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faculty

Film & Video

Film & Video

Michelle Hill has worked in the professional film, video, and digital media industries as a Project and Production Manager for over 20 years. During her tenure, she has managed film and television projects for clients such as Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, and Nickelodeon, as well as a plethora of commercial clients. While working within the industry, Hill developed a passion for education and the passing on of knowledge to the next generation. She has spent well over 10 years educating students in the areas of new business development and presentation as it pertains to the entertainment industry. Hill graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in film production with an emphasis in business.

michelle hill

Film & Video

When Dave was 19, he moved from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA to Los Angeles, CA to work for Americorps and to see what LA could offer. One morning, his roommate woke him up. "Hey, a friend of mine is working on a film and they need production assistants,” he said. “If you can catch a bus and be there today by 9, you'll have the job." Needless to say, Dave caught the bus. After that movie wrapped, he moved on to a few more Hollywood projects, ultimately working as a story producer on a nationally-syndicated reality game show. Having found a career that he loved, he returned home to Pennsylvania to learn the basics of filmmaking at Temple University. While interning for a Philadelphia-based animator, Dave met a producer who got him started as a location sound mixer. He quickly realized that his love of music recording and acoustics could be translated into a career in sound for film. Since then, he has worked on a wide array of projects as a sound editor, camera operator, and director for clients such as Hulu, Nickelodeon, and Food Network. A natural innovator, he is always looking for ways to surpass expectations and challenge himself. His interests lie in directing documentaries and creating immersive binaural sound experiences. Dave would love to work on more science fiction pieces, and hopes to someday invent acoustical levitation.

Dave Willis-Lorenz

Film & Video

From early on in Ibrahim’s career he picked up the interest in creating short films and vlogs about traveling to various parts of the world. From being behind the camera to behind the computer editing projects he has also participated on camera for a number of roles over the years working as a freelance editor for short adverts and project media manager for education programs abroad. He believes in learning more than what is necessary is the right mindset to have going into learning film. He has had to learn a number of softwares and skills in order to remain relevant in the industry from 3d compositing, color grading and even coding for drone operations along with audio cleanups and lighting hues for short films. He has dipped his toes in a number of pools and believes others who do so as well will see the limitless possibilities when creating movies of wonder. Going forward he wants to help as many people as he can in seeing the magic of film and how there is something for everyone in this field. If there is one thing that pushes him every day it is to create something, it is the idea that what we make stays and is in many ways timeless which he thinks is beautiful.

ibrahim bennett

Film & Video

William got his professional start in video production when he first attended Daytona State College after high school. There, he was part of a 3-semester long program where he got valuable, hands-on experience. He was a part of the crew that alternated roles each week for episodes on locally-produced programs that aired on WDSCTV Channel 15 in the Central Florida area. After this, he took the next step in the television industry and worked as a Studio Operator at WFTV Channel 9 News in Downtown Orlando while he was earning his Bachelor's at UCF. At Channel 9, he was responsible for coordinating all the anchors, reporters, and meteorologists so everyone was well-prepared and on the same page for live news broadcasts. He also maintained and operated the equipment from microphones and IFBs to robotically-controlled cameras and replacing light fixtures high above in the studio ceiling. Two years passed, a degree was framed, and then he began a similar position at WKMG Channel 6 News. And now after spending a little over a year at Channel 6, William wants to effectively train and prepare the next generation of the production industry. From producing independent student films in college to working in a competitive, fast-paced TV market, he feels he has learned a great deal not only from his personal experience, but from the advice of his many peers who had been in the industry longer. Coming from a close family that's deeply rooted in education, William is determined that he will instruct his students to be so well-versed and prepared in the world of video production that they will surely prosper from what they have learned at the F.I.R.S.T. Institute.  

William bowden

Film & Video
Patrick has always had a love of film and video. He loves bringing order to chaos in the editing suite. He has several years of experience working with Final Cut Pro, AVID, and Adobe Premiere Pro. Before joining the F.I.R.S.T. team, He worked in production and television news for 11 years, starting as a video editor. He later began directing a newscast and producing news stories for the station. He is also a freelance editor and sports videographer. He recently taught video production and post-production to high school students in Marion County.

patrick briar

Film & Video

Born and raised in Venezuela, Pedro Cohen soon found his talent for Filmmaking, managing to graduate with honors from college with three short films and a degree of science in communications. From then he went on to Europe to specialize both in Filmmaking and Acting at the Madrid Film Institute. It was there that he participated as director, actor, scriptwriter and editor in over sixteen short films. Upon his return to Venezuela, he worked in motion pictures, documentaries, commercials, and music videos. His short films have participated in film festivals around the world, winning awards and critical recognition. Pedro has ten years of experience as a filmmaking an acting instructor in Latin America, Europe, and the United States and has founded his own production company called Internal Victories.

pedro cohen

Film & Video

As a kid, Jonathan was a screen junky and loved the stories of the movies he watched.
Jonathan’s parents got him a VHS copy of Star Wars that he watched so many times the tape eventually wore out and became a scrambled blur.
As a student at California State University Northridge, he discovered and mastered the tools to tell his own stories as a director.
After getting a degree in Cinema and Television Production, Jonathan landed an internship with the Los Angeles Dodgers. In his 10 years with the Dodgers he worked his way from starting as a grip to producing and directing live, game day content and post-event coverage.
A native Californian, he has 15 years of experience in live production and extensive directing experience for the Dodgers, Lakers, Clippers, Kings hockey, concerts and corporate events.

