Semester Endgame

Avengers Endgame opens this week!!!! That might not seem immediately pertinent to the CFILM BLOG, despite the importance of certain Wesleyan Alumni to earlier installments in the franchise, but trust me – it is a LEARNING MOMENT! This latest Marvel/Disney behemoth comes during the final weeks of the Cinema of Adventure and Action class where we have been thinking a lot about genre, cliffhangers and heroes.  We began the class studying American serials of the sound era, starting from the book I wrote on the subject (which itself grew out of earlier versions of the class). These low-budget chapterplays were released to theaters once a week from the 1930s through the mid 1950s and, in many ways, they started trends that have recently come to dominate our action cinema. The films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe owe quite a lot to the humble serial tradition that first brought superhero comic-book adaptations to the screen.

As the semester closes, we are particularly focused on Endgame because the previous installment, Avengers Infinity War, ended with a serial-style cliffhanger. Like an episode of Flash Gordon or Perils of Nyoka, the last Avengers movie concluded not with the heroes hanging from the edge of a cliff, but fully plummeting into the abyss. The movie left audiences not with the question of whether the heroes will win, but how they can possibly manage to come back to life, roll back time, and beat Thanos. These kinds of questions were essential to the sound serial, which left young viewers with problems to solve and to roles to play on playgrounds and in back yards during the week between chapters. Cliffhangers were lucrative model, helping to keep the story present in the daily lives of fans and, most important, encouraging paid attendance at next week’s show. Marvel is on the cusp of unprecedented box-office. Endgame will open on 4,600 screens in North America, has already sold out 4000 shows in advance, and is expected to rake in $850 million worldwide. For a historian, the remarkable thing is that this all hangs on a plot device that was refined 70 years ago in more-or-less forgotten formula films.

A few weeks ago, I presented an academic paper on serials and Marvel at the Action Cinema Now! Conference in Reading England. The boundaries between “serious scholarship” and teaching are wonderfully fluid at Wesleyan because our students are sharp, challenging, and inquisitive. Thanks to the members of the Cinema of Adventure and Action, I could step out of the classroom, into the conference room, and back into class without changing the conversation. CFILM faculty are lucky in this way.


In both the conference and the class, we’ve been pondering how films handle heroic failure, and what viewers can possibly get out of seeing everything go terribly wrong up on screen. Infinity War is a terrific test case, because the universe’s greatest heroes fail SO SPECTACULARLY! Last-minute actions all come to naught, and with the snap of his magic fingers Thanos extinguishes half of the living population in the multi-verse. Then, our heroes begin to fall.  Their deaths are carefully ordered for maximum emotion. First Bucky Barnes and various Wakandans turn to dust, establishing the principle of disintegration.


Black Panther is the first top line hero to die, and he does so quickly off frame.


He’s followed by teenage Groot who’s slower fading gives Rocket time to react.


Scarlet Witch, Falcon, Mantis, and Drax lead up to more prominent Avengers like Star Lord and Doctor Strange.


But the final dusting is the most painful. Figured as the death of a son before his father, Peter Parker protests his demise and embraces Tony Stark even as he evaporates: “I don’t want to go, please.”


The sequence revels in the violation of innocence, suffering, and recognition of loss, melodrama’s trademark emotional cocktail. The action film and the tear jerker are close cousins.

But, as in any serial, even as the heroes die, we know that they will revive to fight another day. Peter Parker’s death, for instance, is bracketed by Marvel’s well publicized plans for another Spiderman film to be released this summer. Cliffhangers benefit from a kind of dual apprehension: knowing that this isn’t really the end allows us to bask in the depiction of that end.

This turns out to be a great lesson in cinema viewing and making: audiences are always aware that what they are watching is more-or-less nonsense, but that doesn’t stop us from investing and living in the moment. Great films can capture us in the spectacular present. Like a serial from the 1940s, Marvel has managed to extend that moment between movies. Disney and Marvel have dug into the tried and true markets for games and toys and they’ve fed a broad fan culture devoted to the constant and continual interaction with the story.



