Ask an Alum: Alexis Borchardt
At Nebraska, Alexis honed her skills through internships and hands-on experiences in the Hixson-Lied College of Fine & Performing Arts. After graduating with a film and new media degree, she’s had the chance to work on big-name films and most recently on the Disney+ series The Bad Batch as a production coordinator. We talked to her about her current role, how Nebraska prepared her for a career in the film industry and her advice for Huskers.
When did you become interested in film? What draws you to production specifically?
I’ve been interested in film my whole life. I love music and the imagery in film and when I was younger I used to edit music videos with my favorite movies and shows to my favorite songs. I remember my parents explaining to me when I was 11 or 12 that people do that for film and piece the film together like I was doing my small little videos. I never really had a desire for acting or filming but the editing process was really fun.
When I got into UNL, I originally thought I was going to be an editor for movies but luckily the film program gives you the opportunity to explore lots of different roles. I was one of the most organized students in my class so I ended up doing a lot of the producing of the films and found out that I really enjoyed that.
Explain your role with Lucasfilm.
At Lucasfilm I am a Production Coordinator for the Bad Batch series on Disney+. I work for the animation department and pretty much handle all notes and scheduling for the animation department to pass on to the other departments.
I really enjoy getting to see the progress from the very beginning to end. As a Production Coordinator, I get to read the scripts, see the designs, go to the story launches and then eventually review the actual animation takes with our Animation Supervisor, Keith Kellogg. The Bad Batch is one of my favorite projects I’ve worked on since I’ve entered the industry because it’s Star Wars (which I love) and the team is so amazing to work with.
You said you recognized the value of your education at the Johnny Carson School when you were interning at the Cannes Film Festival as an undergrad. Can you talk a little more about that?
When I got to the Cannes Film Festival we were broken up into groups of students who would all kind of have the same schedule and after chatting with them it seemed like I was one of the only students who actually got to work with their professors directly and use real industry equipment provided by the school.
A lot of them mentioned to me that because their schools were so big they felt like their film classes weren’t giving them real-world experience. I felt really lucky that I was able to work with the real equipment and tools that are industry-standard with professors that were still in the industry and had the connections to help us all experience it first hand.
You were with ILM for four years and worked on a range of films, from Captain Marvel to A Quiet Place. What was your favorite part of this experience?
I loved working at ILM because of the volume of films that we’d work on throughout the years. It was so amazing to work directly with such talented artists, some of who had been there since the very beginning. It was really special to hear the stories of how they made Jurassic Park or the groundbreaking visuals in Death Becomes Her. It was a big community and I loved the variety each project provided.
When I worked on Irishman I was lucky enough to get to go as a guest to the Oscars in 2020 and it was an amazing experience. Although Irishman didn’t win for Best Visual Effects, it was an unforgettable night. I also met my now fiancé when we worked at ILM together on Transformers: The Last Knight so I owe that to ILM as well, haha!
Was there someone at Nebraska that had a big impact on you?
There are a lot of people from Nebraska who had a huge impact on me and I know I wouldn’t be where I am without them. Some extra special shout-outs are all my professors at the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film, Sharon Teo, Rick Endacott and Steve Kolbe. Steve was actually who convinced me to even apply to ILM and his guidance throughout the years as my advisor got me through a lot of “what am I doing?” moments as I followed my passions of film and television.
Another amazing person that I met thanks to UNL was Erron Reynolds who I will be eternally grateful for. He was my Resident Director when I was at Schramm Hall and honestly one of the greatest people you’d ever meet. He was so supportive of me when I learned I was offered the job at ILM that started a short 2 weeks from Graduation. When I packed up and moved to San Francisco he was kind enough to keep up with me and check in on how I was doing until he tragically passed away a few years ago. Thanks to him I met one of my best friends and fellow Schramm Hall RA Grace Brown who continues to be my rock throughout the past 7+ years.
You had internships and involvements during undergrad that allowed you to gain experience. What advice would you give to other students who are looking to get that hands-on experience or get a start on their career while in college?
My advice is to create all you can. Apply to the internships and opportunities that interest you and join in with your fellow classmates to work on projects that you're passionate about (even outside of classwork). The college years fly by so it’s important to absorb all you can from the people and professors that surround you!