by Nick Jones
Joseph Graves is a sophomore currently studying Communications/Media at JPCatholic. His interests range from studying humanities to photography to video effects work.
NICK: I know you happen to show a lot of interests in the media field. So if someone were to approach you right now and asked what you are studying, what would you say? What’s your ‘elevator pitch’?
JOSEPH: Right now I would say I’m studying how to make movies. It’s like equations that fit together, finding out how things work. Beyond that, I’m learning to understand how people work, and I get that from the Humanities classes; Humanities used to be my major, actually. I chose to go here because it offered liberal arts, which I find important. I view it as an accelerated form of understanding how the world works.
N: You mentioned before that you used to be a Humanities major, but are now in Communications. Why did you make the switch?
J: Since I’m at a film school, it was hard to stay away from working on projects. When I was studying just humanities, I wasn’t able to do that as much. See, I view things like filming [and] using a camera as a complete form of common sense, like a skill. And those skills are heightened by the humanities.
N: When did the humanities pique your interest?
J: When I first got into college I was waiting for that one class that was going to change the entire way that I think. I first got that when I took Rhetoric class. I couldn’t tell you what specifically in that class made it click for me, it was just witnessing the class as a whole that changed the way I thought. Advanced Rhetoric had the same effect.
N: How are you developing as an artist?
J: As a student here, I live in two different ways. One part is learning more of the world around me through the humanities, and the other is just doing projects. For example, I like creating things that people think they can’t do. I don’t like to see people getting into this mindset that, say, if you’re only a screenwriter, then you only should take screenwriting classes; the mindset that everything you do has to be based on that. You have to look at everything. And that’s what I’m trying to do.
N: Are there any works that inspire you as an artist?
J: I like to see short films online that plan to execute a simple story structure in a creative way. Many science fiction short films I’ve seen do this. Art doesn’t have to be complicated at first. When you boil it down, we watch films to be entertained and valuing that moment. I think the character choices and the other pieces should be so good and subtle that you forget about them when you watch it. It’s important to start with a basic story, and then eventually tackle on more complex stories, like Silence or The Lord of The Rings.
N: What advantage do you think a Catholic artist has in the media world?
J: I think there’s a better opportunity in knowing how the world works faster than one who does not have that background. Picture a jigsaw puzzle; you might have several puzzle pieces that are rough around the edges and have hard angles that may not fit the puzzle as well. A Catholic’s puzzle piece is more smoothed out, therefore the piece fits better. It also helps that the tradition has a history of being right, and knowing that truth makes better art.
N: Would you like to add any closing statements?
J: I would say to those who are studying in media, to be more critical and branch out. If you’re only learning by taking a class and just going home, you’re limited in whatever you learn in class. I really believe in self-instruction; that could mean going home after class and watching more tutorials online on a certain special effect or camera technique. I want people to recognize that they can be better.