Post-grad life has been nothing short of amazing for 2013 Film/Media alumus, and former Harrington Ranger, Colby Blanchet. He had an incredible experience at URI, which inspired him to set and to achieve his post-graduation goals: to travel and work for a video production company. Through hard work and determination, he gained valuable knowledge and experience during his time at URI, setting himself up for success following graduation.
“I picked up a camera when I was 15 years old and haven’t put it down since,” Colby said of his passion for film and his decision to major in Film/Media. “I’ve always been interested in filmmaking and I knew that’s what I wanted to study,” he said.
In the Classroom
While at URI, Colby took advantage of any opportunity he could get from jumping into production work during freshman year, to studying in L.A. his sophomore year, to challenging himself with advanced coursework during his junior and senior years. “I remember talking with Professor Cheryl Foster after class, and she told me to ‘refuse to settle’, not just in academics but with life,” he said. That phrase really struck a cord with Colby, and it stayed with him throughout the remainder of his college career and still does today.
Colby also attributes a successful college experience to his Film/Media professor, Keith Brown, who helped Colby with his production classes and provided him with gear, feedback, and creative suggestions. “I owe a lot to that guy,” he said. Not only did his professors play a major role in his Film/Media experience, but also his hands-on time in the classroom. “Working on low budget student films taught me to be resourceful, to plan out shots, and get creative.” On top of it all, those long hours spent with his classmates were a memorable and well worth it experience, “Fuelled with too much caffeine and cheap pizza to pull together on a tight deadline,” Colby exclaimed.
Harrington Ranger Experience
During his senior year, Colby was also a Harrington Ranger, part of a select group of students who act as brand ambassadors for the Harrington School. “Working as a Harrington Ranger is the best job for any undergraduate in the Harrington School,” he said. “It provides real world experiences in brand development.” As a Ranger, Colby gained a wide range of experience, as he was never sitting in a cubicle doing busy work. Instead, he was collaborating with others and communicating with prospective students and their parents. “One hour you could be giving personal tours to prospective students around campus and the next, you are back with your co-workers brainstorming, creating, or finalizing event plans.” He was able to have the freedom to create his own work with like-minded individuals from all majors within the Harrington School, and he feels that this was a truly valuable part of his URI career.
It’s been a year since he graduated, and Colby is thankful for the opportunity he had to travel around Europe for three weeks with some of his best friends. With nothing but their plane tickets booked, the plan was to figure out the rest along the way. It was the trip of a lifetime and Colby would recommend this experience to anyone. “There are so many interesting people and places in the world; I definitely got the travel bug after that trip.”
Working for Gnarly Bay Productions
Upon return from Europe, Colby began working for Gnarly Bay Productions in Westerly, RI. Dan Riordan, a 2003 URI graduate, took Colby under his wing and brought him into the company. He also works with Shawn Tyler who graduated from URI in 2009. “I was always a fan of their work on Vimeo, so it’s cool to be working for them now,” he said. Gnarly Bay works with different agencies creating a variety of advertising videos. Their company is very hands on and Colby was able to jump into production assistant work, audio, camera, and editing in less than one year. He also has had the opportunity to travel with Gnarly Bay to France, Germany, Florida, California, Georgia, and New Mexico for commercial shoots. “I couldn’t ask for a better experience,” he said.
Colby’s advice to current and prospective Film/Media students:
“Constantly challenge yourself. There is no direct path in the film industry, but that is the beauty because you can make your own. Life begins at the end of your comfort zone, so take risks, follow your gut, and get after it. Life’s too short to be boring, so find something you love to do and you’ll never have to work a day in your life. The Harrington School will give you the resources to find your future; the rest is hard work. I couldn’t agree more with Richard Harrington: it takes ‘Heart, Smarts, Guts, and Luck’!”
Check out this video from Colby’s European travels!