My Story - Angel Ramirez

Angel RamirezAngel Ramirez, a film major at Cerritos College , recently landed two industry internships, one with the California Film Commission, and another with Fox 11 TV News for the summer. At Fox 11, Ramirez will be inside the studio helping the director of Fox's "Good Day L.A." and shadowing the news directing process.

"I'm into staying behind the camera telling the story," he explained.

"I like to film it the way I see it."

Ramirez faced stiff competition from others applying for the "Good Day L.A." internship. Typically, Denise Luna, Fox's internship coordinator, receives more than 100 resumes a day. She told Ramirez that she took notice of him because she also received a recommendation from Ramirez' Cerritos College professor, Steven Hirohama.

"Mr. Hirohama showed me the door; I just had to walk through it," Ramirez said.

Ramirez, of Norwalk, came to Cerritos College in fall 2005, after he graduated from Norwalk High School. The 19-year-old plans to finish an associate's degree and has interest in film directing school.

At the California Film Commission, Ramirez assists in issuing permits to filmmakers. He offers assistance in scanning through categories of locations using a website called CinemaScout that helps production scouts plan a shoot.

Before his internship at the California Film Commission, Ramirez says he had never realized how much preparation and logistics are involved in getting ready to produce a film. Ramirez feels that through his internship, he's getting a good view of the groundwork involved in production.

"There's so much you need," he said.

"Sometimes you need highways closed and the police involved."

One of the major reasons Ramirez pursued the film-related internships at the California Film Commission and at Fox 11 was to meet people, make contacts and perhaps land a job after graduation.

"It's like a ladder you have to climb," he says.

Both internships are unpaid, and so Ramirez also works at a local CVS pharmacy to help support himself.
Ramirez dreamed of being an actor as a child, using his vivid imagination for everything. A high school teacher inspired Ramirez to pursue filmmaking for a short while, before leaving the high school faculty for a job working at A&E and later MTV, where he helped produce "The Hills."

"Mr. Marin was the one who first taught me what it's really like and introduced me to film," said Ramirez.

"He talked about big and small companies and taught about editing and script writing."

As teenager, Ramirez received his first video camera. He used it to create short films, which he scripted and directed, using his sisters and friends as actors. Before he even had access to editing software, he would edit his films using two VCRs.

Once he became a student at Cerritos College, Ramirez began learning how to use Final Cut Pro, a video editing software.

"The software is really complicated, and there's a lot of stuff to program," he explains.

"But it's so cool to have everything I need to make my film perfect right at the tip of my finger."

Ramirez says his favorite film director is Tim Burton, who directed "Batman Returns" and "Edward Scissorhands."

"I love his style. He's creative, and he likes to use originality," Ramirez says.

Ramirez sees himself directing an independent film in the future. From his perspective, it would be easier to shoot and produce an independent film, while retaining creative freedom.

His classes at Cerritos College have helped him gain further knowledge of filmmaking. His favorite classes have included a course introducing the history of theatre, and a course on motion picture editing, taught by Steven Hirohama.

In one assignment from Hirohama's class, students are given a five-minute video to edit, using sophisticated editing software. Other times, the class is taken outside to film, where they learn about sounds, music, lighting and filtering. They also spend time filming in front of a "green screen," which allows backgrounds and special effects to be added digitally behind a film's subject after filming takes place. The class also incorporates use of scripts in filming.

Ramirez has a script or two of his own sitting in his desk drawer at home. He is inspired to create film scripting through people he meets, stories he hears--even video games.

He wrote a script for a film called "Psyched-Enhancement," but has been unable to cast it.

"It's been sitting in my drawer for three years," he explains.

"It's hard to cast when all my friends are busy and in school, and I can't pay them of course. But one day, I'll do it. I'm just waiting for the right time."

For more information about film classes at Cerritos College, please visit film instructor Steven Hirohama's web page at