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Making Waves as a Woman in Film

Dana Steketee’s career goal is to see her name in the credits of a film or TV show.

But Dana doesn’t want to be an actor. She’s eyeing a behind-the-camera profession, such as Film Editor, Script Supervisor or Production Assistant.

She says studying Digital and Film Arts at Pima Community College is the best way to get the hands-on, real world education that will help her succeed, whether she chooses to continue her studies at a bachelor’s-degree granting university or to find a job.

Headshot of Dana Steketee

A graduate of Tucson’s Ironwood Ridge High School, Dana’s interest in film stems from an interest in anime (Japanese cartoons) and ‘90s-era punk rock (Sum 41 and Blink-182). On her computer, she put anime clips to music and posted them to YouTube.

That led to entering and winning contests at conventions such as Phoenix Comicon, and it became clear to Dana that her hobby could lead to something more. “I could see myself editing all the time – actually making money out of it,” she says.

Hands-on film editing and digital arts experience

Dana realized she would need formal education to complement what she had learned on her own. She surveyed programs and Arizona State University and The University of Arizona but picked Pima after deciding that university was too overwhelming. “Pima seemed to be the better fit. There was a lot of good feedback on Pima’s professors. They have a lot of actual work experience rather than just an academic view.”

Dana appreciates the knowledgeability of Pima’s instructors, and that much of the learning is project-based. “An industry portfolio will get you hired rather than a degree,” she says.

Studying at Pima also connected Dana to enriching opportunities such as a recent workshop/seminar put together by the Arizona Film and Digitals Arts Program to help train a new generation of Production Assistants. “It was an amazing experience,” she said.

Women in film editing

Dana has worked with an all-female film crew during a Tucson-based project and believes that diversity is prevalent in smaller, independent films.

 “My personal experience has been wonderful and diverse so far but there is always this anxiety about working on bigger, mainstream projects and having to deal with sexual harassment, which I think is more common in the entertainment industry than women not finding jobs.”

Training in behind-the scenes filmmaking

Like most Pima students, Dana attends school part-time, and appreciates Pima’s flexible scheduling, which allows her to mix studies and work. Through her freelance gigs, she has worked on local productions in several roles, including editor, script supervisor (helping actors remember their lines) and continuity supervisor (ensuring that a scene maintains a consistent look). She’s also learned at Pima the many different types of equipment needed to make a film, such as the platypus, a type of clamp.

Dana is on pace to graduate in May 2022, and is pondering whether to transfer to ASU’s up-and-coming Sidney Poitier New American Film School. She believes she can carve out a career in Arizona. “My goal is to keep working and see my name in the end credits, or even better, at the opening credits!”

Learn more about Digital and Film Arts at Pima

Pima supports student trailblazers in cutting-edge industries, like digital arts. Check out the Digital and Film Arts program at Pima Community College to learn more about classes and career opportunities and learn how you can apply to Pima.

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