|William Chilcoat '12|
|Producer, The Documentary Group|
“My passion for documentary started in high school when I was awarded a grant to produce a documentary that was broadcast on my town’s cable channel. It was this experience that initially inspired me to pursue film. The reputation of the film production program at Ithaca College seemed like a perfect fit for me to continue to chase my passion."
William Chilcoat ’12 is now a producer at The Documentary Group, an offshoot of ABC news founded by the core members of PJ Productions following the death of legendary broadcaster Peter Jennings. His current project is about genetically modified organisms or GMO's, and being backed by the Annenberg Foundation.
While a senior at Ithaca he produced a documentary pilot as part of Professor Ben Crane's documentary workshop course. “This was the single greatest learning experience of my college education because it was the most challenging. We had the opportunity to profile participants in the Occupy Wall Street movement,” he said.
William also prepared for his current role by working for two years as the urban music director of IC’s FM station, WICB. In this position, he had the opportunity to learn about management and teamwork skills. Working for WICB provided him with the opportunity to refine his audio production skills by producing scripted promotional spots for his department.
As a student at IC, he also participated in the ICLA program and worked as an intern producing comedy videos at Funny or Die, learning about the production process from the planning stages all the way through to completion.
Immediately following graduation, Chilcoat moved to New York City to work as a post-production assistant on a BET election special, Second Coming: Will Black America Decide the 2012 Election? In this role he was able to learn about the post-production side of documentary filmmaking. He also developed skills in organizing footage and working as an assistant editor on a major production.
Shortly after he was brought on to work as the outreach coordinator for Brooklyn Castle, a documentary profiling the stories of five members of the chess team at a below-the-poverty-line inner city junior high school that has won more national championships than any other in the country. Brooklyn Castle went on to win the Audience Award at the South by Southwest film festival. In this role, Chilcoat helped run the outreach campaign leading up to the release of the film. Part of his role was working to get the film screened in community centers and schools across the country. “It was really exciting to a part of such an amazing story,” he adds.
Chilcoat then worked as a post-production assistant for a small visual effects company that assigned him to help manage a project for actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s Foundation. “It was incredible to get to help raise money to support projects like a wild tiger preservation called Bardia National Park in Nepal,” Chilcoat said. The fundraiser was an art auction featuring work by many prominent painters through Christie's auction house. It went on to raise more than $35 million for key environmental projects.