Spotlight: Interview with Alicia Agramonte

The MSU Spokesman

Alicia Director Photo

Alicia Agramonte is a Sophomore at Morgan State University. Along with being on the School of Communication’s Honor Roll for Academic Excellence, she is also a proud member of the SWAN (Screenwriting and Animation) department. She is currently producing and directing a web series titled “Alternate University” about college students who double as superheroes.

Did you always want to be a director? If not, what other careers were you interested in?

Before I wanted to be a director I wanted to be an actress. Like I was in every play in high school, middle school and elementary. I just wanted to be an actress or newscast broadcaster. I remember my dad, he would always be filming us when we did things, and all of a sudden I would be like “And this is Alicia Agramonte with the news for today. Lets talk about this amusement park.” I was a dork.

What drew you to the art of filmmaking?

I love TV, I love scripted dramas, I love anything that can connect an audience. And I would watch a movie and be like, “no this actor is supposed to do this,”  and “they’re supposed to convey this, and they’re not making me feel it.” And that’s really what made me think, “can I get paid to tell the actors how to have emotions?” And then I kind of fell in love with everything from editing, to producing, to just having that relationship with people on set.

Being that this is a male dominated business, can you tell me about any female directors who have influenced you?

Let me just tell you real quick, I am horrible, horrible with names. But I will tell you there are real powerful, dominant female directors in the business. One just won at the Sundance festival for best director. I can’t remember her name, but she’s very beautiful. And also, a book I have is one that talks about how to be a director in the TV genre, and it was written by two female directors, and I thought that was great.

Do you think there’s a reason behind the lack of women who choose to sit in the director’s chair?

I definitely think that being a director means you need to have a strong presence, you need to be able to give orders and have people respect you. With doing that, you also need to come out of your emotions a little bit. I think people don’t typically see women as being able to do that. But I think women are one of the greatest people to command that kind of respect from their crew. And also make sure emotions are being displayed at the proper time.

Even though you’re just starting out, what are some of the difficulties you’ve faced personally being women and trying to make a name for yourself as a director?

Everyday’s a learning experience. Everyday something goes wrong. From lighting, to actors not showing up. Everyday’s a struggle for just being a director in general. I think as far as being a woman, it’s just getting that respect you need to have on set. But it’s been great because I’ve been working with people who don’t see me as man or woman. It’s just “she’s a director and she wants to do work.” As long as your work ethic is strong  it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or woman, you can succeed in this business.

Tell me about what made you want to do the “Alternate University” project that’s based around the comic Green Lantern mythology?

Well Will Mckinley is an alum of Morgan State. He created the first set of Green Lantern videos you can find on Youtube, and the Blackest Night. When I watched those videos, I fell in love. And I decided I have to do superheroes at Morgan, and I just want it to be like this black Justice League.

What else are you working on for the future?

Right now I do a lot of videos for anyone that needs one done. I just finished a resident’s assistant video of her doing her re-hiring process. I want to do some music videos- that’s coming up in the works. And [there are] a lot of short films I’m getting asked to work on. I just got hit up to do a short horror film, so that’s really cool.