Who am I?
I’m Ryan Rakowski, a filmmaker with a huge passion for film and video production. I’m an adventurous, patient, and an honest individual whose been working in the field since 2010. I’m fond of sports, nature/wildlife cinematography, but particularly specialize in visual effects. I’m highly proficient with the Adobe suite and am currently learning 3D applications such as 3DS Max and Nuke. On April 25th, 2015, I graduated from Grand Valley State University with a Bachelor’s degree in film and video production with an emphasis on animation and new media.
Growing up I was always fond of cameras, and through this fondness I found myself making videos, without any guidance, teaching myself through the internet. By the start of high school, I learned how to make animations and visual effects through softwares such as Adobe After Effects. I utilized YouTube in both learning and exhibiting my work.
Out of curiosity, I randomly decided to film a high school basketball game where I created a video highlighting the key plays of the game. I uploaded the video to Facebook and the feedback from players and students was overwhelming. Through these sports highlights I created a reputation for myself as the high school “video guy.” During high school, because there weren’t any film and video classes offered, I took over seven classes on graphic design in which I’ve applied design techniques to my videos.
In 2010, I was given the opportunity to design a t-shirt for the first Van Andel Institute ‘Community for the Cure’ football game in Otsego, Michigan. Through my purple shirts, over $9,000 was raised for cancer research. By the end of high school, I was filming weddings, and dozens of high school sporting events which I made into highlight DVDs for the coaches and players. I was lastly awarded the departmental award for graphic arts among my graduating class, was also accepted at the Illinois Institute of Art in Chicago for Film Production, and was accepted at Grand Valley State University.
In the fall of 2011, I started attending Grand Valley State Univers
ity where I first worked for the Lanthorn, Grand Valley’s newspaper, recording video for their website. After my time at the Lanthorn, I was hired at WGVU-Public Media, a PBS station in West Michigan as a production assistant. Since being hired I’ve done a variety of tasks from directing and producing shows, operating the Chyron, setting up lights, building sets, organizing digital media, editing promos, displaying the teleprompters, recording audio through an audio board, and working as the camera operator during a variety of shows such as sports reports, politics shows, and children’s shows. I’ve also participated in uplinks while collaborating with networks such as CNN and FOX while working for WGVU.
Sonlight Christian Camp:
During the summers of 2012 and 2013, one of the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had so far was when I worked in Pagosa Springs, Colorado for a non-profit organization called Sonlight Christian Camp. As a Videographer, I worked alongside children recording, editing all the camp events and compiling them into a highlight DVD that could be purchased by campers and parents. All of the camp proceeds from my videos contributed towards a scholarship fund to get kids that couldn’t afford to go to camp into camp. I was able to experience the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, film several nature videos, and learned how to film with Canon DSLR cameras.
End of College and WXMI – FOX 17:
As college came to a close I found myself working for Xfinity by providing live instant replays during the Grand Valley baseball and softball games. When I graduated on April 25th, 2015, I graduated with a GoPro strapped to my chest not only to capture some interesting footage, but to wear it as a symbol for my passion.
As of July 2015, I was hired full-time by WXMI Fox 17 as an Operations Technician. My job requires me to direct talent and news anchors, operate the teleprompter, operate the jib on live television,and to assist in any additional production tasks.
The number one thing I love when I make my videos is watching the reactions I receive from people that watch them. We live in a digital cinema age now where our stories are being told more and more through computer generated visuals. By following in Philip Bloom’s footsteps, filmmaking is not only a career to me, but a lifestyle.
Quotes from friends and professionals in the film industry:
“You’re doing more as a freshman than most college students do by their senior year…either way you deserve it, a lot of hard work has gone into these results. Good luck!! Like you’ll need it…”
“Keep being passionate about what you do and remember hard work does get rewarded!”
“Ryan – These are so fun to watch – Thanks Again!
In Response to the Nebulas Video:
-“Looks completely amazing, you should consider writing an article or doing a video describing the step by step process.”
-“Beautiful! Very well done. How are you controlling form to get the various nebulae shapes?”
“The fact that you’re already interning is a testament to not only your skill level, but the dedication you have to make your mark in the industry. I’m proud of you man. Keep up the great work!!!”
“Ryan- Thanks for your passion for film and storytelling! May you be blessed as you view camp from behind, the hero of a camera.”
“You are so talented and you are such great company!”
“I’m so proud of you and the man that you’ve become!”