Film production grad Lina Evans (BFA 2016) discovered her creative passion and career goals at York and has been making steady progress towards them ever since graduation. From building a creative network and community to learning the value of hustle and persistence, Lina feels York was an ideal foundation for her current success. York opened the doors for her first gig out of school on the Emmy award winning series Giver and now she’s looking forward to an upcoming contract as an assistant set decorator for a Netflix feature, with lots of cool jobs in between.
“In my last year of highschool I came for a tour and it made York U my first choice,” Lina said. “The student who lead the tour showed us the professional equipment and facilities and told us about the small class sizes and the strong community. When it came time to make my decision I felt I already had a strong connection to York.”
When she arrived, the people she met and the friends she made were the polar opposite of high school. “Everyone I knew in high school was only interested in traditional careers and for me, wanting something different, was really isolating,” Lina said. “Film school was the first time I was completely surrounded by like-minded people with the same goals as me. I felt more confident that I was making the right choice and that maybe I could even make a living in film. York was like a fuzzy blanket to support me through pursuing my dreams.”
A number of class experiences stand out to her. In 3rd year documentary class they had to start with four film ideas, which is realistic to life after school because a first idea might not be feasible and you need to be prepared to pivot. In her last year there was a production design class for both film and theatre students. One assignment they were ask to pick a painting and told to recreate it with as much detail as possible. She showed that assignment as part of her portfolio for her interview for Giver and the line producer hired her on the spot.
Giver is a TVO Kids reality show where local children build a public park in their community helped by designers and contractors. In pre-production Lina did everything from the sourcing of the supplies to the researching of the building permits. During production she travelled with the show, helped plan tasks for the young volunteers and even collaborated on the story arcs.
Since then she’s met great producers and worked as art director on 3 docudrama recreations Paranormal Survivor, Broke and Famous and Brawlywood. She’s been a set dresser on commercials, she’s working part-time as an associate producer on TVO’s Striking Balance Season 2 and now she’s preparing for her next gig as an assistant set decorator for a Netflix feature.
“Being a set decorator is increased responsibility,” Lina said. “It’s kinda intimidating starting a new role but I’m going to work my butt off. I’m hoping it will turn into a successful relationship and collaboration.”
Like many industries, film is a relational business. Her York network has helped land her some of these jobs, but as a word of advice to students she encourages them to apply to everything and just keep following up until you get your foot in the door.
“I remember in April of my 4th year I sent my resume out to over 40 places. Sometimes you just have to swallow any embarrassment and pick up the phone or send another email. I learned persistence in school and I’m sure it makes all the difference between someone who wants to work in film and television and someone who does not.”
“My determination has been my best asset so far. But I also know I have a great community of friends from York that I can always fall back and rely on.”