• Damien Dornford

    Directing His Career

    Portrait of Damien Dornford.
    Damien Dornford
    Film and Video

    Filmmaker’s George Brown education is invaluable from all angles

    Damien Dornford’s passion for film led him to enrol in our Film and Video courses. But the versatile knowledge and skills picked up from his courses have helped this creative filmmaker and interactive media producer in everything from animation to writing.

    Right now I’m doing animation, and working towards producing my first feature, which is currently in pre-production, Damien explains. I’ve directed numerous short films and a web series, and am part of a film network group that focuses on production and short films – I definitely keep constantly busy with creative projects.

    He finds himself making frequent use of the mix of traditional principles and practical tools he learned at George Brown.

    I take a lot of knowledge I have from the courses and I apply it to my job, adds Damien, who works at Smiley Guy Studios, a Toronto production company. There are a lot of applicable uses from what I learned at George Brown College that I’ve adapted into my craft.

    Damien started taking our film courses in 2007. Having spent several years working as a game developer at Corus Entertainment and an associate producer at TVO, he had decided it was time for a new direction. A refresher in film production seemed like the place to start. Initially, the college’s location drew him in.

    I was working downtown at the time and it was easy for me to get to the campus, he says. I liked the price point as well, compared to other schools. It’s a very reasonable rate for the different courses.

    He immersed himself in his courses, taking two each term while balancing his workload as a freelance interactive developer. He completed the Independent Filmmaking Certificate (now the Film and Video Production Certificate) requirements in 2009.

    With some good time management it was pretty easy to handle – balancing time between weekends and evenings, adds Damien. It was something I was really interested in, so I pushed back other things and focused on my studies.

    The Cinematography, Lighting and Sound Production course was particularly beneficial, helping him to fine-tune his approach behind the lens.

    The cinematography course was a really useful class. It really helped shape my knowledge of lighting, cameras and compositions, says Damien.

    “If you have a high interest in film and want to get into that world, I would definitely recommend George Brown. It’s very good hands-on training and provides the knowledge to get you what you want out there.”

    While the skills he gained at George Brown have proved transferable, the relationships made with his teachers and classmates have remained fixed as he’s pursued his mixed media career.

    The teachers are all beneficial mentors and great in different capacities, he says. I met a lot of great colleagues that I still keep in touch with to this day. I’ve seen them grow – that’s always exciting. There’s a group from the screenwriting course, an alumni of George Brown College writers, that meets regularly and they go through script peer readings. I’ve maintained those kinds of relationships as well which is pretty awesome.

    He credits the college with giving him an opportunity to develop his demo reel and showcase his skillset. Overall, Damien says the certificate is key for young filmmakers looking to progress and enhance their craft.

    If you have a high interest in film and want to get into that world, I would definitely recommend George Brown, he says. It’s very good hands-on training and provides the knowledge to get you what you want out there – it’s a very beneficial program and reputable school.

    Damien’s training has also proved adaptable to the ever-changing media landscape.

    The world we live in now is crazy with new technology and new ways to tell a story, he observes. But I think the principles that you learn from these kinds of courses provide you with the necessary tools to keep relevant and still create something engaging.