Trailers, interviews, toy releases, and publicity images become fodder for speculation, conjecture, and debate. Marvel plays a good game. The studio famously plants misleading and digitally altered images in film trailers to feed the conversation. Fan sites compare the Infinity War trailer and film to reveal the removal of stones from Thanos’ gauntlet and the appearance of the Hulk who is mostly absent from the film.

Each successive Endgame trailer has been immediately subjected to frame-by-frame scrutiny, here the 3D trailer reveals figures in an explosion not visible in the 2D trailer.

Advertisements for toys are analyzed to predict story events. Fan theories of how Thanos will be ultimately defeated have spawned memes involving Ant Man shrinking down and attacking the villain from behind. Popular film fans are exhibiting the obsessive behavior we expect from CFILM students and their professors! At the same time, leaks about stars who are leaving the franchise have prepared us for strong emotions.  Iron Man, Thor, and Captain America are bound for heroic sacrifice. We will cry!

So these are some of the things we are thinking about, and some of the lessons we are learning on the eve of Endgame. But high-minded thoughts about popular art and film are one thing, actual PREDICTIONS about what will happen are another. As a test of the Wesleyan students’ spontaneous genius, I put the question of what will happen to my class. Here are some of their theories.


  • Ant-Man will be key to defeating Thanos, unfortunately not through more popular means, but probably through something or other involving the quantum realm


  • Tony Stark WON’T die, but will retire or something. Marvel is betting on people THINKING he will die and I think RDJ loves money too much to write himself out of these movies for good (even if he would make a great Uncle Ben surrogate for Spidey)


  • Captain America is GONE. Hope that he gets sent back in time or something but he might just be dead


  • Hawkeye might die? Or retire, I don’t think Jeremy Renner wants to keep doing these


  • Literally everyone else comes back to life (Also thru time stone?), including Gamora and Loki who died pre-snap


  • They destroy time stone and infinity gauntlet so they can never pull this trick on us again (until they do anyway)


  • Groots gonna do something cool


  • The cliffhanger resolves much like a serial would — we see everyone dissolving, dying, the horror, the horror. And then, we see someone we didn’t see originally — turns out, everyone dissolving wasn’t dead. Instead, snot-nosed Spider-Man pressed the wrong button in his Iron Man suit and accidentally teleported everyone to Toledo.


  • Lest you think this kills all drama, never fear. Toledo happens to be the location of Thanos’ sun drenched villa, so everyone is still in danger. It’s up to the Avengers to embark on a quest to Toledo. And along the way, Iron Man will fall into Lake Erie and freeze to death.


  • The Ant-Man/Thanos butt predictions are true, and Ant-Man dives head first into Thanos, bringing along Black Widow (shrinking her down to the size of a black widow first). They travel through Thanos, turning back time, and force Thanos to drop the gauntlet by controlling his muscles. So everyone lives happily ever after, and then in retirement, Black Widow is inspired by her trip through Thanos and becomes Ms. Frizzle, to teach children what she’s learned scientifically about the body. So, it turns out, Marvel’s 22 film saga has be the origin story of Magic School Bus.


  • I’m expecting a time travel plot, I’m hoping for some time paradoxes, because those are fun and funny. If they’re doing time travel, they could have an avenger appear from the future and give hope/make jokes to the grieving Avengers (this is very Doctor Who, but everything should be more like Doctor Who, so there).


