(BA, Film Studies & Production, '09)
Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
My favorite class and professor both have the same answer: Christine Noschese's Intro to Screenwriting class, where ideas flowed freely and the essence of great story structure was explored. Phil Katzman and Bill Jennings certainly deserve honorable mentions for their knowledgeable, fun teaching styles and many words of wisdom. My favorite memory was definitely the Hofstra Film Festival senior year, where I was stunned to win best film, director, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor for my senior thesis project, Cowards Run In Packs.
- What was your first job after graduating from Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing learned in that position?
My first job after graduating from Hofstra was as a smoke/flame intern at a post-production facility called Point.360. I learned a host of important life/career lessons there: Work your ass off to get your foot in the door, never let yourself become irrelevant, and get your interning out of the way while you're still in college.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
I was, until recently, a flame artist at a boutique visual effects house called SwitchFX. I was lucky enough to be hired by a married couple that would become my friends, mentors, and surrogate parents as I found my way in the industry. I was very sad to leave Switch in May 2017, but am excited to pursue content creation full-time.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Most importantly, never become irrelevant. The world of filmmaking and content creation is changing rapidly, and antiquated mindsets are sure to get you stuck in a dead-end career. As mentioned before, at least for film students, intern your ass off while you're still in school. Production and post-production houses love to hire from within, and you'll be ideally placed to snatch up an assistant or junior role when it becomes available. Other than that, try and tell simple, succinct stories. Stop making movies about hitmen. Why is it that we all want to make movies about hitmen when we're in college?
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- What was your inspiration for creating Binging with Babish?
I've always been what I call a “psycho hobbyist” with cooking – in that I'll decide at 6 p.m. that I want to embark on a 12-hour culinary project – and was thrilled to almost accidentally find a way to merge that crazy energy with my profession and passion. I wanted to test out a new camera/light setup, and had just happened to see a burger cook-off on Parks & Recreation, and realized that I (along with most people) was intensely curious about how fictional foods actually tasted. The first episode received rave reviews from its tiny audience, which drove me to make more and more.
- How has your Hofstra degree helped you create Binging with Babish?
Hofstra not only helped teach me some of the fundamentals of making a beautiful image, it taught me the importance of storytelling. Even in a short-form cooking show like mine, storytelling is paramount. I'm not sure if this is still part of the curriculum, but shooting on 16mm film taught me the importance of carefully envisioning, framing and executing every shot – unlike digital, it teaches you to be a conservative and intentional filmmaker.
- What is the most delicious meal you've made, and is there one you would never make again?
The most delicious meal I've made on the show was definitely Il Timpano from Big Night (a film that Christine Noschese showed us!): layer upon layer of handmade pasta, meatballs, cheeses, sausage, eggs, and sauce, all baked into a mammoth pasta dome. The worst was unquestionably milk steak from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: a steak, boiled in milk until stiff, topped with a handful of jellybeans.
Andrew Rea is a filmmaker, visual effects artist, and internet personality based in Harlem, NY. He first became interested in filmmaking when he realized it was a viable means to get out of writing essays in middle school. He earned a BA in Film Studies & Production from Hofstra University in 2009, after his senior thesis project swept the school's annual film festival.
He went on to work his way up from unpaid intern to senior VFX artist over the next 7 years, while intermittently editing several award-winning documentaries – We Live This, a visual essay on subway breakdancers and went on to receive a Special Jury Mention at Tribeca Film Festival in 2015. In early 2016, while testing out new camera gear in his apartment kitchen, Andrew stumbled upon the intersection of his two biggest passions: food and film. He launched a pop culture cooking show, Binging with Babish, which at the time of this writing has garnered over 2.5 million subscribers and 250 million total views, and during April of 2017, was the fastest-growing YouTube channel in the world. With plans to launch new web series and to build programming for television and streaming platforms, Andrew endeavors to be one of the leaders of a new generation of content creators.