Lily Plotkin '14

The Documentary Group

What did you do after Conn?

After taking the post-grad summer off to do a cross-country road trip and work on a few personal film projects, I was hired as a PA at The Documentary Group. I had interned at the company during my CELS summer, and kept in touch with the producers over the course of my senior year. I was initially hired to a project called The Age Of Aerospace - a series about the last 100 years of the Boeing company and the larger aviation and aerospace industry. The series premiered on Discovery Channel in 2016.

What are you doing now (jobs/projects)?

Since my first PA job at The Documentary Group, I have stayed within the company and moved around to a number of different projects. For the last year, I have been helping to produce a six-part series that seeks to explore both the history and contemporary manifestations of structural, judicial, and cultural inequality in America from the Civil War era to the present.

How did Film at Conn prepare you for the field?

In a general sense, I have found that my liberal arts education has been one of the most valuable tools in my success in Documentary. The field requires curiosity, an ability and eagerness to learn about a wide range of topics, a problem-solving attitude - all qualities that were nurtured during my time at Conn, particularly in the film department. More specifically, I have found that the balance in Conn's film department between film theory/analysis and hard production skills made me uniquely prepared for different aspects of the film world. Learning about the history of film, exploring and critiquing the storytelling choices of some of the greatest (and worst...) filmmakers, and then getting to put those thoughts to practice in production gave me a very well-rounded and practical film education.

What were your favorite things about Film at Conn?

The first thing that comes to mind is the classroom discussions - be it a critique of our personal work in a production class, or an analysis of films or directors in a theory class. One of the best things about Conn film is that all students are bringing in their unique perspectives from other departments. I majored in Sociology and double minored in Film and Government - my perspective was heavily shaped by those different departments and the intersections between them. Engaging in discussion and learning from my peers, many of whom were coming in with insight different from my own (both academic and personal), was eye-opening and extremely valuable. Students in the film department tend to be incredibly smart and passionate, and I learned so much from those classroom conversations. Also, the emphasis on representation in media and the importance of critiquing film through a sociological lens has shaped my understanding of film, both as a viewer and producer of it. Both Dr. M and Professor Morin stressed the connections between the depictions of women and minorities in film and the larger cultural context in which they were produced. I am so grateful that the department emphasized this and nurtured our critical analysis of representation - it made clear to me the power and responsibility of filmmaking.