  • When trying to figure out what’s going to happen in the next film, it’s hard not to be informed by what my dad has come to call “metadata” or “metaspoilers”. Essentially, that consists of anything happening in the real world production of the film that spoils what happens in the fictional world of the film. For example, if Aaron Taylor-Johnson was spotted on set or was on the official cast list, it would spoil the fact that Quicksilver is probably in the film in some way. It could be a flashback scene, but all of a sudden there’s a small clue as to what might occur in the film. This information can appear even when not sought out, as oftentimes it comes to me via my Twitter stream, without me searching for Avengers news in any way. Another example is the much-discussed end of Robert Downey, Jr.’s and Chris Evans’ contracts. Something has to happen to them, since they’re not in any more movies. Today’s film watching era will be defined by this, as nothing like this has ever been available or even desired in the past. There was obviously speculation like this in the serial era, but it was completely uninformed.


  • I don’t see a path to a conclusion in Endgame without some sort of otherworldly powers. What that eliminates is a massive fight with Thanos and simply shattering the gauntlet or the stones.


  • I’ve seen a set photo that is a recreation of the Battle of NY from Avengers, and so that implies some sort of Time Travel. Ant-Man and the Wasp’s placement in the MCU timeline points to the importance of the Quantum Realm. To me, what makes the most sense is that they use the Quantum Realm to travel back and fight Thanos in key moments before “the snap” even happened.


  • I think that all the dead come back, excepting maybe Loki, but the cost is Steve Rogers life. He’ll die either at Thanos’s hand or as a tradeoff for the lives that were lost.


  • Tony retires at the end of the film; I don’t think he dies.


  • I think Nebula has a massive role to play, judging by her character arc thus far. She likely follows her comic storyline and delivers the finishing blow to Thanos. The rest of our heroes live, including Thor and Hulk, who go on to be in future MCU films.


  • I’m curious about whether this culture of speculation and looking for every little production detail will ever disappear, though it likely will not. Game of Thrones has done an exemplary job at keeping secrets secret, and there is almost no “metadata” to be found. Then again, Game of Thrones may be the last weekly show of its scale before there is a complete shift to streaming and entire seasons being released at once.


  • I find character deaths are usually a less interesting story route, so I’m hoping a bunch of them live, but choose to move on.


  • Thanos will die. I think he’s pretty much beyond redemption.

The CFILM Podcast! Wesleyan at the AFI


This week’s CFILM podcast is all about Wes at AFI. AFI Professor Ed Decter (’79) is here to introduce the program and tell us what it’s about with help from program alum Onitra Johnson (’19). They talk about their experience in Hollywood, the professionals they met, and what the program teaches Wes students.

Wesleyan at AFI offers an immersive, on-the-ground look at what it’s like working in the entertainment industry, with an emphasis on our FABULOUS alumni and what they’re doing now.

The program is designed for Senior film majors, but Juniors will also find a lot to learn here (as Onitra can attest). If you’re interested, email Professor Higgins at Registration is first-come, first-served, and must be finalized by May 10!



Alumni Updates!

As our department grows, it can get harder to keep track of where our alumni are and what they are up to. Fortunately, we have a blog! Below, you’ll find a by-no-means comprehensive list of what our Wesleyan Film grads have been up to in 2019. Behold!

Sarah Shachat, Gabriel Urbina, and Zach Valenti are creators of the very famous audio dramas Wolf 359 and Time Bombs— but now they’re turning their sights toward education with the online course Audio Fiction 101.

Last year, we interviewed Mary Robertson about her political documentary work, including The Circus and She’s the Ticket. At the time she was starting work on a new series, Tricky Dickwhich is airing now on CNN.

Ethan Young isn’t the only alum making waves in music videos. Recent projects include Jordan Fish’s video for Arcade Fire’s Baby Mine (made with fellow Wes grad Julia Simpson) and Maegan Houang’s work on Charly Bliss’ Chatroom.

Baby Mine



Our alumni are also hard at work on traditional short and feature films— Danielle Krudy and Bridgette Cole will premier their feature BLOW THE MAN DOWN at Tribeca, while Carlen May Mann’s short film THE RAT had its moment at Sundance.

