Q&A with Jamie Haug

Jamie Haug. Photo by Jason Stilgebouer.

Jamie Haug, who graduated in December 2016 from Santa Fe University of Art and Design with a degree in film production, sought to gain as much experience as possible during his post-grad months by working in audiovisual departments as well as studying towards his certification as a nurse’s assistant. He worked as a location assistant on Longmire and locations manager on Final Cutz, while also acting in TV shows such as Godless. With the past year under his belt, he shares his post-grad tips with Jackalope Magazine, encouraging students to not give up in their search for a job.

Jackalope Magazine: How hard was it to find a job with your degree?

Jamie Haug: It [was] a little bit difficult, actually, because a lot of people aren’t really looking at your degree or what you studied [in] an interview…a lot of people in the industry aren’t seeing whether you have a master’s degree or a BFA or an AA. They just want to know if you can work it, if you can put in the hours, and if you can communicate.

JM: What are you doing right now?

JH: Right now, it’s more of establishing myself in the different fields…getting the nurse’s certification so I can go into being a medic for set. Going into the audiovisual so I can learn more grip and electric, sound and lights. Just today I went and had my second interview for an audiovisual technician. And again, still doing the background acting because they love people with facial hair and that’s the only reason I keep the beard.

JM: What kind of job did you hope to get when you graduated?

JH: I wanted to study to be a director…That was the first thing. Director, be the boss, get to shout at people, sit in a nice comfy chair. Now it’s anything, honestly. I love moving and grooving. It can be from the office to a coffee runner to an assistant director…I will wake up at four and be on set at five and enjoy being there for 12 hours [because] it can all be useful.

JM: Why did you decide to stay in Santa Fe?

JH: I felt like I could be a bigger fish in a smaller pond…I know a lot of students and a lot of people in my graduating class and the class before…have moved to L.A. and I’m proud of them for it…I think it’s great. But it’s a little bit more challenging when everyone’s going to the same place. There might be a couple more production offices and studios there than compared to New Mexico, but in the past couple years, New Mexico, Santa Fe and Albuquerque have been going up in the ranks. L.A. will always be there and they’ll always have its ups and downs. But right now, Santa Fe is on an uprising and I really want to try to grab onto that and experience it…

JM: What was your takeaway from SFUAD?

JH: Two things I really have to say about it is that I learned and focused on two words: ego and collaboration. Everyone has an ego and sometimes it gets blown out of proportion. We love to get it fanned, we love people dressing it and making it, but you have to learn to let it go…if your ego is in the way, no one is going to want to work with you. Especially in the small network that Santa Fe has and an even smaller network that SFUAD has. If you can’t let go of that ego, you can’t really work well with others.

And that brings me to the word collaboration. You never see just one person’s name over and over…when you go to the movie theater and see the credits…The whole thing is a collaboration. It’s a team effort. Because sometimes you might not be the best director or the best cameraman and someone else might be able to teach you or work better with the project, so you have to step down and be an assistant director or an assistant camera guy…That’s what I learned…I’ve got to let go of my ego and make certain that I can work with these others and to be a team player, because that’s how the film industry is.

JM: So, in what ways have ego and collaboration served you in your post-grad experience?

JH: Well, from being able to really work well with others, to communicate and to learn the lingo that’s on set and everyone’s different standing, I understand that some days I’m going to have to be a coffee runner and to be somewhere in an authority position or be underneath an authority position. And to…not take it to heart, but to kind of be like a trampoline and let it bounce off you.

JM: What advice would you give to students when it comes to finding that first job?

JH: Don’t give up. It’s going to be tough. You’re going to feel that others, your peers, are ahead of you, that you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to be doing, [that] you didn’t pay that much attention or you should have been paying more attention in class. But it’s not a race. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon and it’s going to take time to get there. If you have the drive and you have the will, then you will find what you’re looking for.

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Make certain that you have a gameplan of A, B, C, and D. Talk to your professors. Talk to your peers. Do your own little research and maybe dabble in something that’s completely new, so you won’t be bored, you’re still learning, and you’re going out and [taking] every chance possible. Because, you know, the saying, ‘We miss a hundred percent of the shots we don’t take.’

JM: What do you want people to know about the post-grad experience?

JH: It has its ups, it has its downs. It feels great that I don’t have to run into a classroom, do homework, or freak out on a test. But it’s also a little nerve wracking that you don’t get the jobs right away or it’s going to take quite a bit of work to get that starting job. And that, even though it’s a time to relax and enjoy, it’s still a time that you’re going to work your butt off…You think you’re going to work hard now, [but] this ethic will teach you and you will work harder right after graduation. [Don’t] be afraid of that, but..embrace it.

This interview has been edited and condensed for style and clarity.