Bushwick resident Chris Federico is an actor, writer, and producer who was looking to expand his horizons. He found what he was looking for when he started taking classes at BRIC last year to become a Certified Community Producer. After studying editing, field production, studio production, and digital motion graphics, Federico has added a few more hyphenates to his name: video editor, sound crew, and production assistant.
As a Certified Community Producer, Federico now has access to BRIC’s equipment and cutting-edge production facilities, plus the opportunity to produce specials for Brooklyn Free Speech TV — all for free. We sat down with the self-professed coffee addict at BRIC House’s on-site café, Hungry Ghost, to hear about his experiences.
How did you first get involved with BRIC?
I really needed to learn to edit, and I was looking at classes at other schools — continuing education, colleges — and it’s, you know, a $1,000 class. I used to work for a catering company, and we catered the opening party for BRIC. I was bartending, and someone handed me a program of BRIC’s offerings. I came to orientation, and on top of them having everything I needed, everybody was really nice. BRIC is such an incredible resource. They give you access to equipment, teach you how to use it, teach you post-production… And then they’ll air your work for you! That’s huge.
What’s your main focus as a video producer?
I’m an actor who comes from a theater background, and I wanted to learn more about film and television. If you have a play — whether it’s Broadway or Off Broadway or Off Off Off Broadway — and you don’t have a video clip of that on your website, you’re kind of dead in the water. But a lot of theater companies don’t have the funds to do that. And now, if my friends are in a play and they want me to shoot something, I can come to BRIC and take out a camera for the day, and then spend a week or two editing it. I literally give their play a movie trailer. I really enjoy bridging that gap. And it’s not costing them thousands of dollars, because I get the equipment for free and I can edit it for free.
You’ve also been working as a production assistant on B-Side, a new in-studio music series on BRIC’s Brooklyn Independent Media channel. What has that experience been like?
It’s been great. My second or my third show, they were like, “We’re actually not doing it in the studio today. We’re going down to Brooklyn Bridge Park and we’re gonna shoot a live Balkan Beat Box concert.” I was right at the foot of the stage. They brought in a camera crane, and it was amazing. We got these sweeping shots with the city in the background. All I did was lay audio cable and prep the cameras, but you watch this amazing concert, and I was a part of that. I got to walk past the cops and be like, “I’m with BRIC.” It was really neat.
What would you say to someone who’s considering taking classes with BRIC?
If you have a story that you want to tell on video or film, this is the place. And not just video. You wanna come learn stop-motion animation? You can come learn stop-motion here for free! That’s incredible. If you have an idea and you’re willing to put in the work, they will give you everything you need, from the equipment to the knowledge. And it’s a real community. You help other people with their ideas, and you help them with theirs.
Interested in becoming a Certified Community Producer yourself? It’s easy to get started: Attend a Media Education Orientation, then sign up for one of four certification courses— Video Production in the Field, Video Editing with Premiere, Television Studio Production or Mini Studio Production — any of which will set you back only $10 to $95.
BRIC is also offering certification classes, equipment checkout, and a variety of free two-hour media courses at Brooklyn Public Library locations throughout the borough. Learn everything from the basics of digital cameras to digital storytelling.