About Jeremiah Gloria: Jeremiah Gloria works as an Assistant Video Editor for National Geographic in Washington D.C. He has over six years of experience in film production, writing, and communication, including as a video editor and freelance filmmaker. Additionally, Mr. Gloria has served as a filmmaking instructor for Fairfax Collegiate in Herndon, Virginia, and videographer for Northern Arizona University Athletic Communications.
Mr. Gloria earned a Bachelor of Science in Communication Studies from Northern Arizona University in 2014. He returned to NAU to pursue his master’s degree, and was among the first class to graduate from their Master of Arts in Communication program with an emphasis in Documentary Studies.
[MastersinCommunications.com] May we please have a brief description of your educational and professional background?
[Jeremiah Gloria] I attended Northern Arizona University, for both my undergraduate and graduate degrees, from the January 2012 to May 2016. I obtained my B.S. in Communication Studies and M.A. in Communication with a Documentary Studies Emphasis. During this time, I was also the videographer/editor for Northern Arizona University Athletic Communications. I filmed and edited brief highlight reels for several NAU sports teams. My current position is as Assistant Video Editor for System One under the National Geographic Channel in Washington D.C.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree in communication, and why did you ultimately choose the Master of Arts in Communication, Documentary Studies emphasis program at Northern Arizona University?
[Jeremiah Gloria] I decided to pursue a master’s degree in communication after consulting with my mentor and professor, Kurt Lancaster. I received my undergraduate degree in Communication Studies at Northern Arizona University and realized that my degree, although very practical and interesting, was not the epitome of my interests. What I really wanted to be was an artist, or more specifically a filmmaker. At the same time, I did not want to forfeit all the skills I had gained in my Communication Studies program. It was at Kurt Lancaster’s recommendation that I apply for the newest graduate program on campus, the M.A. in Communication with a Documentary Studies emphasis.
The degree married my skills in communication with my passion for film. Through this I gained insight into the subtext of film with my communication background. It was the perfect fit for me at the time. I was engaged in the structure of storytelling and at the same time could interpret the art through certain theoretical structures to give more intellectual weight to any film I would produce.
[MastersinCommunications.com] How is NAU’s master’s program structured, and what concepts did the program emphasize? What skills and strategies did you learn in your classes, and how did you apply them to course assignments?
[Jeremiah Gloria] During my time at the program’s inception, it consisted of documentary studies, documentary practicum, communication research, and one final project. The Documentary Studies class was our foray into the critical aspects of documentary. What did it mean for something to be documented? In how many mediums can we produce documentary? We dove into different documentarians such as Werner Herzog and Errol Morris. We studied that every key component of the story must be molded by the artist in his/her respective voice.
We then transferred our current knowledge of documentary film and attempted to translate that into our own projects. The practicum part of our program was where we first developed our voices. Our films were shaped by our passions. The practicum helped us develop our discipline and it was during this time that I decided to experiment with several different topics. I made films on small table tennis clubs, stories of love, and my family.
The communication aspect of the program was broken down into a few classes based on theory, the most essential being the Qualitative Research Communication class. Our cohort developed key skills in interpersonal, mass communication, and organization communication theory.
At the end of our program we had to complete a Capstone Project or Communication Project. We embarked upon a project that summarized the bulk of what we learned. Our program differed with other Communication programs in that we did away with the traditional thesis and instead opted for a passion project. Apart from one audio project, our cohort had decided to produce films.
[MastersinCommunications.com] Could you please describe your experience completing your capstone project? What communication issue or challenge did it address, and what were your primary deliverables (i.e. communications plan, tutorial, video, visual marketing materials, etc.)? What advice do you have for students in terms of successfully completing their project?
[Jeremiah Gloria] Considering that our final project was centered around documentary studies, I decided to make a documentary film. At the beginning of the program, we were faced with investigating our passions. I found that my childhood was important to me and served as a muse for my final project. A lot of my life was centered around nostalgia and attempting to reclaim my past. It was an important time in my life, and something that I wanted to recreate in my present life. But this drive would occasionally cause me grief. I ventured on this project to examine why it was so important to my being and to therapeutically overcome my grief over its transience.
As with any communication research, I decided to consult primary sources. But considering that this was my childhood, I physically went back home to San Diego. I flew back home to my parent’s place, where they had stored hours of archival footage. Additionally, I took my parents to our first home; I filmed the places, my parents, and my siblings with my narration in order to guide the structure of my film.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What key takeaways, experiences, or connections from NAU’s Master of Arts in Communication Documentary Studies program have you found to be the most helpful for you in your career path?
[Jeremiah Gloria] Interpersonal communication theory has been the backbone of my entire program. It’s important to understand that in every profession, one needs to understand people. Within film itself, it’s important to understand characters and their motivations. What do these people value? How do they communicate their values through their actions and behavior?
At the same time, it has also helped shape how I approach people in real life. Just like characters in films, real people have actual motivations. When working at an environment like National Geographic, it’s important to understand what people are saying through the subtext. There are editors, producers, directors, and talent that all have their own agendas.
[MastersinCommunications.com] What advice would you give students just starting Northern Arizona University’s MA in Communication program? More broadly, what advice would you give students who are either considering or starting a master’s in communication program, whether it be at NAU or another university?
[Jeremiah Gloria] Something I would recommend, and also something I wished I had done more, is to engage with resources on campus. The program is full of accomplished filmmakers who have a wide breadth of knowledge and practical skill. Harun Mehmedinović, Bill Carter, and Kurt Lancaster were all great filmmakers and were integral to my growth as an artist. They challenged, pushed, and educated everyone in my cohort. They understand the mistakes that one can make, because they have had time to make those same mistakes. If you can understand that wisdom, then it will propel you forward.
The communication building on campus has a vast supply of filmmaking equipment, high-end computers, and a talented staff. There are a variety of resources that you can use, and also the city of Flagstaff is a resource in and of itself. The variety of people, climate, and talent make for a creative template.
Thank you, Mr. Gloria, for your excellent insights on Northern Arizona University’s Master of Arts in Communication program!