Blow the Man Down


The Rat

Of course, this is a small fraction of what’s going on in and out of the film department. Don’t forget to keep checking in to stay up-to-date!

The CFILM Podcast! Scott and the Wolf Part 1: Time Bombs

Welcome back to the CFILM podcast! This week, Scott Higgins sits down for part one of a discussion with the alumni/award winners behind the audio drama Wolf 359. Sarah Shachat, Zach Valenti, and Gabriel Urbina have a new series called Time Bombs, a gripping little product they churned out in a week. We kick off the two-part interview with a discussion of this writing process and time bombs themselves as a narrative device.

If you enjoy this interview, don’t forget to check out the team’s work! They have a new course available on the art of the audio drama which you can explore here. And tune in next time for even more on their creative process!

Things That Happened

It’s been a hurricane of an academic year, but Spring Break forces a moment of calm before everything is once more plunged into chaos. So, while we’re in the eye of the storm, the time seems right to mention a few of the THINGS THAT HAPPENED over the past several months in CFILM.

Last October I made my way to Shanghai China as part of a symposium on the Liberal Arts with Michael Roth. There, we met future Wesleyan students, Wesleyan Parents, and other friends of the University. Sha Ye (MA ’96) hosted a dinner followed by a screening of The Meg, last summer’s blockbuster Chinese/American co-production. Afterward I moderated a discussion with Jon Turtletaub (’85) and Jon Hoeber (93), the film’s director and writer who flew in for the occasion.

Jon Turtletaub
Jon Hoeber








Though they graduated nearly a decade apart, John and Jon collaborate like they are old friends. They speak the same cinematic language. The next day I offered a glimpse inside the classroom with a session based on FILM 307: The Language of Hollywood, and dove into a far-reaching conversation about collaborations between Hollywood and China with Jon, Jon, Professor Haibo Li of Shanghai University and Julia Zhu (’91) of Pheonix Live Entertainment.

Scott Higgins, Haibo Li, Julia Zhu, Jon Hoeber, Jon Turtletaub

Last November my introductory course hosted a surprise guest and a super-secret film. The guest was Peter Farrelly, the film was Green Book. He talked about the movie, his career, and the state of popular cinema with Jeanine Basinger, and then fielded questions from the class. The students did their professor proud — making sharp observations about sound, production design, story, and asking tough questions about the movie’s cultural stakes. One student noted that a door opening in the background caught his eye toward the end of the film and the writer/director revealed: “That was me. We liked the take and kept it.” Farrelly is one of those rare articulate creators who can explain exactly how and why he makes things, and he does it without complication or pretense. It was a semester-defining moment.

Peter Farrelly, Jeanine Basinger

Earlier this winter, we hosted our annual screening at The Buttonwood Tree of short films produced by students for Sadia Shephard’s project learning course. This year’s event, titled In Their Own Words, featured seven documentaries focusing the lives of people in Middletown and Hartford. Shephard explained that the course challenges students to “learn about where we are in the world, how to build and create empathy from other people’s perspectives, and to actively become engaged citizens.” The venue was PACKED with community members and students. We saw films about first-time voters, first-generation Americans, Jazz musicians, and a local transgender youth activist. If you missed it, you can read more about the night in the Middletown Press. You can also hear about last year’s documentaries on our podcast.

The Crowd at the Buttonwood Tree








In February, I attended the annual Film Alumni event in Los Angeles with Jeanine Basinger, where we had the chance to catch up with a few of the hundreds of former students now thriving in the entertainment industry.

Milla Bell-Hart, Kait Halibozek, Siyou Tan
Michael Roth addresses alumni in Los Angeles








Time was short, however, as I had to return to campus for a visit by Korean film producer Dongyeon Won. Mr. Won is responsible for some of Korea’s most successful popular films, most recently the mega-smashes Along with the Gods: The Two Worlds and Along with the Gods: The Last 49 Days. We screened The Two Worlds and had the opportunity to talk with him about the Asian film industry, popular storytelling, and all things cinema. His visit was graciously arranged by Phoebe Shin (P ’17) CEO of Adante Design.

