Jennifer Rowekamp, a recent graduate (‘19) of the Screen Scoring master’s program, just became Pixar’s newest Associate Music Editor. She will be working in a small, handpicked team creating temporary scores for the studio’s animations as they are produced in the Bay Area. Mark Suozzo, professor and co-director of the Screen Scoring program, interviewed Jennifer about her experience so far.
What are you up to?
I've recently begun a new position at Pixar working as an Associate Music Editor.
Has the alumni/teacher network helped you in your search for the path you'd like to take?
The networks (both teacher and alumni) have been responsible for the majority of my work opportunities since I graduated. I'm still in contact with past collaborators from NYU who have either moved to Los Angeles to pursue filmmaking or found other media work in New York. The faculty connections also helped me find entry-level positions as an assistant in Los Angeles which gave me the experience needed to pursue other career opportunities.
Has the preparation you had at NYU given you enough experience to go into the working world of media with confidence?
I feel that the program prepared me really well for the working world. The technical and musical skills I honed in class and on assignments were one big advantage. I use the things I learned on a daily basis, both in composing and music editing. Another advantage was having the opportunity to network and build my portfolio and resume through curated collaborations with filmmakers and media creators from around the city (e.g. Tisch, FIT, etc.). Learning how to communicate with media creators as well as working through the post-production process with the help of the faculty was really invaluable.
Do the entry jobs in the industry expect a variety of skills?
While most entry-level positions will expect you to have a basic knowledge of everything (composition, music editing, technology, etc.), many of these positions come with the understanding that there is a learning curve, especially for programs with which you're unfamiliar. They don't expect you to know absolutely everything from the get-go, but they do expect you to be diligent and to be able to pick up new skills quickly.
In the words of Buzz Lightyear, “To infinity and beyond!”