The following is a guest post by Robert Anen for our Student Spotlight series. The series was created to highlight the fascinating and dedicated work being carried out by students in moving image archival studies. If you’re a student who would like to be highlighted or you know someone who should be, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Robert Anen and I live in Malverne, NY. I am a first-year MIAP (Moving Image Archiving and Preservation) student at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Film Studies and Production from Hofstra University in Hempstead, NY in 2011. As a kid, I had always loved movies and I hoped to work with them one day. I worked on sets, merely as a production assistant both before and after I graduated from Hofstra. The lack of consistency in employment and the inconsistent hours one had to work to sustain a career in film production did not end up appealing to me in the long run. Screenwriting, directing, and producing all seemed like impossible tasks without the ultimate creative vision and drive you need to have to create your own work.
I never considered myself an artist when it came to film production but I loved the idea of maintaining creativity through preservation. This way I could still work with movies. By going into the archiving and preservation profession, I will one day be able to say: “You know, you can still watch that movie because of me!” The MIAP program allows me to fulfill that dream and then some.
Thanks to the faculty and resources available to me, I am making the best out of my time in the MIAP program. In the fall, I participated in a Community Archiving Workshop with DCTV (Downtown Community Television) in an effort to catalog their massive library of videotape. This semester I am continuing the work we started through a final project in my Collections Management class. I am also currently interning at the Institute of Jazz Studies at Rutgers University in Newark, NJ, completing an inventory of their videotape collection. My goal is to gather enough tangible information for the creation of a grant proposal in the future.
Outside of my coursework, I have recently been appointed the new AMIA Student Chapter president. I have already started brainstorming event ideas and ways to broaden the scope of the AMIA Student Chapter at NYU. On top of all this, I have just begun working for Indie Collect, one day a week where I will learn how to identify various types of film prints and securely pack them as well. In April, I will be presenting at the Orphans Film Symposium at the Library of Congress Packard Campus on a group project from my coursework. In May, I will also partake in the APEX (Audiovisual Preservation Exchange), happening in Santiago, Chile this year, to help archives in need.
Finally, I wanted to highlight a recent trip my program took to the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. We learned a great deal from the experts all throughout the facility. For me, the main take away from the trip was in my future career as a media archivist, I have the potential to, for the better, influence the way this country and perhaps the world shares and organizes media. There will be no shortage of work in the future. As intensive as the MIAP program has been, with all of the projects I have worked on already, I have to admit that none of it has seemed like work. I think I was made for this profession.