RECAP: ArtsForce Career Trek to BW Productions

November 29 2023

By Sarah Benedict 

In November, CFA students visited BW Productions to learn more about what a career in the film and photography industry might look like. This was the second ArtsForce Career Trek of the semester and it gave students the opportunity to network with and learn from local arts professionals. 

BW Productions Inc. is a media production company with three separate divisions: BW, Cutthroat, and Cinema Forte. Each specialize in various areas in video and photography, including commercial production, video editing, and feature film production.

Brent Uberty, the founder and managing director of BW Productions, kicked off the tour by explaining and demonstrating the capabilities of their grip and lighting stage. Students were allowed to step onto the stage and be fully immersed by the green lights, floors, and walls left over from their most recent project.

After this, students were allowed to explore the building on their own, looking at the break areas for actors. Then, students gathered back on the stage for a panel arranged by the company.

There is no one true path into video production. This idea was evident from the four panelists at BW. Brent started the panel off by introducing Mariah Salazar, producer for BW Productions; Aaron Alviso Stephenson, senior writing director and producer of Cinema Forte; and Greg Johnson, the VP of Cinema Forte. Everyone that spoke came from varying backgrounds, from studying film at the University of Utah to working in a music store and being asked to make music videos. Despite coming from different starting points, they have all found success in their careers. Trek1

Mariah shared some advice for those entering the professional world: “Don’t be afraid to fail when you’re first starting out.” What matters most is what you do to improve and advance your skills, taking lessons away from not only the mistakes you make but the mistakes those around you make. It’s always important to ask questions, reflect on how your projects could have gone smoother, and remain open minded. Starting out as a production assistant, these approaches allowed her to enter the world of producing, which she explained was really a job all about problem solving.

It’s not a matter of if equipment will break, but when. Brent mentioned this later and stressed that transparency and good communication is key. It’s especially vital in this industry to make a good impression since it will determine whether or not you’ll be hired for the next project.

Mariah explained that every day looks different at her job, fondly describing a shoot that involved puppies on ice. She also emphasized that you must always be willing to adapt and grow. The only thing consistent in the film industry is that it changes.

Aaron also had simple yet indispensable advice: don’t wait to start making stuff. This is the only way to get better and to create an opportunity for success. Gather the resources you already have and make the stories you want to tell. 

While leaving, students were given stickers with Cutthroat’s logo and told about how they can become involved in their future projects.

Keep an eye out for BW’s upcoming internship and apprenticeship opportunities! They will also be hosting multiple community events and workshops throughout the year. 

ArtsForce Takeaways:

  • Don’t feel that there is one set way to get into video production and photography. There are multiple, legitimate career pathways. 

  • Always be adaptable and be prepared for mistakes to happen on set. 

  • Take initiative to create the projects you’re interested in. 

Author Sarah Benedict is an Emerging Leaders Intern with ArtsForce, studying Film & Media Arts with an emphasis in Animation and minoring in Drawing and Arts Technology.