Some filmmakers are born. Others are handed a mini DV camcorder while their friends are attempting to master the PS4.
Jerry Sun, a rising junior, is in that latter camp. “I was a 4-foot tall kid who knew nothing about movies when I received my first camera,” he recalls. “At first it was a hobby, but as I got older, filmmaking became more and more of a passion for me. When it was time to go to college, I was like, ‘why not?’”
But let’s not get ahead of the story. In high school, Jerry remembers being “the only kid who made videos on campus — everyone knew me as ‘Jerry with the camera.’” None of his classmates had a lick of filmmaking experience, let alone any exposure to the film industry. “Thankfully, I had supportive teachers who pushed me and encouraged me to pursue this field,” he says. “This seemed like the only option where I would be truly happy.”
Upon entering Woodbury, Jerry had only the vaguest notion of what majoring in film would entail: “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but as my academic career progressed, I became more and more passionate about cinematography, thanks in large part to my professor, mentor, and friend Sam Kim.”
For Jerry, Woodbury’s program combines serious academic business with a welcoming vibe. “What stands out are the small class sizes and the ability to socialize with fellow classmates and professors,” he says. The experiences have been eclectic and consistently engaging. “From working on music videos for kinda famous people, to working on commercials for major brands, to working on feature films — all have had an impact on who I am as a person and as a professional working in the film industry. It’s been amazing.”
As he has worked his way through the Filmmaking program, Jerry has refined both his craft and his career goals. “I really like films that make a difference– that spark conversation, open eyes to a new perspective, or encourage a movement,” he says. “I look at movies for their story, but also at how the camera tells that story, through camera angles and lighting.” Among his role models: Roger Deakins, cinematographer for Blade Runner 2049.
Jerry served as a camera intern and 2nd camera assistant on the forthcoming indie feature Monster Party. “The film not only opened my eyes to the world of cinematography, it pushed me to ‘do things the right way,’ not the easy way,” he says. “The camera assistants I worked with held me to a high standard, even though they knew I was new to this.” He has interned at Paramount for Di Bonaventura Pictures and done stints as a camera assistant on commercials (JC Penney and AT&T) and music videos (Kanye West’s and Skrillix’s labels).
He also worked on a certain upcoming Marvel release, but he can’t talk about that yet. He signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Grown up, indeed.