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Film and Media Studies Program

Laura Major looks through a camera.

Alumni Spotlight: Laura Major

Class of 2006

Laura Major, featured in 2012 as one of Indiewire's 'Movie Lovers We Love', recently took time out of her schedule to tell us a bit about her experiences as a Film and Media Studies major and her current job at Colorlab.


Why did you major in Film and Media Studies?

I've always loved movies and television, and I knew I wanted to pursue a Liberal Arts/Humanities degree.  When I learned that film studies was an option as a major, I thought that I'd be better suited for it than English or History.


What was your first film and media job after graduation, and how did that job set you on a path to your current career?

I moved to New York City for one year after graduation, and I worked as an intern at the Flaherty Film Seminar, which I still help out with in the summers.  The connections I made through Flaherty (and Orphans, too) -- as well as my later internship at the USC Newsfilm library (while I was in Library School) led to my boss, Russ Suniewick, hearing about me and giving me a call when he was looking to fill a position.


Tell us about your current position.

I manage and do technical work for film-to-film preservation and answer/release printing projects at Colorlab, a motion picture film processing and preservation lab.  The projects I work on are either from archives or filmmakers that still shoot and exhibit their projects on film.  Most of the work we get is nonfiction (documentary/experimental/avant-garde).  Basically, I prepare the film for these projects for color timing and printing. This entails some repair, syncing soundtracks, and usually dealing with a number of other unforeseen circumstances.


Do you have any advice for Film and Media Studies majors at USC?

Make sure to take at least a few courses outside your comfort zone -- maybe a genre or national cinema you're not familiar with, and try to attend some sort of conference or festival at some point.  There's a lot of incredible cinema out there, but you have to know what to look for and where to see it.


What was your favorite film and media studies course at USC?

The Film Archiving and Preservation/Orphans course I took was obviously very influential, but I also really enjoyed my Pedro Almodovar class.


What is your current favorite film, tv show, and/or interactive game?

My favorite film from 2012 was Holy Motors, and my favorite television shows are The Venture Brothers and Mad Men.