STUDENT Spotlight
Ryan Konig, Filmmaker

texStudent Spotlight is a regularly-updated feature that highlights Baltimore County Public Schools students involved in a wide range of activities and programs. Spotlighted students receive and answer a series of questions through which they share their experiences. In this Student Spotlight, Ryan Konig, a senior at Catonsville High School, discusses his involvement in filmmaking. (To see more student spotlights, click here.)

Student SpotlightWhen did you start making films?
I've been making home movies since I was 8 years old, so 10 years now!

Why did you start making films?
I've loved movies ever since I was old enough to sit down in front of a screen and pay attention. When I was growing up, my dad had a video camera and was constantly filming things, whether it be holidays, vacations or school concerts and events. Put together my love of movies with my dad's video camera and you've got the recipe for an amateur filmmaker. I've been making movies with my older brother and our friends since we were little kids.

What inspires you to make films?
Well, it varies. Things that inspire me can sometimes be everyday stuff. It could be a location that I see when I'm out somewhere that makes me start thinking of a scene I could have take place there or it could be a single sentence that I hear someone say that makes me think of a dialogue that I could write between two characters. And yet, other times, my inspiration comes from the grander, larger-than-life work done by my favorite filmmakers and story-tellers from throughout time. I've grown up with exposure to so many different influences, genres and styles. My favorite films and television shows range anywhere from what's current to stuff from 80 years ago. So, in short, I suppose you could say that I'm inspired by life and time.

Have you won any awards/honors for making films?
I recently got an award from my school for outstanding contribution to the school's creative programs. I single-handedly started my school's Films Club when I was in Grade 11.

What film are you most proud of?
Well, there isn't one film that I'm overall most proud of. I might really like one movie on a visual level but feel that I did a better job with the writing on another one. I'm currently putting together a documentary about my school's spirit week that I feel will turn out very well. So maybe that will become my favorite.

What is the most rewarding part of being a filmmaker?
Well, first and foremost, I'm a storyteller. I've had a vast, creative imagination since I was very young. And that imagination is constantly at work. It's not like I can turn it off, either. I'm not always trying to come up with a new concept for a film; new ideas just pop into my head. So, I suppose that fact that film is this visual outlet where I can make those ideas come to life is very rewarding. It's good to know that I can impress and touch people with my stories in some way or another, and I don't think my stories would carry nearly as much weight if they were told through any other medium. Films just have a life to them like no other.

What is the most challenging part of being a filmmaker?
Well, I can't do it alone. Filmmakers have to work with lots of different people to bring their films to life. But the thing is, those other people aren't always as devoted as I am. Conflicting schedules restrict people from being able to get together at the same time and place to film. A very important lesson learned early on for a filmmaker is that it always takes longer to shoot the movie than you anticipated.

What advice do you have for other aspiring filmmakers?
Start simple and give yourself time to grow. At 18, the only reason I can produce films of the quality that I do is because I started with easy little home movies when I was eight. I've been working at it for a long time.

What are your hopes for this school year?
Well, it's senior year, so basically all of my hopes have to do with closure and finality. I'm just enjoying the time that I have with the people I know and aiming to go out with a bang when May rolls around.

(To see one of Ryan's films, click here.)

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