Lights, Camera, Learning

Cathy Ye ’19 stands next to professional lighting equipment.

Cathy Ye ’19
Hometown: Vancouver, B.C.
Major: Cinema and Media Studies (CAMS), psychology minor
Program: Cinema Sarah Lawrence on Nantucket Island

What drew you to the Sarah Lawrence cinema program?

As a CAMS student who knows she wants to become a director of photography, I knew [the program] would give me the professional production experience and technical training that I most lacked at Wellesley.

What courses are you taking?

In addition to our normal classes—literature, screenwriting and directing, [and] cinema studies, we each get to choose an elective. I am in [a] cinematography and lights workshop. Classes and workshops fill up most of our day, and when I’m not in class, I’m working on the six different short films I’m involved in for our upcoming film slam, [working on] financing for a feature film I’m collaborating on, and exploring Nantucket’s multiple bike paths.

Tell us about your films.

Our [feature] film, Martin Eden, adapted from Jack London’s book, tells the tale of Martin, who, after meeting the college-educated Ruth, strives to escape his social class through writing. Through the cinematography workshop, I have learned so incredibly much. I have gotten much hands-on, practical experience with professional lighting and camera equipment. Through our various film slams, I will be the director of photography for two narrative shorts, as well as producing for a five-episode indie episodic series. The amount of professional, practical knowledge and advice I have received currently is so much more than I could’ve ever asked for from this program.

What’s your favorite part of the day?

To be honest, preparing to go to bed. We have such a full day every day (literally class from 9 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. some days) that when it comes nighttime, I’m ready. I’ve got a routine where I’ll make a mug of mint tea, strike a candle and put on soft music, do some reading, and then maybe meditate a bit.

Lessons you’ve learned so far?

Fake it till you make it. Confidence really is key—hard to obtain, but oh, so charming. Confidence really can get you places. Add some ability on top of it, and that’s a 2-in-1 power package.

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