Cinema Production Alumna Ashley C. Stokes Receives Four Suncoast Regional Emmy Awards Alumni Profile
Meet Ashley C. Stokes '18
- Job Title & Employer
- Producer, WEDU PBS
- Cinema Production
- Hampton Township, Pa.
- High School
- Hampton High School
- Now Living In
- St. Petersburg, Fla.
- Hobbies & Interests
- Rollerblading, kayaking, bicycling, hiking, camping
"Having four regional Emmy’s under my belt after my first year working for PBS is humbling. It inspires me to continue to share stories that make a difference in our communities and eventually around the world."
What are some of your favorite Point Park memories?
Some of my favorite memories at Point Park were at Student Production Services (SPS). I started working there my freshman year and stayed up until graduation. It gave me the opportunity to get my hands on all of the gear before even using it for class. Plus, I learned from upperclassmen who passed along their knowledge of how to properly use the equipment and how to fix it. That work environment allowed me to have fun while learning a lot.
My favorite project at Point Park was my senior thesis. I got to spend two semesters creating a documentary about healing with nature. The beautiful thing about the documentary classes I took was the flexibility for creativity. It allowed me to choose a topic that I am incredibly passionate about while having guidance throughout the process. This class ultimately led me to becoming a documentary filmmaker and I use the skills I learned from it every day.
Highlight your professional experiences since graduating from Point Park University.
While I was in college, I had an internship as a videographer and photographer with Allegheny County’s Office of Special Events. This opportunity led to a full-time job following graduation. I captured events around the county and created social media videos for a variety of departments. This was a job that proved to be essential in my growth as a filmmaker.
When I moved to Florida in 2020, I didn’t have a job in place and was unemployed for a couple months. That’s when the power of my Pittsburgh network kicked in. My former professor, Laura Boyd, had shared my contact with a producer at Hearst Television, who hired me for a freelance job in my current city, St. Petersburg. After freelancing with various companies for six months, I accepted my current position as a producer with WEDU PBS, West Central Florida's PBS station.
What are your key responsibilities at WEDU PBS?
My title is producer, but I wear many hats including shooting, producing, editing, and directing short and long form TV shows and digital series. Every day is different for me; some days I will be making phone calls and putting together production schedules and other days I am out in the field filming with change makers in the community. It certainly keeps me on my toes and I get the opportunity to meet so many inspirational people.
You recently won four Suncoast Regional Emmy Awards. Tell us more about that achievement and what it means to you.
I am incredibly honored to have received four Suncoast Emmy Awards in 2022. WEDU was recognized in the Diversity/Equity/Inclusion category as well as for segments from our hyperlocal series, Greater Sarasota. Although the recognition is appreciated, the true value in it is growing our audience and allowing the stories that my colleagues and I are sharing to broaden people’s perspectives.
Having four regional Emmy’s under my belt after my first year working for PBS is humbling. It inspires me to continue to share stories that make a difference in our communities and eventually around the world.
What advice do you have for prospective cinema majors?
Before going to school, it’s really important to reflect on whether this is the best career for YOU, not what anyone else wants for you. This field can be grueling and will eat you alive if you let it. Once you’ve made the decision to go to film school, don’t be afraid to make mistakes and challenge yourself! It allows for valuable years of growth that will prepare you for the professional realm.
Network, network, network. The people you meet at university might help you get a job that pays the bills for the month but also can help you land a job of your dreams.
You decide how much effort and creativity you want to put into film school, what you put into it is what you get out of it.