By Katie Chambers
Let’s welcome new NYWIFT member Ekaterina Korshunova! Ekaterina (or Kate for short) attended Moscow’s RUDN University where she graduated with a degree in journalism. At RUDN, Kate acted as Chief Editor for the student newspaper RUDN Time, created video content for the university, and won multiple awards for her student films. While at RUDN University Kate developed Methodology of Content Making, a curriculum packet that she has used to teach other students to create and produce video content. (Check it out here.)
Since graduating, Kate has continued to grow her skills and gain experience in the media and entertainment industry. She has furthered her education by completing course work at both New York Film Academy and Pace University. Kate currently works as a freelance social media coordinator and producer. She has filmed and produced promotional videos for many local businesses as well as major brands.
Kate spoke to us about her move to the US, her teaching philosophy, and her dreams for the future.
Tell us about yourself – give us your elevator pitch!
Hello everyone, I am Ekaterina Korshunova (but you can call me just Kate)! I am 25 and I am totally led by my dreams to make this world more interesting by making my creative content. Pursuing this goal, I am in non-stop creative flux, in search of truth, “in the flow” (I know that it is important to mention this modern phrase to be trendy!) and sometimes in vrikshasana (yoga tree pose).
I strongly believe that we have only one life to live… And [we should all aim to be] watching a beautiful sunset in the middle of our seventies in Hawaii [and be able to] say to yourself ‘oh, God, I made it!’ And also it is very important to be honest with yourself and consciously understand that you have made someone’s life better through your talent and hard work. That is what I am doing for a living.
We heard you started a school in Russia when you were only 20 years old. Wow! Why did you do it? What is your philosophy in educating young people?
I love children, I have two young brothers and back home I spent hours with them, playing different games. And as far as shooting and content creation, I was always involving them in my creative processes, and I realized that it is very interesting and fun for them. That was the first moment when I thought of starting my children’s development and leisure center. Furthermore, in August 2017 I just felt a strong need to venture in a new direction and start teaching kids about content creation. I started exploring different options, one thing led to another, and I learned that a cheap business location rental became available that would be suitable for what I wanted to do.
I have to say that opening my own business really helped me get my hands on market research and sales in a completely new way. However, I feel a little bit uncomfortable when I am saying “my business” as for me, my center and my pupils were more like a second family. I have always been very concerned about the creative development of my students, felt responsible and tried to give them as much knowledge as possible. At the same time, talking about my philosophy in educating kids – I am not strict mentor at all. I think that every person has their own talent and inner creativity and to develop it you should not only burden children with rules, but also to give them freedom and the opportunity to feel themselves and what they want to express, especially talking about creative development.
At the same time, I had an experience teaching [adult] students at RUDN University and [then] I was strict and demanding, gave [them] a system of knowledge based on my methodology and demanded a lot of work from the students. I think that for grown-up’s, practice makes perfect.
What brought you to the United States from Russia?
The United States is the greatest country for self-development and personal growth. It is strong, free and, according to my own experience, a magical place, where if you work hard you will get a chance to fulfill yourself.
I am a content maker, and it is not a secret that in the United States the world’s best content is produced, so [my dream is] to produce and contribute to the development of the industry and make it as better as I can.
What is your favorite project to date?
I have had a lot of different projects and for all of them I gave a part of myself. I used to work as a creative content maker at large productions, following a strict schedule, preparing in advance, creating large content plans and spending my sleepless nights writing wise analyses. I also had a period when I was a content maker for celebrities, as a freelancer. Back then I was doing a million things at last moment and there was a superiority in that, too.
I am desperate to make my own films: writing scripts, forming a team, leading it, organizing shoots, and taking all the responsibility in my hands. That is an exhilarating process.
I am very sorry, however I can’t name one project, all of them brought unbelievable experiences and great people. What is most important [in a project is] an opportunity for me to grow as a professional. I love all my projects. They made me who I am now.
What is the best advice you ever received?
“Don’t be scared!” You know, our life is so unpredictable, we are making some plans, writing some scripts…however if you have ever organized a shoot or participated in one, you probably know that even with the best team and the most prepared production, something will definitely go wrong. The same script is [true] in real life. Sometimes you think “that is the best thing to happen, that is my dream” but if this dream doesn’t come true, surprisingly, life goes on. So not being scared of any life incidents is a key to success. Never give up because of your failures. You can never know which way is better and what challenges will lead to success.
What brought you to NYWIFT and how do you hope to engage with the organization?
My friend brought me to NYWIFT and I thought that it is interesting and vital experience for me, for a lonely new girl in a big city to meet new interesting people. Then I started to receive newsletters about upcoming events and I became interested in the structure of the organization itself. And after a small investigation, I realized what a cool and amazing community I found myself in. Now I am interested in absolutely everything, I want to be active and contribute, because everyone who is here is really very cool, experienced, interesting, and excited for success and development. So I am in!
What is next for you?
Only big plans and lofty goals! Active social networking, working on new scripts, developing creative ideas for content making, and developing a series of documentaries and pilot shows.
Also I got some interesting offers from big companies, but to be honest, I’m still trying to learn more about American culture (everything is new, interesting, and inspiring) and choose a place for myself where I know I can do the most good for society as a whole with my content making. (And to be super honest I am waiting for when my status in the US will allow me to work.)
I’m still working on my methodology. I hope it would be useful for beginners in such a new creative profession as a content maker.
This interview was edited for length and clarity.
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