Dongyeon Won discusses producing with film students







Two recent graduates also returned to share and discuss their work with our majors. Ethan Young (’13), who wrote our blog in January, brought his visual album for avant-funk artist (and Grammy winner) Esperanza Spalding’s 12 Little Spells. The videos are pieces of pure visual music, and seeing Ethan’s abstractions projected on our giant cinema screen was an ecstatic perceptual experience.

Ethan Young












A few days later Conor Byrne (’11) discussed his successful career as a writer and director of prize-winning shorts and advertisements. Conor, who is helping mentor a few of our senior thesis filmmakers this spring, took time to talk to us about his path into the industry, his strategies for staying focused and creative, and his feature-filmmaking plans. You can see some of his distinctive work here. We will hear much more about Ethan and Conor in years to come.

Conor Byrne
Byrne’s work for Skittles










Just before break, archivist Joan Miller offered film students a tour of the Reid Family Cinema Archives. It was a chance to get up close to film history. We looked at items from the Frank Capra, Kay Francis, and Elia Kazan collections, as well as script notes and a student film poster designed by Joss Whedon.

Students gather in the Reid Family Cinema Archives

Finally, local author Dr. Michael Good visited to show and discuss a film based on his book about the German officer who helped save his mother and over 250 Jews from genocide in Vilnius Lithuania. The book The Search for Major Plagge tells an incredibly moving story brought to screen in a recent Canadian/Israeli documentary. Over 100 community members and students gathered for our discussion.

Michael Good (left)








After break, we all slam into the other side of the “storm” which is April and May. We will have more terrific events, including a talk on recent Italian comedy by New York Times critic (and visiting Professor) A.O. Scott, a workshop on adapting movies to videogames hosted by game designer Matthew Weise, and a visit from screenwriter/producer/director Ed Decter who will announce our next edition of the Wesleyan at the AFI Summer Program. Our seniors will finish their thesis projects, share their work with the world at screenings and presentations, and meet alumni at our annual Life After Wesleyan seminars. Everyone else has papers, tests, films, and class presentations ahead of them. Nothing can fill a schedule or a mind like spring term. See you on the other side!

The CFILM Podcast! Ben Model on W. C. Fields and It’s the Old Army Game!

Just when you thought we were done with W. C. Fields! Ben Model, our resident expert on silent film, is here with a short guest episode on Fields’ silent work. Model discusses how these silents fit into the canon of such a verbal comedian, both as historical artifacts and as invaluable examples of his work and vision.

Don’t forget to listen to previous episodes of our podcast for more W. C. Fields material! And check out Ben Model’s own podcast for more on the silents.

Where Are They Now? Sarah Shachat Is Aggressively Not Making Movies

What do you do with a film degree? We reached out to some recent alumni to get the answers.

It’s kind of amazing how well the film major has served me in aggressively not making movies. After flailing my way through various internships and discovering with almost scientific precision all the creative work I don’t like doing, I’ve spent the past four years in New York, working with fellow ’12 alum Zach Valenti and my perennial presentation group partner Gabriel Urbina (’13) making podcasts. First and most notably among these is a sprawling sci-fi audio drama called Wolf 359. It was nominated for a Webby (!), is hilariously still getting nominated for awards in the fiction podcasting community, and has hit over 8.5 million downloads to date. We got the project off the ground and had the great pleasure of working almost entirely with Wes alums on the show, including fellow film majors Noah Masur (’15) and Julian Silver (’12). The show’s led to all kinds of strange and wonderful things: pretty much daily fan-art, some incredible writing and teaching opportunities, and a really fulfilling sense of collegiality with some of the unspeakably cool creators working in audio right now. The major prepared me for how to collaborate well and tackle storytelling challenges with clear intentionality, but definitely not how to deal with someone getting words I wrote tattooed on their body; it’s been wild.

