: It started with three weeks of pre-production, and I was helping Pierce Berolzheimer [the director of Crabs!] the whole time. I did a lot of casting for the movie and location scouting. I also took a lot of pictures, and Pierce ended up asking me to be the set photographer and shoot all the behind-the-scenes footage. 

 

BB: Since you wore so many hats, what was your favorite role on the project? 

 

Ferrin: Set photography. I hadn’t even used a nice camera since all the intro VMA [visual and media arts] classes at Emerson. But with set photography, I got right in the middle of the action on set. I got to see everything that was going on and work with actors and other people on the crew. It just gave me a more holistic view of everything that goes into making a film. 

 

BB: What were some of the challenges while making this film?

 

Ferrin: There were bumps in the road for sure. One of the tricky things about filmmaking is that it involves a lot of interpersonal relationships and working closely with a lot of different people who are all running on minimum sleep and maximum stress. There were definitely a few clashes of personality that made things a little more difficult. 

I think Emerson to a certain extent is its own bubble and isolated from the harsher realities of the outside world. I don’t know if it’s something I expected or didn’t expect. I guess you hear the stories, and you hear there are going to be some less-than-savory types in the film industry. 

 

BB: What advice do you have for this year’s graduating class, knowing that many plan to move to Los Angeles and search for similar careers in the film industry?

 

Ferrin: Hang tough. Getting a job is definitely the biggest challenge in the beginning. The transition is easier for students who are in Emerson LA and then stay out here. But just be ready for it to be a little bit of a struggle at the beginning. 

 

BB: At Emerson, you had a concentration in writing for film and television. Do you still have that passion for screenwriting or have you moved on? 

 

Ferrin: In the film world, definitely screenwriting for film is my passion. I would definitely do some television writing as well. It’s funny because I had never really planned to be working in the on-set world at all because I’m a writer and that’s mostly what I’m into. But I applied to hundreds and hundreds of jobs when I got here. And it’s worked out that since I got here, I’ve been working on-set with productions. I’m open to working on a variety of positions—sometimes out of necessity.

 

BB: What’s next for you? 

 

Ferrin: I finished a first draft of a script recently. The ultimate goal is to sell a script and work for myself. I got back to LA about a week ago after finishing this movie, so now I’m back to the job hunt