Jodi Cilley graduated from Boston College in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and began her career in social work. Now, she runs the Film Consortium of San Diego, owns her own video production company, VideologiCo, and is also the lead instructor of the video and editing professional certificate at UC San Diego Extension.
Initially, film was just a hobby for Cilley. Her social work led her to the Teen Producers Project, a program from the Media Arts Center San Diego that teaches teenagers the art and technical side of film and journalism as they make original films about community issues. But, after she got a taste of teaching film to teens on the weekends, she decided to make a career of it for herself.
“I began teaching film in 2004 with a video production class for teens,” says Cilley. “I really enjoyed it and I still teach those classes to this day. From there, I decided to go back to school.”
Once Cilley began teaching, she realized she wanted to make her own film production company saying, “I felt it was time for me to create my own job, instead of working for someone else.”
She went to San Diego State University and earned her MBA with a specialization in entrepreneurship, allowing her to start VideologiCo, which she still owns and remotely operates today, although most of her time is dedicated to her most recent endeavor.
In 2012, Cilley founded the Film Consortium San Diego, which strives to create a network of those involved with various aspects of the film industry in order to improve the production and promotion of San Diego films.
“The Film Consortium is the best use of my skills so far because it combines all of the different things that I’m in touch with, the local film community, students, the business I learned with my master’s degree,” says Cilley. Not to mention her universal film production skills.
As lead instructor of the Video and Editing Certificate- a full-time, accelerated program designed to give people a comprehensive year of industry experience- Cilley says her classes at UC San Diego Extension cover not just video production but “how to direct, how to produce, cinematography, sound production, motion graphics, and business as well.”
She says her students that graduate with this certificate have gone on to be directors, producers, editors, even freelance photographers and business owners.
Cilley explains that teaching a broad spectrum of skills is very important in today’s film industry. Her number one tip for success in this field is versatility, “being able to learn and master different aspects of film.”
“Now when you get a job, you want to be the director, the cinematographer, or the producer, but it is valuable to have a lot of different skills and not just focus on one,” says Cilley. “That’s why they teach all this different stuff in the classes, to prepare you to make things as different as short fiction and commercials.”
There has been a recent change in the industry with the advent of the internet as well as cheap powerful cameras and film equipment; Cilley calls it “the democratization of the film industry.”
“A lot of the technology that used to be expensive isn’t as expensive anymore. So now, people like you and me and get a hold of extremely high quality equipment that was not previously accessible to the general public,” says Cilley. “You have new funding and distribution channels that are changing the face of the industry.”
Now, almost anyone can take high quality videos, which can be shared universally, instantly.
This is a big change from when all films were shot in black and white on arduous film equipment that cost millions of dollars, with editors literally cutting and pasting together the strips of film. With this new easy access and increasing simplification of production processes, Cilley says it is essential for those passionate about making films to truly know their craft, in every step of the operation.
For a chance to see Cilley in action, the Film Consortium is hosting its next networking event, Film Con, on July 19 at Space 4 Art in honor of Comic Con that same weekend. This is a special event, expecting film makers from LA and elsewhere. For more information on this and upcoming events visit filmconsortiumsd.com.