Jonathon dietrich

Film & Video

Josh’s interest in film and television production began at a young age, eventually leading him to Full Sail University where he received his bachelor degree in film production in 2006. Since then, Josh has worked on a number of short films, commercials, and documentaries as a freelancer. Along with a partner, Josh ran a production company that brought student filmmakers onto each project so they could have the chance to gain experience on set. He also has experience in other fields, including live television, theater, and software development. Most recently, Josh taught film and video production to high school students here in Orlando.

josh graham

Film & Video

Bridget Hall graduated from the University if Central Florida in 2016 with a bachelor's of science in photographic technology. She's been working in digital content creation, videography, and photography since.  Some of her notable clients have been Advent Health, Jack White Land Company and Three Brothers Paddleboards.  Her work has been displayed at the Smithsonian in Washington, LoosenArt Exhibit in Italy and is in the permeant collection at the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach. 

Bridget Hall

Film & Video

 Jamile Johnson is a passionate video professional from Sacramento, California. Jamile received his degree from Valencia College where he studied graphic design and motion graphics. He started his career at the University of Central Florida where he honed his chops as a producer creating promotional and educational motion graphic videos. He then moved on to work as a Creative Producer for ABC Network Television, creating hundreds of compelling commercials and video marketing ads for local and national businesses. Outside of the world of video marketing and production Jamile is known in the local Orlando art scene as a fine artist. Jamile creates paintings and drawings of realistic portraits using an expressive style. Jamile has has been showcased in many galleries across Orlando such as City Arts Factory Galleries and the Orlando Museum of Art. With almost 10 years of experience working as a creative producer he has gained the knowledge and skill to be respected among his peers as a leader and educator in the field. 

JAMILE JOHNSON

Film & Video

Apple was born and raised in The Bahamas, on a small island known as Nassau. Apple has a incredible passion for films, and television, and understands that today, there are more opportunities available for filmmakers to produce their own content, from streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and AppleTV to Youtube, and Twitch. Apple is currently writing a script for a police procedural, and shorts. On days off when she's not fishing, she's working very hard not to crash her drone, or doing camera work to build up on her skills and continue learning.

Apple Lee

Film & Video

As a child, Taylor stayed up every night watching any film she could get her hands on. That passion for visual media led her to a career in film and television production. In 2015, She graduated from the University of Central Florida with a degree in Radio-Television. She received her Master of Fine Arts in Film Production from Full Sail University in 2018. After graduating, she started a career freelancing in Central Florida. Her experience on set includes live productions, feature films, short films, reality television, commercial shoots, and conventions. She has collaborated on projects with CNN, NASCAR, Lifetime, Uber, Universal Studios, and many others. 

taylor merced

Film & Video

Tim has been capturing moments since he discovered his first tape recorder when he was just 7 years old. Born into a family of artists, he jumped at any opportunity he could to tailor his craft by intentionally surrounding himself with the right people. Since learning the basics of video and audio production at an early age and refining himself through college, Tim eventually landed his first job in the industry as a Producer/Director for Time Warner Media. From conception to delivery and everything in between, his tenure at Time Warner landed him many other projects with the likes of NCAA Woman’s College Sports, Reality Check of New York State, and more. All the while, in his spare time, producing EDM music with releases on various labels around the globe. Tim’s journey has since taken him from the frigid climate of the Northeast to the wonderfully warm and welcoming climate of Orlando Florida. During his time here in Florida, he has been certified as a legal videographer as well as assist his local church build and maintain media departments with everything from live video to creative media content creation. Fun Facts about Tim: • Loves Transformers, so much that he has tattoos • Produces House music and has major releases on various record labels • Loves the beach, body boarding, and FPS games • A big fan of cultural foods • Born and raised in Syracuse, NY 

tim owens

Film & Video

Matthew's career in video production has spanned 20+ years, 6 continents, over 80 countries and a plethora of vocations.  After receiving his BA from the University of Central Florida in the early part of the 21st century, he has worked with live dolphins, shot & edited 100+ weddings, been responsible for the signal flow of countless live golf tournaments, produced everything from informercials to surgical research videos, and this doesn't even include the 9 years spent on cruise ships, running the television & theater systems and productions, working with talent from around the world, discovering new and interesting cultures and consuming their animals.  Back in Orlando since 2013, he has recently discovered a passion for instructing the next generation of video and film makers, imparting his wisdom and experience to prepare them to rule the world. 

matthew smith

Film & Video
Davia Taylor has been working in video production for over 8 years. While pursuing her degree in video production from UCF, Davia worked multiple production internships and was often on set. After graduating she worked seasonally as a camera operator and editor for Camp IHC and eventually worked as the Head of Daily Video Operations. Davia then moved on to working full time for Chewy.com as a production assistant and general set hand. After working as a production assistant for 7 months, she became a full time stop motion editor within the company. After working for over a year and a half at Chewy.com, she decided she wanted to pursue producing and project management. Davia found a position at an Orlando creative agency as a Creative Producer and worked diligently for over a year planning video and photos shoots from top to bottom and editing the final results.

davia taylor

Film & Video

After graduating from the University of Central Florida in 1994 with a Bachelors in Technical Theater and Design, Michael “Spoon” Wotherspoon received his first internship at Nickelodeon Studios. After showing is outstanding skills and talents in the art department, he was hired on, for the art department for the following shows, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Guts, and Allegra’s Window.

He is currently enrolled back at UCF to receive his Masters and then PhD. In the Summer of 2015, he was hired by the Orlando Magic in a new role as a Head R.E.F. This opportunity offers new challenges in the area of the fan experience and sports hospitality. Most recently, he was brought on-board as a part of the faculty for FIRST Institute. He is truly excited to be in this new path in life!

Michael Wotherspoon