©Val Douroux 2022

After College

After college, I had no idea what to do.

I graduated with a degree in Film & Media Production at the University of Utah... ... ....

I didn't know anyone getting paid for film or media production in Utah. I didn't even know if there was a film industry in Utah? All I knew were peers funding passion projects on their credit cards. I didn't really know what to do.

I worked as a Secretary at a Law Firm defending hos on top of a Doctor John's in Midvale. I met the Attorney at a cannabis rally at the Utah State Capitol building. I'll never forget the speech he said: "I"m a Christian, raised Mormon. My only vice is ice tea. I don't do drugs. My sister died of cancer, and it broke my heart, she had to risk federal prosecution for the only thing that helped her." I've helped him share his message, and we've been friends ever since.

So I worked as a Secretary on top on an adult entertainment store. He and the hos were our #1 client. I loved the hos. Behind the glitter facade and acrylic nails, these hos had a heart. Almost all of them came from a broken homes, and were trying their best to make money and provide for themselves. It broke my heart, and it changed my perspective.

The reality of graduating college without any opportunities was a hard pill to swallow. It had me thinking: If I could do the experience all over again, I would focus 1000% on school, spend less time on SSDP. I'd work on an internship in my Junior Year that could lead to job placing after graduation. Could have, should have, would have: YOU DIDN'T.

I immediately regretted going to the University of Utah for film.

I should have got a degree in Business. Marketing! Writing. Psychology. No, not Psychology! Those students are mostly assholes, and think they know everything. I should have graduated in Writing like my dad said. At least he wouldn't regret the money he spent to help pay for my college.

In all reality, I didn't know a lot of people doing anything with their degree. I knew 2 girls in Environmental Studies that got big girl jobs at Rio Tinto analyzing the effects of mining on wildlife of the Oquirrah Mountains. That seemed oddly specific, but steady with benefits.

I wondered how long it'd last.?.

I wondered how long I'd last moving back in with my parents for the 11th time. A lot of my friends moved back with their families. A lot of people left college in debt.

The only people who inspired me were my friends Penn and Zak. They boldly made the move to New York City (no job that aligned with their degree) but to pursue their passion for art.

In Utah....

My mom heard a radio ad from Department of Workforce Services that they were creating was giving grants to students to train and contribute to the growing film industry in Utah. What?! I jumped on the Film Technician Certification Program at Salt Lake Community College. They had just finished a multi-million dollar, state of the art, media building at South City Campus and wanted to train people interested in being educated on equipment and building the film industry in Utah

I knew kids that went to SLCC and was always jealous of the equipment they got to check-out. They were checking out Red Cameras to film themselves skiing and snowboarding, while I was filming assignments at the University of Utah (that were supposed to be like festival short films) on Mini-DV tapes. Like... Wtf? Seriously? Now, SLCC has an industry standard sound stage with a massive green screen, a Genie crane, red cameras (probably an Alexa now), and state of the art editing bays with color correction wheels?! I didn't even know a color correction wheel existed! Salt Lake Community College South City Campus had way nicer film resources than the University of Utah.

I 1000% applied.

I spent 20 minutes with a woman from Department of Workforce Services, and qualified!!! I also qualified for Financial Aid because I had just turned 22 or 23, and was no longer considered "dependent" on my parents, even though I was independent 18 on in paying for all my own sh*t (they helped a little, but when I moved out, they expected me to take on 100% of my bills). Now, not only was I getting a free education, but the government was giving me $2-3K to pay for housing, books, and equipment. I couldn't believe it. It was the greatest thing to ever happen to me.