Giovanni Dzaky is a 24-year-old living in Jakarta, Indonesia. After working briefly in a financial consulting firm, he went on to be a baker, and then was a cook at a takeout restaurant which he now co-owns. Jovann, as he’s known to his friends, wanted to pursue filmmaking and apply to graduate film programs. He did not have much experience in the craft but wanted to gain knowledge and build skills in film production before applying to a master’s program.
Jovann enrolled in the Tisch Pro/Online Film Workshop, where he collaborated on films with crew members in New York and Singapore. Tisch Special Programs caught up with Jovann to learn more about his experience in the course.
How did you find out about the Tisch Pro/Online courses?
I was looking to apply for a Master’s degree in filmmaking at American universities—naturally, NYU Tisch was one of them—so I opened some of their websites and saw this course when opening NYU Tisch’s website.
Why did you decide to enroll in the Film Workshop?
Being aware of having very little knowledge [of] filmmaking, I planned to join a short course…to cover the foundations of filmmaking before taking a Master’s degree in filmmaking. I had several choices in mind, both in Indonesia and overseas. I preferred an online course, considering the pandemic was getting worse in my place. Eventually, I ended up choosing this course.
What was your level of filmmaking experience prior to taking the course?
Honestly, it’s not much. I dabbled in screenwriting, camerawork, and I saw many film discussions on the internet, particularly YouTube.
What are some of the projects you worked on in the workshop?
Within the six weeks, there were so many projects that had to be submitted. There were new deadlines every two to four days. I guess it was for training the students to adapt to the restless film industry. The projects included, but are not limited to, a short film of character development, a documentary of someone around you going about his or her life, visual poetry, a music video, a dream sequence, and a 5-minute maximum short film without dialogue for the final project.
Describe the collaboration that happens in the course. Where were your crewmembers from?
Most of my crewmembers were from NYC itself, although there was a girl from Singapore, too. The collaboration here was in the form of division of duty. For instance, someone shoots the movie and the other edits it, but surely there has to be an agreement between them on what movie they want to make.
Honestly, it was difficult when you were tasked to collab but you could not meet face to face, which meant you had to look for people other than your crew members as actors. However, this was not the case for the crew members who lived nearby and got to meet each other.
Other than that, in this course everyone wanted to make movies based on their ideas, so it was quite undesirable to collab like that. I just thought it would be better to collab with students with different aspects of filmmaking.
What did you take away from the one-on-one discussions with your instructor, Shivani Khattar?
I learned quite a lot about films from Shivani, like the technical aspects of filmmaking, how different directors have their own approach to filmmaking, the film industry in NYC, and the film school in NYU itself. She was also very easygoing too, so it was really nice to discuss with her.
Describe a challenge you faced, either making your final film or during the class and how you overcame it.
Every time there was a new project to submit, [along] came another challenge as I had to figure out another movie to make. My way of figuring this out was to watch movies as reference, make the story or the theme about something I know (what I feel, my past experiences, what happens around me), and discuss it with Shivani.
What inspired your final film?
I took the inspiration of what happened to my friend.
What are some benefits of taking an asynchronous online course?
Flexible schedule for sure. It really helped with the 11 hour-time difference between NYC and Jakarta. And it also means that I could take the course wherever I please. With that said, it gives a more relaxed and casual ambience, which I believe is a good way of learning.
Are you working on any current film projects? What's next for you?
Not currently. I just applied to several graduate film schools and [am] still waiting to hear from them. Also, I’m in the process of applying [for] a job in some production companies around me.
The Film Workshop is part of the Tisch Pro/Online courses available throughout the year. The registration deadline for spring 2022 is February 28, 2022.