Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.
In honor of the class of 2020 who had their senior year sadly cut short, every week for the rest of spring quarter, The Bottom Line (TBL) will be interviewing a member of this year’s graduating class. Here in this issue, TBL sat down for a virtual interview with film and media studies major Grant Bianchi from his home in Isla Vista, where he is soaking in his last quarter at UC Santa Barbara. He provided some candid insight about his quarantine routine and what it means to him that his final quarter is completely remote.
How have you been spending the extra time you’ve gained while quarantining? Is this time constructive for you at all? Perhaps planning for post graduation?
“Yes, I’ve been spending most of my time writing. I’m a film and media studies major, so I’m working on a few screenplays before I graduate. I’ve been getting a lot better at cooking too, but that hasn’t changed my daily breakfast … it’s usually cinnamon Eggo waffles. In terms of post-graduation plans, my girlfriend has actually recently made me join LinkedIn so I can start connecting with professionals in my industry — I’d always been pretty lazy and put it off but it seems like a good resource.”
What was the biggest event of spring quarter that you were looking forward to?
“Honestly, I don’t think anything in particular, but just the possibility of having more free time during my last quarter to hang out with my friends. Maybe even getting to join the ‘Dub’s Club.'”
What is the “Dub’s Club”?
“If you go to [Dublin’s Sports Grill] 40 times in a quarter, you are a part of the ‘Dub’s Club’ and they put your name on a plaque on the wall. But it’s kinda bullshit because they wipe the walls clean every year anyway.”
Do you feel that having your last quarter at UCSB remotely has negatively affected your college experience as a whole?
“I miss biking to and from classes and getting to be on campus every day. I didn’t realize the last time I left class winter quarter would be my last time on campus. However, I have to say that being able to sit in my living room and play Wii while on a Zoom lecture hasn’t been all that bad. Most of my studying and work gets done outside on my deck, and there are definitely worse places I could be. But no, I don’t think this has ruined my whole college experience. I think people who are letting this ruin four years of memories and experiences are forgetting that they lived in paradise for three and a half years and that can never be taken away from them.”
Were you looking forward to being a part of the actual graduation ceremony or are you rather indifferent about missing that experience?
“I was excited to do senior sunrise with my friends, but to be honest the idea of sitting in a hot field for hours already halfway to a hangover wasn’t something I was particularly interested in. I will say, I feel much worse for my parents and family who were excited to come visit me and see me graduate, since I am from the East Coast and they haven’t had many chances to visit. Having a graduation ceremony over Zoom is a funny idea though.”
Being a film major, how do you think COVID-19 will affect the movie and film industry and your ability to break into the industry post-grad?
“I definitely feel like the first year coming out of college is going to be incredibly difficult in breaking into the industry, if not impossible. However, we have seen Hollywood struggle in economic downturns before and it always seems to come back stronger. Especially now, with the power and funding of streaming services, like Netflix, I am optimistic that there are more avenues than ever before to create and to get your story out there. Hopefully in a year or so, studios and production companies will start hiring in mass again, and by then I’ll have the experience necessary to be hired.”
Has this pandemic possibly spurred any interesting movie ideas for you?
“About the pandemic or virus? No, but I definitely think the additional time I have to conceptualize and develop my ideas and write in my free time is invaluable.”
What piece of advice would you give the class of 2021 now that you’ve almost completed your college career amidst a global pandemic?
“Don’t take a single second in Isla Vista for granted.”