Ashton Avila completed her MFA in 2017 and through a series of fortunate events was hired for the PlayStation Emerging Filmmakers program to direct a pilot show, Two Roads. Avila made sure to network at her previous employments and through a relationship was contacted for an opening for director. Over the next two weeks her world was turned upside down as she was traveling to Atlanta for pre-production and eventually shooting her pilot over 4 days. “That was really wild because I’ve never shot that many pages in such a small amount of time,” says Avila about the 30-minute pilot.
Avila was fortunate to be given the opportunity to hire key members of her crew which she immediately looked to Chapman alumni Kaitlyn Hollingsworth (MFA/FP ’17) and Grant Moore (MFA/FP ’17). She mentioned that the pilots were shot back to back over 5 weeks and each production had the same core crew hired by PlayStation. Avila praised the crew member who had to work with five different directors and writers.
Avila is grateful for her time at Chapman saying, “coming out of Chapman, the way that we run our sets at school was actually so close to the way it runs in real life.” While working on the pilot she learned how to move fast and was able to hone in on her time management and leadership skills. Chapman taught her one more thing, how to get creative with a low budget. “I had to figure outhow to do a moving golf cart shot,” says Avila. Whatever was put before her with this pilot, she was able to forge ahead and get creative.
The PlayStation Emerging Filmmakers program has posted all the pilots online for viewing and they each have a short survey to help determine if one will be made into a series.