This year, though, I’ve been working with Zach and Gabriel to develop short, medium, and long-term projects, in audio and also not, and doing a little film writing of my own as well. Most notably there, I think, I had a piece published on Bright Wall/Dark Room on Only Angels Have Wings and the many ways in which Cary Grant is an ass (criticism is also wild). We just launched a foray into nonfiction podcasts with a storytelling game show called No Bad Ideas and that’s been a fun experiment thus far. So the two words I think describe my life after the film major are unexpected and busy. Still learning how to balance creative work with the business of day jobs, not undercharging for freelance projects, and just living in NYC, and I have a lot more grey hairs to show for it, but the ways in which the major rewired my brain have proved manifold and immensely useful. Even more than that, though, film folks working in creative industries and also not have been the collaborators/emotional supports that have helped me get work out there and just some of the most meaningful friendships I’ve had.

Where Are They Now? Adi Slepack Is Using Her Creativity to Its Fullest Potential

What do you do with a film degree? We reached out to some recent alumni to get the answers.


Photo by Bryan Derballa

When I was graduating from Wesleyan in the summer of 2016, I was amongst the lucky few who had a gig lined up for June. I had reached out to a friend-of-a-friend (class of 2015) the winter prior, because she was working in marketing for a film distribution company whose films I really enjoyed. We grabbed an informal dinner and I asked her about how she liked her job and was navigating life after college. At the time, she told me GKIDs – the company she was working for – likely wouldn’t be hiring. But when April rolled around, the call for internships went up and I was ready. I got the internship and spent my first year out of Wes in production-adjacent jobs. First, making GIFs and doing outreach for GKIDs and then making a huge leap to the office next door, where I worked as the Programming and Operations Assistant for the New York International Children’s Film Festival. Both of these jobs were lovely. The people were nice and I didn’t find myself doing any of the tasks I was told my first jobs out would include: fetching coffee, mindless busy work, etc. But, I still had the lingering feeling that production was where I really wanted to be. My ultimate goal, was to become a writer or producer down the line (or so I imagined). Now that I felt confident  that I could thrive at an industry-adjacent job, I figured my next step was to start paying my dues, meeting the right people, and working my way up the ladder more immediately behind the camera.

I asked those around me about how to get started, and while I didn’t end up with any direct ties to the production world, I was pointed in the direction of a Facebook group for production jobs and day-playing. I saw a posting for a two-day job based in Long Island that was prioritizing locals, so I sent off my resume. In a few hours, I had booked my first gig; it turned out to be a Netflix production and after a day of building IKEA furniture for the production office, I got pulled on as the Art Department PA for four months of the film shoot. That was June 2017 and I’ve been working consistently as an Art PA since. The job mostly consists of organizing and distributing drawings and classic PA runs, but the nice thing about the art department though is that you deal with less garbage — both figuratively and literally. So, I stuck with it. Over the course of the year, I’ve become more interested in the graphics department, which works to create all the signage, logos, paperwork, and photo elements that exist in the background of shows. It’s a really cool opportunity to contribute to the universe of the show and also do artistic work on a day-to-day basis. I’m now working on Madam Secretary and am PAing with the graphics department specifically, which has been amazing for training me and helping me build a portfolio to ultimately join the union.

While all of this has taken place over the past two years, I was simultaneously working on a card game called Someone Has Died. It was a group project I started with at Wesleyan with Ellie Black (CEAS & FILM ‘17) in CFILM’s “Video games and/as Aesthetics” course. I went into that class looking to learn more about narrative in video games and came out of it with a hilariously dumb party game. The class responded really positively when we presented it and both of us couldn’t help but think that we should try to see it through. During my first year out of school, I started looking for ways to playtest, refine, and exhibit Someone Has Died. I began attending game design meetups and Playcrafting expos, which featured hundreds of games-in-progress (both digital and analog) looking for player feedback. I started meeting other game designers who were had Kickstarted their projects and were giving me advice about how I could do the same. After seeing that people were really enjoying Someone Has Died, I recruited my friend Liz Roche (ENGL & FGSS ‘16) to join the team and we started aiming higher.

