Graphic Design graduate Mac Kokoska has gone from the CAT classroom to the Okanagan film set in just 3 short months.
You graduated from Graphic and Digital Design this past September and now you are busy working in film here in Kelowna – how did this happen?
I recently graduated from CAT last September in the Graphic Design Program. It was because of a lovely new CAT PD (Personal Development) teacher Amanda Cama that I was allowed the opportunity to work in the film industry! I had only just returned home to Kamloops when I got the call with a job offer! It’s been a super intense and exciting experience so far! I never thought film was where I’d go.
What is your title and what do you do in that role?
I was offered the graphics artist/playback for the art department. It was not long after that I realized the amount of work it would be. Not only did I have a pile of printed graphics to make, but the movie was a thriller with an online antagonist who I had to be! The timeline for the creation of all these graphics was less than three weeks!
Luckily I could bring in some backup! I invited Jaymz Hamiltion a CAT student, alumni and former film department teacher, to be an assistant in my massive workload! Thanks so much, Jaymz! Together we completed the thriller movie successfully.
It’s a lot like joining the circus; you get to meet so many characters.”
Talk us through a typical day for you…
A typical day was a long 12 hour day either on-set or home working on graphics to bring to print.
I have now finished working on my second movie, a Hallmark romance. It was a completely different experience. I have made an array of completely different web and printed graphics. This film features a brand re-design as well as a graphic designer character.
I’ve made more graphics in 2 months than I probably made in 6 months at CAT, so I’ll never complain about the homework amount at school again!
What is the most challenging thing about what you’re currently doing?
The biggest challenge I’ve found working in the film industry is the long 12 hour days! Keeping a healthy lifestyle and balancing a personal life can be super challenging when you devote so much time to something, you can forget to eat and sleep.
What is the most fun?
The best part of the entire job is the amazing creative people you get to interact with every day! I’ve met so many amazing artists and local talents who have welcomed me and been so kind and caring. It’s a lot like joining the circus; you get to meet so many characters.
The funniest thing to happen so far was on this most recent movie! Suddenly I was given a little black dress, and was in a scene interacting with the hero actor/actress. It’s never a dull moment on set!
How did your program at CAT prepare you for the job you are doing now?
CAT prepared me the most by giving me a high volume work ethic! Completing projects at school and having deadlines is super accurate to real world work. I’ve had no problem meeting my deadlines for my short shoot schedules so far and have been able to delegate and manage my time wisely.
I’ve made more graphics in 2 months than I probably made in 6 months at CAT, so I’ll never complain about the homework amount at school again!”
What top tip do you have for current CAT GDD students?
As a current CAT student I’d say develop your soft skills interacting with like-minded artists and talented people! It’s those creative and unique people who will boost you in your career, so express yourself freely and be your genuine self. Don’t forget to be confident – you’ll acquire all the skills you need!
What top tip do you have for GDD students who might want to follow the same kind of career direction?
If you’re interested in working in the film industry I advise learning the basics first! I had never read a script in my life before going into film! I had no idea what department did what or anything; I had to learn quickly! If you’re a film student I’m sure you’re already an expert!