Film_Production

Film& Production

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Pick your medium. Maximize your impact.

Put your ideas, your passion, even yourself out there to entertain, inform, or compel audiences. Whatever your form of expression, we’ll help you create a future.

Program Areas

Digital Film Video Program

Digital Filmmaking & Video Production

You’ll have the opportunity to learn hands-on with digital video cameras, editing, and graphics software as you tell stories in media ranging from broadcast news to motion pictures.

Digital Photography Program

Digital Photography

Harlen Capen

Digital Photography , 2015

The Art Institute of Virginia Beach, a branch of The Art Institute of Atlanta

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Harness the power of images as you tell stories one frame at a time, filling the world with your ideas, and insights. And making your passion your career.

Meet our Faculty

  • Graphic Design Instructor Alison King

    Alison King

    Graphic & Web Design

    "Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you're growing."

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    Alison King

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    It all came together for me in high school. I loved design, but had no idea what I was doing. I kept at it, and as a senior I became yearbook editor. I loved the challenge of publication design so much, I decided to apply to a New York City design school. My commitment to working in the arts started the day I stepped on that plane.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I have the battle scars from working in our industry, so I’m able to show my students the value of resilience. Life throws curve balls, and being able to improvise and pivot is important if you’re going to succeed in this fast-paced profession.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    First-year students can be overwhelmed by expectations, so I offer one of my favorite mantras: "How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time." In my observational drawing class, each lesson focuses on a skill such as sighting or perceiving values, and by midterm we start putting those skills together in concert, like a symphony. Students are often surprised how eye-opening a few simple lessons can be.

    How do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    Slightly uncomfortable? Good. That means you’re growing. Students often don't know how far they can go until they’ve been pushed outside their comfort zone. I remind them that the pain, awkwardness, suffering, and self-doubt are only temporary—once the job's done, they’ll want to sign up to do it all over again.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    I tell my students that it takes thousands of hours to truly master something. Practicing your craft every day is so important.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Find mentors you admire, and make yourself indispensable to them. Work for free on something you're passionate about; Volunteer: It's some of the best networking out there.

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  • Fashion Marketing & Design Instructor Dapzury Valenzuela

    Dapzury Valenzuela

    Fashion Marketing

    "Don't simply do enough to get by—that's not for the seriously creative."

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    Dapzury Valenzuela

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    I got involved in the layout and digital design of my high school yearbook, taking photos, interviewing students, and organizing information. The moment I started using Adobe ® Illustrator ® , I knew I wanted a creative career where I could express my ideas.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I treat my students as clients, and my clients as students. I try to make the classroom experience as real-world as possible. Our creative team meets to share ideas, identify tasks, and determine milestones and deadlines. Creative executions are presented, revised, resubmitted, and eventually completed. Project management is used to keep track of each member’s progress. It’s all about challenging and pushing everyone to do their best.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my upper level Portfolio class, students prepare their graduating trade show displays. It’s a pretty stressful time, so I work one-on-one with them to motivate and help them stay focused and positive. Being flexible and persistent is something I strive to instill in each of my grads. I often share examples from my own experience where I was able to turn challenges into opportunities to find new ways to solve problems.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success?

    Team projects help students build emotional intelligence. Creative people take great pride in their work, and collaboration helps them learn to process the feedback and critique that can help them become better designers. They learn to keep an open mind and consider others’ opinions—and defend their own.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Think positively. If you want to become a successful creative professional, you need to think like one. Read books about them, join organizations they belong to, and produce work that’s on par with theirs. Finally, keep a positive mental attitude to help you get through challenges.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    Over-deliver; Go above and beyond what’s expected of you. Don't simply do enough to get by—that’s not for the seriously creative. Be the first at the office and the last to leave.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Being able to work in industry and share that experience in the classroom is the best of both worlds.

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  • Fashion Design Instructor Helen Nosova

    Helen Nosova

    Fashion Design

    "Commit to your work. We all have passion... but without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste."

