Robyn Pease

Get to know some of our College of Media students! Robyn Pease is a Class of 2023 media and cinema studies major. 

What excited you about majoring in media and cinema studies here at Illinois?
What excited me most is that there are a lot of promising resources here. There is a lot of involvement and opportunities to network, and from a little girl's standpoint with my eyes wide open, it’s like “Oh wow! That’s so cool!” It’s a rewarding experience when you are able to come to a place with a multitude of resources and see those same resources help alumni to do great things. It helped me realize that I can go on to do the great things I envisioned for myself as well.

What is your career goal once you graduate from Illinois?
It feels as though everyone who goes into film has this big dream of being a director, but beyond that, I just want to be involved hands-on with producing. Working on sets, being on creative teams to work on music videos, talking about editing, and things like that.

What has been your favorite student involvement memory so far?
I am the Director of Photography (DOP) in one of my classes and we had someone who was very renowned in the industry come to discuss lighting with the class (MACS 480: Advanced Filmmaking/MACS 481: Advanced Filmmaking Studio). I had my first moment of doing an actual job in practical filmmaking. It solidified that this is what I really want to do.

Which Media class do you feel has been most valuable to you and your major so far?
Most valuable to me and my major was MACS 370, which delved into cinematography and sound design (very similar concepts). I was able to learn a lot of what an assistant director does, learning how to pivot on production sets, readjust, work under pressure when scripts are not finalized until two days before a shoot, and the list goes on and on. The value in that experience for me was learning the content that we studied and the experience of coping, if things go wrong, by being able to problem solve.

What advice would you give to a fellow undergraduate student majoring in media and cinema studies?
My biggest piece of advice would be to get involved. It is a cliche, but it reigns supreme and is true. Find someone who is doing what you want to do and learn from them. If your teacher is involved in film production and is now teaching it, ask to shadow them, ask them about their work and how they did it. Do not be afraid to ask and seek out the knowledge you want to know for yourself. You would be doing a disservice to yourself if you don’t ask questions. The worse they can say is “No” or “I don’t know.” Then at least you know you asked and didn’t shut the door on yourself before they did. Because they can always say yes, too. Experiment! Go find an opportunity and try it out.

—Interview by Olivia Rice, New Voices Intern