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From whim to Hollywood

Senior television arts major, Rachel Borland plans to move to Los Angeles after graduating in December. Photo via Rachel Borland.

Sometimes taking a chance can lead to an important discovery. Rachel Borland, senior television arts major, found this out firsthand.

Borland originally planned to attend culinary school, but came to the conclusion that cooking was more of a hobby than a career choice for her. She ended up in film and television production on a bit of a whim, having never done anything of the sort before, only entering into that line of work during her second semester of college.

“I was just hoping I was good at production and hoping that I’d like production, and it was a really good guess because I love it and I seek out all the opportunities I can,” Borland said. “I’m very fresh to the field, which is crazy because I do so much now.”

Borland has acquired a lot of local experience in this industry. She has been camera operator and director for the Peoria Chiefs minor league baseball team. She was also the videographer for Morton school district.

Additionally, she has worked with Chicago area sports, ESPN3 Braves Vision and Peoria’s 48-Hour Film Fest, which she won this year.

Currently, she serves as director and master control worker at WEEK/ WHOI, a local TV station and is the producer of BUTV.

“Rachel is good at production … Rachel is good at everything,” said Dave Lennie, director of instructional technology and instructor for BUTV. “I haven’t found the thing Rachel isn’t good at yet.”

Since Borland has experience in many areas, she is a go-to person when anyone needs to know something.

“If you ask a question, she’s the one who has the answer,” said Kayla Pettis, freshman philosophy major, who does hair and makeup for BUTV News. “She’s always the first one to answer questions.”

In the spring 2018 semester, Borland ventured west to Los Angeles for Bradley’s Hollywood semester for experience beyond the Peoria area. Three internships kept her busy while there.

She operated as a production assistant at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards. She also worked in development for Fly on the Wall Entertainment, which produces unscripted television such as Big Brother. Her third internship was in development at New Republic Pictures, which is responsible for movies including Hacksaw Ridge and Black Swan.

Some of the tasks Borland did in Hollywood are performing preparatory work for production, sifting through new ideas for TV shows, helping to figure out how to pitch ideas to networks and analyzing incoming scripts.

“[The Hollywood semester] was less about learning paper schoolwork and more about learning life skills … real skills to use in the field once you’re out there, and it’s about making connections,” Borland said.

After her graduation in December, she plans to move out to L.A., where she hopes to first secure a position as a production assistant before rising up in the ranks.

“I would love to someday have my name on something like ‘created by’ or ‘produced by,’” Borland said. “I really like the aspect of developing shows and ideas and bringing them to fruition. That’s the end goal.”

However, no matter what role Borland ends up securing in production, she said she is sure she will be content with it.

“As long as I’m doing anything in the production field … that’s where I want to be,” Borland said. “How far I climb up the ladder is not super important to me as long as I’m doing something in production because I know that I’m good at it, I like it and it makes me happy.”

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