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    Helen Nosova

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    There was no single defining moment, but my childhood was full of wild fashion risks, customizing and altering my own wardrobe, and coordinating my friends’ outfits. I ventured into theatrical costuming at an early age.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    As a former museum professional, I require my students to visit and participate in fashion-related events at Phoenix Art Museum. They’re exposed to extraordinary objects that represent some of the most important moments in fashion history, as well as current designer works. I encourage them to be scholars of fashion, so they can become more intelligent and creative designers.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    While teaching a Theater Makeup course years ago, I created an assignment I called Rapid Fire Quick Change. Each designer performed various makeup and hair changes on a fellow student in under 30 seconds each—working in near total darkness to simulate the focus, speed and technical skill needed to succeed as a theater technician. It was high-pressure, but it was always great fun.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    In fashion, we work with other artists and designers to help us with inspiration, creation, promotion, and selling our designs. We must surround ourselves with talented professionals who support our vision and help bring our products to the marketplace. Our students have a rare opportunity to begin networking now with fellow artists who’ll go on to be photographers, graphic designers, and more. They can become their "go-to" professional contacts.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Commit to your work. We all have passion, and that’s certainly an integral part of being an artist. But without true commitment, that passion can easily go to waste. I teach my students to research and analyze their ideas, sketch constantly, understand the business of our industry, and most of all practice good time-management.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I encourage my students to surround themselves with people that inspire them, challenge their ideas, and celebrate their achievements.

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  • Jack P. Sullivan

    Graphic & Web Design

    "When you do good work, opportunities seem to find you."

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    Jack P. Sullivan

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My first mentor was my high school art teacher. She suggested that I put my creative talent to use in the advertising industry, and advised me to get a degree in the field of graphic design. When she showed me samples of creative work that was being done in graphic design, that really appealed to me.

    How do you weave your professional background into the classroom experience?

    I still work as a professional in the field, which means I can share real-world situations like dealing with clients. We talk about what clients expect from us; more importantly, I tell students not to be hindered by any limitations that a client may impose. Once we establish that, they have plenty of creative freedom to do amazing work. And when you do good work, opportunities seem to find you.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring?

    In my package design class, students create a meal-to-box for a local restaurant. Each carrier box must contain four more boxes, each one holding an individual meal. So they have to decide the best size for the entree, side dishes, dessert, etc. Then comes the creative part of applying the theme to the boxes for a consistent look and feel—not just slapping a logo on the boxes. There are so many moving parts that it really forces the student to do their research first, then gather samples, then be able to execute that solution from both an engineering and design standpoint.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    In the package design project, students take the role of art director and work with a Photography student on a tabletop photo shoot. They must turn in three photos: the outside box, the interior boxes and how they fit into the outside box, and a detail shot highlighting the typography, illustration, and other aspects. The teamwork involved helps them understand how things work in the real world.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    It’s not enough to have great ideas. You have to make them work visually. Break your work down to its simplest form visually, and you’ll get the greatest results.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    There are a lot of creative people out there, and some may be more creative than you. But if you can come up with good creative solutions and execute your design concepts, you’ll make yourself valuable.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    I love the fact that the faculty here all share their strengths with each other to help students bring out their best.

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  • Visual & Game Programming Instructor Michael Thomas Di Cosola

    Michael Thomas Di Cosola

    Visual & Game Programming

    "When most people are asleep, you'll still be up working. Your passion is what'll get you through."

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    Michael Thomas Di Cosola

    Was there a defining moment when you knew you were destined to become a creative professional?

    My uncle was the chief electrical engineer at The Walt Disney Company. Through him, I got a behind-the-scenes look at the Disney magic and art. I remember watching an artist paint designs in the Enchanted Tiki Room and bombarding him with questions. That’s when I knew I wanted to bring art to others.

    What class assignment exemplifies your approach to teaching and mentoring, and how do you inspire students to push themselves beyond their perceived limits?

    I assign a project in my Interior Worlds class that gives students one week to complete a scene from the game series Unreal following all the rules of design (rules of thirds, golden spiral, etc.) I expect them to fail. But I also expect them to give their best. To try and try again. And learn what they did wrong and figure out how to correct it.

    How does collaboration contribute to students’ success—particularly when students from various programs work together?

    Collaboration lets students see things from different points of view. Our Visual & Game Programming students work with our [Game Art& Design] students—and that’s led to many successful outcomes. One team even placed in the Independent Games Festival.

    What’s the most important thing you impart to students to help them succeed in class and the real world?

    Making games isn’t easy. Just because you love games doesn't mean you should make them. You have to have a passion. When most people are asleep, you’ll still be up working. Your passion is what will get you through.

    What’s the most critical advice you would offer any student embarking on a creative career?

    There’s no one way to do something. Just dive in and start doing it.

    Anything else you’d like to share?

    Students ask me all the time why I don’t go back to making games. I ask them to tell me where else but teaching can you help someone become the best person they can be, and watch them live their dreams. It’s like a video game, only it’s real.

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