Penelope Vaughn

BFA Film and Media Arts

Expected Graduation in Spring 2023

  When I was younger I had a string of failed YouTube Channels. I made content from makeup hauls to room tours. Once I entered High School the whole Youtuber dream had died down and shifted into movie making. I realized I wanted to create story based content. My Sophomore year, I ended up joining Theatre and TV Production, both changed my life for the better. In Theatre I was more focused on the technical sides of things, where I ended up directing two shows and one competitive piece that won a state award. The success I was seeing in Theatre gave me the validation I needed into pursuing my passion for directing as a career. TV Production helped me learn a lot about post-production, helping me earn certifications within editing software.  As much as I loved Theatre, I felt the film medium was more of where I wanted to share my stories. 

Once I got accepted into The University of Tampa’s Film and Media Arts BFA, I was only more reassured as to what I wanted to do. I took a multitude of courses that have really shaped me as a filmmaker ,but the ones that I have learned the most from have to be: Narrative Production with Taylor Curry, Screenwriting Development with Cynthia Savaglio, and Cinematography with Warren Cockerham. To start off with Narrative Production, I felt I grew the most as a director in this course. Curry made sure to teach us basic production skills, but also teach us the art of problem solving, which is arguably the most important skill a filmmaker could learn. In Screenwriting Development, Savaglio taught us how to properly pitch a screenplay and how you logistically get an agent as a writer and her words of advice have stuck with me in everything I’ve written since her course. Professor Cockerham’s Cinematography course may be the most important class an FMX major can take. I finally feel I’m understanding cameras and how to solve real issues on the technical side of film, not just the creative side. 

From these courses, I finally learned the different aspects of the Film Industry I enjoy. I still have the same dreams I did back from High School, of being a writer/director, but I also love Production Design. I enjoy being able to read in between the lines and create a world through art direction. I’ve learned how integral costumes, props, and set decoration are to telling a story. On the other side of production, I found I’m a great fit for Assistant Directing. I’ve always been an organized person and a huge part of Assistant Directing is using organizational skills to keep people on track. This role has taught me the most about how sets run and how a person uses their resources and problem solving capabilities to make sure the film gets done. The biggest thing I think as a Filmmaker I struggle with, would be sound. I’ve found myself always having issues on set with getting sound to be clean or editing sound in post-production. I view sound as such an important part to the filmmaking process, and as much as I’ve grown in it I still feel there is room to grow.

After I graduate in the spring, I fully plan on moving to Atlanta to work myself up the production hierarchy. I would love to get involved on sets in the Art Department or to be a part of a Production team. While I’m working on sets I still fully imagine myself creating my own scripts and pursuing those to get funded. I will also continue to do my freelance editing and writing jobs on the side to support myself. Overall, I want to contribute to the art of storytelling no matter what the job includes.