In December 2016, we found out that we were accepted to showcase with Indie Megabooth at PAX East, one of the biggest game conventions in the country. In 2017, we exhibited not only at PAX East but also at PAX West, IndieCade, the Boston Festival of Indie Games, Five Points Festival, and PAX Unplugged. In September of that year, we launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund the first print run of the game; we asked for $15,000 and – to our surprise – made over $50,000. The process of fulfilling the Kickstarter campaign was a daunting and arduous one, especially for two bozos who hardly knew what they were doing. That being said, after six months of playtesting and producing additional cards and another six months of finishing artwork, coordinating manufacturing, and waiting for shipments, we pulled it off. We had a lot of support, mainly from Kickstarter itself; they invited us to exhibit with them at conventions and accepted us to their Creators in Residence program in the summer of 2018. While working out of their offices, we were given an office space to take ourselves seriously and also to hold a packing party to have people help us with rewards. Now that the Kickstarter is entirely fulfilled, we’re looking towards the future – a second printing for Someone Has Died and hopefully more games to come.

On a personal level, working on my own venture while simultaneously working my way through the film industry has been inspiring, but also… unexpected? My career trajectory is not at all on the track I foresaw when leaving Wesleyan. I’ve always liked fiddling around in Photoshop but never imagined myself seriously pursuing graphic design, let alone producing a card game that ended up at conventions and store shelves. But the other side of the coin is that I’m more confident in my  ability to produce projects on my own. I recognize my value in a way that makes it hard to think about spending much more of my time making runs and coffee. Even if it’s not what I originally set out to do, I’m now steering my career in the direction of utilizing my creativity to its fullest potential and am excited to discover what surprises lie ahead.

Adi Slepack’s personal work can be found at her website!

The CFILM Podcast: It’s A Gift Part Two!

Analyzing comedy may not always be the best way to make it funnier, but when the people doing the analysis are Scott Higgins and Jeanine Basinger, it definitely helps. After going over some of the film’s context in part one, we dive right into what makes it work. Vaudeville! Cruelty! Character actors! All this and more on this week’s episode of the CFILM Podcast!

Where Are They Now? Hannah Rimm’s Job Title Has Changed a Million Times

What do you do with a film degree? We reached out to some recent alumni to get the answers.

Hi Wes friends! My name is Hannah Rimm – I am class of 2015 and now live in Brooklyn, NY. My job title has changed a million time since graduating, but as of right now I am a writer, photographer, and social media producer.

I began my career four days after graduation as the marketing coordinator (and then manager) of the indie animation distribution company, GKIDS, known for bringing beautiful foreign animation, such as Spirited Away and Song of the Sea, to the US (shout out to the Wes people who still work there!).  At GKIDS I did everything from running marketing campaigns to social media to hiring as many Wes interns as I could. It was a really amazing way to kickstart my career and had some pretty cool perks – I got to go to the Oscars!

While at GKIDS, I began to freelance as a writer and portrait photographer and after three years I decided to leave to pursue freelancing full time. I’m now seven months into freelancing in social media, writing, and photography and I love it! My main client is the podcast company, WNYC Studios, where I write social media copy for podcasts such as Radiolab, Death, Sex, and Money, and 2 Dope Queens. I write mostly about sexual and mental health (thanks screenplay thesis for prepping me for this!) for publications such as Women’s Health, Allure, and Healthline. My photography focuses on honest portraiture and mental health.

You can see my work and get in touch here: or follow me on Instagram – @hannahrimm – always down to meet fellow Wes alums!

Photo by Carey Macarthur