IN HIS OWN WORDS: Ian Buoncore 2015-16 Student of the Year Department of Theatre & Film
Where were you born and raised? I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska. I have been here all my life.
Why did you choose to study at UAF? UAF's relatively small size meant that instruction/communication would be far more accessible than in a larger university where a student may turn invisible amongst the 100+ students per class. I wanted my degree to be earned through carefully wrought lessons, preferably lessons specifically tailored to my personal academic needs. UAF provided just that.
When did you first decide to pursue a degree in Theatre? I first decided to pursue my degree at the end of the fall 2013 semester. At the beginning of the semester, I wasn't sure what route to pursue, after all, I'd be devoting a few years of my life to it, and it was nothing to consider lightly. So I decided to take one class from every field that I was interested in, and after I completed the Theatre & Film Department's Fundamentals of Acting class I knew theatre would be my path, specifically directing. My ultimate goal is to become a film director and after discovering theatre, I knew it would be the right foundation for this goal.
What first attracted you to Theatre? It was actually the film work of Ingmar Bergman and Sam Mendes. I enjoy their films, specifically their work with actors, and after a bit of research I discovered that they began their careers in the theatre. Since I wanted to be able to direct intense material like theirs, I decided to take a lesson from them and begin my studies in theatre.
What experiences at UAF have contributed to your academic and artistic success? The Theatre & Film Department has offered me many opportunities throughout these past few years. In one form or another I've been fortunate to work on the Theatre/Film UAF Main-Stage and Student Drama Association productions every semester. This hands-on experience is invaluable and looking back I'd say that those were the times I learned and grew the most.
Do you have any advice for new Theatre & Film students? Hard work always pays off. There's nothing more satisfying than putting all your energy (plus 10% more) into a project and then seeing it flourish because of your perspiration. Jump in and aim high!
Tell us about your most influential Theatre projects while at UAF. Becoming a major, I knew my ultimate goal for the degree would be to direct a thesis project. The two most influential experiences that helped me succeed with my thesis were An Inspector Calls and Ash Girl. As assistant director on An Inspector Calls, I learned how to discuss character with actors as well as dissect scripts. After this eye-opening experience, I was able to stage manage Ash Girl. This was a large production with a sizable cast and numerous technical cues to call. Everything needed to be planned for and executed accurately and safely. I had to step up my game, as I was taking 21 credits as well as working. Through this experience I was able to hone my time-management skills. This production also helped me fully comprehend the technical world of theatre. After Ash Girl I understand what elements are available to the director, and how to articulate them in order to present a vision.
What are your plans for after graduation? I'll continue my education. The plan is to pursue a master's degree in film directing. I haven't decided on a graduate program yet, but I'm confident that the Theatre & Film Department has given me exactly what I need to find success.