Neha Sharma currently works as lead editor and camera assistant for Red Squared, a media production company based in Jackson.
Where did you grow up and go to school?
I grew up in Jackson. My high school was Mt. Salus Christian School in Clinton, and I went to the University of Southern Mississippi.
At what moment did you discover an interest in working in Film/ TV?
It was towards the end of my senior year in high school. I edited a video for our graduation and the idea to pursue film popped into my head. I actually started college without deciding on a major. I took an interest in many fields such as crime scene investigation, anthropology, and marine biology. I realized that I had an interest in more adventurous fields because of what I’d seen on tv and in movies. It made sense to me that film is the adventurous field for me. The adventure that I’ve always wanted in my life is through creating it for others.
At what point did you realize you could take steps to pursue your dream from Mississippi?
After college, I made a lot of friends and contacts with people who were local and who were also passionate about film. Film is a collaborative art form so I realized that I didn’t necessarily need to move to a big city when there were people around who also had an interest in film.
What type of training have you had and where?
I majored in film studies with a minor in art at USM.
What was your first Film/TV job?
I was an intern for a Hallmark movie titled “A Deadly Affair” that was filmed in Gulfport, MS. I think I mostly spent time with the production and camera department.
Are you working on any current/recent projects?
Yes! I have a short film that is in pre-production.
What has been the most surprising thing about working in the film industry?
The amount of stories I come back with. And the amount of things that I end up learning on every project.
Who has been an influence on your career and why?
My college film professors. They valued creativity and hard work. They also had great taste in music.
How does being a Mississippian help you stand out in our industry?
I think being a Mississippian has taught me to be resourceful. We don’t have a lot of luxuries that other places have when it comes to film, so we have to figure out our own way through the industry.
If you could create a scene built around one location in Mississippi, where would that be and why?
I’d have to say my hometown, Jackson. I’ve experienced many different cultures here. There’s a unique quality to the city and even though I’ve been here for over 20 years, I’m still discovering new parts to the city.
Favorite moment on set or with a project?
I’ve had a couple of moments where I was a body double. My arms and my legs are featured in a couple of movies out there. One was for a Hallmark movie titled “A Deadly Affair” and the other one was for an action movie titled “Kill ‘Em All”.
What would you say to convince/encourage a producer to bring their project to Mississippi?
I think a lot of people here are willing and enthusiastic about supporting productions that come here. I don’t think you would come across any resistance. There’s also a variety of settings. There’s different scenes and stories that could take place here.
What do you do when you’re not working on a film set (other jobs, hobbies, etc.)?
I enjoy playing video games, doing puzzles, arts and crafts and watching movies and tv shows. I’m currently binge-watching “The X-Files.”
What are your hopes for the film industry in MS?
In the future, I would like to see more support for the arts. A stronger community based around film. A space and resources made for film.
What’s your advice for someone looking to break into the film business?
My advice would be to just start creating. Even if it’s a super small project, you need to experience the process of bringing an idea to life. Another piece of advice is to always be open to learning new things. When starting out, you might not know what department you want to work in so it’s helpful to get a variety of experiences. You might work as a set PA one day and the next you’re on set as an extra.
How can people find/reach you?
People can find me on twitter and instagram @nehaow.