Third year Xander Chiaramonte says tenacity is all about persistence. The entertainment and media studies major co-founded Clear Mountain Entertainment, LLC. with his brother, which he also serves as the chief creative officer.
Why did you choose your major?
Since I was very little, my younger sisters and I would create all sorts of short content on iMovie or take photos of flowers for hours. I feel that in a lot of ways, and because of the internet, digital media and our generation matured in extremely congruent years. This constantly emerging digital medium always captivated me, and the more I explored, the more enthralled I became. This curiosity led me into photography and videography as means of expression, philanthropy, and value I could provide to my community.
What is your most memorable Grady experience?
I think my most memorable Grady experience has to be my first day of “Production Basics.” It was the first time I was able to work on tangible production work in an academic setting, whereas I would always seek those experiences outside of school throughout high school. Finally getting to experiment with this type of work in school with Professor Biddle and my equally excited classmates is so refreshing.
Who is your favorite Grady professor and why?
Professor Fortmueller provided me with an invaluable perspective into the landscape of the film and television industries, which allowed me to form a better understanding of where I wanted to fit in within that landscape. Professor Fortmueller is a fantastic and approachable resource for me to discuss my ideas and to learn about topics that I am excited about outside of class, especially Ciné!
What does tenacity mean to you?
Tenacity, to me, is synonymous with persistence. Many people are smart, talented, or driven, but in the face of adversity or true challenge, none of that will ever matter. It is persistence and persistence alone that drives individuals through those experiences.
What is the best piece of advice you’ve received?
The best advice I have received regularly is that “everything changes.” My mother always reminds me of this and grounds me in the reality that in life, just like in nature, everything is in a constant state of change. This advice has always helped me to not get hung up on the little things and keep on moving.
What has been your biggest accomplishment in the past year?
My brother and I formed Clear Mountain Entertainment, LLC in 2021. In this past year, the biggest accomplishment has to be holding a day-long festival called “Classic City Jam” in downtown Athens. The reception from the Athens community and UGA students was unbelievable and has allowed us to begin working on much larger events and productions than we expected to produce at this point in our business.
What do you plan to do after graduation?
After graduation, I plan to pursue an MFA in film and television production and continue to work on Clear Mountain Entertainment in Athens and Atlanta. I hope to work on productions in the Atlanta film market and continue learning and connecting with driven individuals in the industry.
What is an example of a time you used your skills in a real-world experience?
Almost everything I work on outside of school has been centered around these digital media skills, both within Clear Mountain Entertainment and Xander Chiaramonte Media (xanderchiaramonte.com). Through these two endeavors and constantly testing myself into different software programs, technical roles, and ideation has allowed me to constantly surprise myself as to what I (and anyone) can do simply with a computer or camera.
Where is your go-to restaurant in Athens?
Chuck’s Fish on Broad. Some uptown chicken and a sushi roll or two from Chuck’s can change your whole life.