What is your name, age, and location?
I’m Sara Snyder, 22 years old, living in Washington, D.C., but grew up in Orlando, Florida.
What is your profession?
Right now I’m finishing up my final semester at The George Washington University. I freelance with both my video and photo skills in my spare time. I am currently working on my senior thesis film project on LGBTQ homeless youth in New York City.
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
I studied Political Communications, LGBTQ and Sexuality Studies, and Journalism at The George Washington University. I’ve considered film school, but that’s not happening anytime soon.
What was your first job?
I babysat for years, but my first communications job was as an intern for the City of Novi in Michigan.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
I had an amazing experience with my high school TV (Cat’s Eye News) and radio (WOVI 89.5) station, which inspired me to study media. I went to GW specifically to study in the School of Media and Public Affairs working to be a political reporter. But I realized I’m much better at telling someone’s story from behind the camera. I love being a director and producer and getting to know someone through a few interviews. I’ve always wanted to make videos that reach large audiences and encourage them to make a difference. So I think documentary film production is my niche.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
I worked on a film my sophomore year called I Am about two young men who are battling with their gender identity. It was a last ditch effort after a few ideas had not worked out, but in reality the simplicity of the film is what really sold it to the audience. The film took me to the National Film Festival for Talented Youth and the Prindle Ethics Symposium. This film has inspired my senior independent film on LGBTQ Homeless Youth (coming in the spring).
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
I was raised to be a dominant, independent woman, able to do whatever my heart desired. I don’t let my gender make or break opportunities. I just do my thing, hang with the boys, and keep on smiling.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
As I’ve grown up, I’ve become a bit more cautious about what I’m wearing on a shoot. It’s partially for safety and partially for fitting in. Let me tell you, capturing good video in a dress and heels is tough. You never know when you will be running to get that golden shot. Plus, the film world is still mostly men, so dressing as a peer rather than their cute secretary has helped me to earn their respect.
Please say a few words about your experience with the work-life balance.
It is absolutely my greatest challenge. I love what I’m doing and I’ve made it my life. But in my junior year of high school I made a rule for myself that I would never be too busy for the people I care most about. To date, I have never had a problem dropping what I’m doing if someone needs me. Good work makes me happy, but if I have no one to share it with, it can only be so valuable.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
I have had some amazing mentors. My high school TV teacher, David Legg, pushed me to develop skills I didn’t know I had and taught me to be fearless when doing stories. Jason Osder, in SMPA, has put everything about the film world into perspective and Robert McRuer has pushed me to think outside the box.
Outside the media world, my great-grandma was a tough, determined but lovable woman that I totally respect. If I could leave half of the legacy she left behind, I’ll be a very successful person.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
Take the risks you are scared to take. Try that story that sounds totally weird and tough, because you never know the doors it will open for you. It feels so good to step outside of your comfort zone.
Follow Sara on Twitter
– Interview by Eve Richer
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