Get to Know Molly Farrell White
CAM alum Molly Farrell White ('20) loves the challenging, fast-paced environment of filmmaking and the chance to play with some pretty cool cameras and gear.Megan Briggs | College of Arts & Media Dec 23, 2021
Originally from Highlands Ranch, Colorado, Molly Farrell White (’20) was born and raised in the Centennial state. White attended CU Denver to study in the Film & Television (FiTV) department of the College of Arts & Media (CAM). After graduating in 2020 with the FiTV outstanding graduate recognition, she started working full time as a freelance 1st/2nd Assistant Camera. She also takes jobs as camera operator, Director of Photography, and Grip/Electric Swing. Appreciating CAM’s initiative to connect students in different areas of interest and study, White says this is particularly helpful in the entertainment and art industries since “all of our jobs and passions somehow coincide in one way or another.”
1. What about filmmaking excites you? What are some of the perks of your job?
What excites me most about filmmaking is how fast-paced and creatively engaging it is! From pre-production, production, and post, I constantly see the creative gears working, especially when things change last minute on set. Some perks of my job are that I get to play with the coolest cameras, lenses, and support gear, as well as being able to meet so many new and interesting people on every single shoot I get hired on. There is never a dull moment on set!
2. Which classes (or instructors) proved particularly influential in your career path? What about these classes helped you formulate an idea of what you’d like to do?
Every teacher in the film program has been influential to me in some way, shape, or form. Eric Jewett's knowledge of the industry and belief in me was vital to my studies, as well as my career today. I learned so much about cinematography from Hans Rosenwinkel, as he is a working DP [director of photography] on top of being a teacher. Andrew Bateman always pushed me to follow what I was passionate about. Jess McGaugh taught the intro class all about lighting, grip, camera, and this was my first look into the world of camera, where I have ended up. Jim Phelan always believed in me and my abilities as a filmmaker, and provided amazing opportunities during my time in CAM. Craig Volk (now retired) taught me the ins-and-outs of writing for the screen in every capacity. David Liban always excelled as the head of the FiTV department. I think the culmination of these professors and their classes helped me realize that, although I was learning about every aspect of filmmaking, I wanted to focus on the camera side!
3. Can you tell us about a challenge in your career/the industry you are in that you find invigorating?
One of the biggest challenges I find in the industry and in my particular department is that it is so male-dominated. As a female in film AND the camera department, I feel the need to showcase that I can do what any man can do, whether that be lifting the 30+lb camera or knowing the cameras I am working with inside and out. I find that this invigorates me to do more research, get more experience, and always hone my skills so I can compete, and work, with the best of the best.
4. How did you evolve as a person as you studied in CAM?
I definitely think I evolved as a person while I was in the film program. I think that over the span of my first day in a CAM class to right now as I write this, I have learned who I am, what I believe in (even more so than before), and the type of people I want to surround myself with. I found that growing up as a somewhat introverted person, I had to branch out and engage with others, because this industry is all about networking. And CAM/the film program helped me learn the skills to do that, all while working with some of the coolest fellow students and filmmakers.
5. What would you say to the young person deliberating between going to film school and learning the ropes on their own?
I think film school is incredibly useful, especially with the curriculum in the FiTV program. I am so grateful we had to take at least one class on some of the most important aspects of filmmaking (cinematography, editing, directing, etc.), because I was able to find what I liked to do vs. what I didn't. Using the internet is a great tool to learn without going to film school, but the ability to talk to and be mentored by seasoned professionals and have access to gear, programs, and classes that would be harder to find is such a valuable tool. I am so glad I made the decision to go to film school, and I truly wouldn't be where I am today in my career, just under two years post-graduation, without the professors and knowledge they instilled in me during my time at CU Denver.