Success Story: Francesca Moran

Filmmaking Major - Class of 2016

Name:  Francesca Moran
Company: Tribe Pictures
Title: Project Manager/ Production Office Administrator
Graduation Date: May 2016
Major: Filmmaking

Q: Were there any faculty or staff members that were particularly helpful during your time at Montclair State?

A: I had a few great teachers at Montclair State University that inspired me to get involved and taught me invaluable life lessons throughout college. One teacher that helped me tremendously is named Susan Skoog. She is a professor in the filmmaking department and inspired me during my four years at Montclair. Her classes made me excited to be a student, and I actually use some of the things she taught me in my career every day. When I graduated from Montclair State I moved into an apartment and started job hunting. I was living alone and bartending to make my rent every month. I was struggling, to say the least, when I ran into Susan Skoog at a café in Montclair. She offered me an unpaid job to work on a film that she wrote and was directing over the summer. I immediately said yes, and began working with her for the next two or three months. While working on her set, I met a few great filmmakers and producers that recommended me for jobs in the industry. Soon after, a company called Tribe Pictures contacted me because of a recommendation from a producer on Susan’s film set. I don’t think I could have gotten this job without people like Susan. That’s one of my favorite parts about Montclair State is the professors and teachers and adjuncts that come into class and inspire students like myself every day. There were plenty of times after I graduated that I considered being a bartender forever, or becoming a receptionist, or whatever job I could think of that sounded “safe” and “secure” because I had no health insurance, I could barely pay my bills, and I thought it would be impossible to get a job in my major. But luckily, I had the determination and help from amazing professors like Susan to remind me I had just spent four years and thousands of dollars because I had a passion for filmmaking. And luckily, I didn’t quit. I owe a huge ‘thank you’ to Susan and the many other professors at Montclair State University. These people helped me realize my potential, taught me life lessons, and most importantly inspired me.

Q: What inspired your success?

A: It’s funny because I didn’t have a clear path to “success”, or whatever you’d like to call it. It was messy and confusing and I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. (Because I didn’t). I had applied to so many jobs every afternoon, it felt mind numbing. And it was discouraging and frustrating that I wasn’t getting any interviews. I knew I was smart and I also knew that I was a hard worker, because I worked almost seven days a week to pay my rent at the end of every month. While in college, I was working almost full time, I had a part time internship, I was deeply involved in my sorority, and I was a full time student. I figured if I could handle all of those responsibilities, I could handle having a full time career after college! Not until I came into my first day of work at Tribe Pictures did I realize I had obtained some sort of success, finally. And then I started thinking about Montclair State and my amazing professors like Susan and I realized it all would not have been possible without these people and these experiences. I had three internships while at Montclair, and all were important in different ways. They helped me succeed, because even though I was waking up at 5am to catch a train to New York and not being paid, I was learning really valuable lessons about the work environment and the industry itself. My internships showed me what I liked doing within the Film Industry, and what I didn’t like doing. The more experience I had, the better my resume was, and the more confident I felt about graduating. I also have to say, my parents played a huge part in my success and why I have a job. They encouraged me to do more, work harder, and not to give up when I was exhausted and wanted to quit my job so I could sleep in. They helped me pay for college, and most importantly, they gave me a support system that I couldn’t have gotten anywhere else.

Finally, as I reflect on my years at Montclair State University and what I attribute to my success and why I have a career now, I think of my sorority. I was apart of Sigma Sigma Sigma at Montclair State, and served as Vice President when I was a junior. Being apart of the sorority taught me public speaking skills, made me more deadline oriented, taught me responsibility, and showed me how to balance a million and one things at once. I completed hundreds of hours of community service because of the sorority, as it truly was an amazing experience and made Montclair State feel like my actual home. For anyone that feels out of place at Montclair, I highly recommend Greek Life, or some sort of organization. You will learn life lessons that are invaluable and will help you in your career.

Q: What is it you do at Tribe Pictures?

A: I do a little bit of everything, and it’s amazing. At Tribe Pictures, we create corporate films for sales, marketing and branding, investor relations, recruiting and human resources, values and celebration videos, to name a few. Some of our clients include Verizon, American Express, Quest Diagnostics, Colgate, and so many more. I help coordinate film shoots, hire freelancers for projects, create schedules, and work on budgets. I’m also fortunate enough to go on location scouts and other amazing opportunities because of Tribe. I have my hands in a lot of different areas involving creating a video, and it’s a wonderful learning experience. I learn new things every day here, and I’m constantly challenged. It’s an amazing work environment and it’s run by brilliant people. Vern Oakley, CEO and Creative Director, and Barbara Hennessy, VP of Production are masters at what they do, and learning from them has been one of the greatest opportunities yet.

Q: How did you land this role?

A: I started by simply being a Production Assistant on set for a 360° video Tribe was creating. A producer that worked on Susan Skoog’s set over the summer had recommended me, and luckily Tribe gave me a call. After working as a PA, I began to work in their production office doing odd jobs like writing purchase order’s, answering phones, booking hotel rooms and flights for productions, etc. I started taking on larger roles later, and now have multiple roles in and out of the office.

Q: What are your plans after graduation?

A: After graduating, I knew I wanted to stay close to New York, and my parents lived over an hour away in western New Jersey. So I got an apartment by myself, and applied for jobs within my major of Filmmaking. Going forward, I would like to continue working with Tribe Pictures and learn as much as I can with this company. I would also love to go back to school for my Master’s Degree in Communication and Media Arts.

Q: What advice would you give to current and prospective students?

A: The most important life lesson I learned while trying to obtain a job after I graduated was that nothing comes easily. Nothing. I would go to Starbucks every day before my bartending shift and apply to websites like or any of those job websites for hours. Even with the great resume I had, I realized everyone had a decent resume and everyone that had just graduated was applying for the same job as me! It is so important to say, “yes” to every opportunity someone gives you. There’s always an opportunity to learn something new. And the opportunities that may seem random, can evolve into something amazing like a job! It’s so important to take the four years you have at Montclair, no matter what major or aspirations you have for your future, and say yes to everything. Learn new skills, fail a bunch of times, and literally try everything you possibly can while you’re in college. The more experiences you try, internships you do, and opportunities you say “yes” to, the better chance you have at earning a job once you graduate. Even if those opportunities do not pay, still say “yes”. You will learn that throughout college, and even after you graduate, people will give you amazing opportunities, but can’t always afford to pay you. I have learned that many of these opportunities have been invaluable and was well worth the money I spent on travel to get there. Whether it is internships or unpaid jobs, anything can lead you to an amazing experience, and perhaps even a paid job down the road. Say yes to everything.

The amazing thing about Montclair State, and why I loved my four years there, was the opportunities it gave me. I was able to try every aspect of filmmaking, fail a TON of times, and come out four years later with so many skills under my belt. It’s important to take advantage of all that Montclair offers. Job fairs, internships, professors, staff, everything. Ask your professors tons of questions, pick their brains. Believe it or not, most of them have a ton of experience in the industry and you can learn from them if you just ask. College in general is really what you make of it, and the four years goes by so quickly, you have to savor every last moment you can while you’re still a student. This is the time you have to learn and fail over and over in a completely safe environment. I remember all the struggles of going to Montclair; like the ridiculous winds in the winter, the Wi-Fi connection that never seemed to work, and the piles of homework and projects that I was sure I would never finish. But Montclair State is beyond amazing. They want you to succeed and they want you to have a career when you leave. They give you all the tools to do so. But it’s up to you, the student, to make those aspirations and dreams actually become a reality. No one will hand you a job, or an internship, or a career. It’s completely up to you to be proactive, and utilize all that Montclair has to offer.