Volunteer Spotlight: Megan Ginise

Our latest volunteer in the spotlight, Megan Ginise, likes getting out of her comfort zone, especially when it involves the cultural arts.
Our latest volunteer in the spotlight, Megan Ginise, likes getting out of her comfort zone, especially when it involves the cultural arts.

May 2015 volunteer in the spotlight: Megan Ginise

Occupation: Megan studies public relations and journalism at Fresno State, and she also works part-time at two newspapers: The Collegian, where she was the assistant news editor this past semester, and The Fresno Bee, where she’s currently a student writer. “At The Bee, I’m the lowest of the low,” Megan jokes. “I’ll have to fight my way back up!” Megan enjoys writing and reporting for the news. “Working at The Bee has been a real positive experience. I work the night shift, usually 6 to 11:30. I write a lot of the news briefs, and some get turned into short articles for the website or the paper. I mostly report on the crime beat: fires, shootings, accidents, or that gas line explosion a few weeks ago.”

Megan is a Smittcamp Family honors student, she minors in creative writing and theater arts, and she will graduate in May 2016. She has loved the theater since she was a kid. “I’ve worked in the costume shop and as part of the background crew on several plays,” she says. “Originally when I came to Fresno State, I wanted to study film but there was no film studies major. So I thought, what’s the next best thing? So I became a theater minor. I would love to get into film production. It’s such an imaginative way to express yourself. There are so many strict rules for newspaper writing, but not so many rules for playwriting and screenwriting.”

What are some of your hobbies outside of school and work? “Hmm, let’s see. I joined the Fresno State Nature Club a few years ago. I’m outdoorsy, and I like going hiking and on adventures. I grew up in a small town with farms all around, so I like being outside. In high school, I played volleyball and basketball, and I did track. I loved my time as an athlete and enjoyed being active.”

“I recently went to the Fresno Grand Opera to see ‘Tosca.’ I’d never been before, so I was excited. I want to see ‘Book of Mormon’ when it comes to Fresno. I saw ‘Jersey Boys’ last year. I try to read a lot, too. Hunter S. Thompson is a favorite right now. Also Joan Didion. She’s phenomenal and one of my favorite writers. I love her voice. She’s cynical but also not. She writes with such perspective. Such sad and beautiful prose, and it’s just good writing.”

“I also like to hang out with friends. You know, doing what college students do!”

What would you like to do after school, and where do you see yourself in the future? “My end goal ideally would be to write for The New York Times or to be my own film producer and director, to make my own documentaries. I’d like to travel as much as possible. I have been saving up my work money. I want to get out of the U.S. and see some other places. When I come back, I’d like to go to grad school, but I’d like to take at least one gap year to explore.”

What are some of your favorite movies? “I like ‘Fish Tank,‘ with Michael Fassbender. It’s a British film by a female director, Andrea Arnold. I saw it in the theater when I was studying abroad in London. I like ‘An Education‘ with Carey Mulligan. ‘Birdman‘ was one of my favorites from this past year. The film style and camera work was amazing, and it had some of the best acting and sound editing of the last year. I don’t really like Michael Keaton but he did such a great job in the role. I also like anything with Johnny Depp in it. I loved ‘The Rum Diary.’ And this is really cheesy, but I liked him in the first ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ movie. When it first came out, I was still little! And of course, there’s ‘Edward Scissorhands’ too.”

What’s your favorite film you’ve seen at Filmworks? “I really enjoyed ‘Levitated Mass‘ and I loved Marion Cotillard in ‘Two Days, One Night.’ So it’s kind of tie! I think ‘Levitated Mass’ took something very specific and upper-class and abstract and made it into something accessible to the masses. In ‘Two Days,’ Cotillard gave such a great performance. I also liked the subject material. The Dardenne brothers were so good at showing something so real. To film something like a person with depression, it’s really important to do it right and de-stigmatize the subject, and they did that.”

What’s in your Netflix queue right now? “I just recently watched ‘Mr. Nobody‘ with Jared Leto. It popped up in my movies that I might like. I watched it and I really did like it. Next, a Christoph Waltz film just popped up, the Terry Gilliam film, ‘The Zero Theorem.’ Christoph Waltz is one of my favorite actors, so I’m looking forward to seeing that one.”

How did you get involved with Filmworks? “I had Jefferson Beavers as my media ethics professor at Fresno State. He recommended that I apply for the marketing internship and then I got it! It has been four months of fun.”

What’s your typical volunteer experience for Filmworks? “As the marketing intern, I write a lot. I do all the news releases, I’ve gone on the media tours, and I get to do PR at the actual events, talking with guests, signing in students, and spending time with the filmmakers and discussants. I also write for the blog, put out handbills in the Tower District, and write social media posts.”

What’s one of your most memorable or unusual volunteer experiences with Filmworks? “The craziest night and the best night was definitely seeing ‘Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter‘ and going to dinner with David Zellner. The opportunity to have dinner with him, to drive him back to the hotel, to talk about movies and about life — it really brought Hollywood down to a human level for me. It’s good to remember that filmmakers are real people, too!”

“Also, I made the backdrop for the Oscar shorts out of butcher paper, spray paint, and glitter. That was actually a bit nerve-wracking. I love being technically perfect, and the backdrop wasn’t perfect, but it still turned out great. I enjoy that kind of decorating and design stuff. It reminds me of my old high school student government days, decorating and design and event planning.”

What has been your favorite thing about your time as a Filmworks intern? “I’ve had the chance to meet a lot of people who really love film, to meet a lot of people interested in movies. When you see people coming together to enjoy film, there’s a powerful feeling. Also, all of the volunteers at Filmworks are eclectic and interesting. They’re good people! Stan Poss told me lots of funny stories. Karen Hammer was great to meet. It has been so good to meet people who like to come to the Tower Theatre to see indie films, to get out of their comfort zones and come see stories that push their boundaries.”

Filmworks thanks all of our May 2015 volunteers:
Rita Bell, Leslie Bjerke, Emily Condee, Richard Flores, Megan Ginise (intern), Neal Howard, Monica Marks-Rea, Isabel Mejorado, Jeph Neville, Sarah Nixon, Gene Richards, Susan Rogers, Justin Secor, Richard Stone, Lorraine Tomerlin, Kristin Torres, Suzanne Watkins.

To meet our past volunteers in the spotlight, and to find out how you can volunteer with Filmworks, visit our volunteer page.