MFA Program Prepares Alum for Major Success In Television
By Toree Weaver
Alumnus Juan Ignacio Vicente wanted to further his career in film when he applied to study at Temple University. After winning a Fulbright scholarship he packed his bags and moved to Philadelphia, leaving everything behind in Chile. Little did he know that this was just the first step in an amazing journey.
“At first I was a foreigner, I’m from Chile, so going to live in another city, in another country, in another language is always tough,” Vicente explained. “I mean it’s difficult but I found that Philadelphia was a great city and I came to love it.”
While discussing his time at Temple, he mentioned that the teaching techniques used during his studies were very unique. Working towards his MFA in film, he felt he was able to truly produce the work he intended. “They let me do my work in the way that I was planning to do it,” he said, “they were not forcing me to do something that they wanted. They let me create what I want.” He also mentions that he was able to receive help outside of the classroom as well.
“I got a lot of help from [the students] too. I felt that the people were supportive in their community inside of Temple and that was fantastic for the way I learned to do things,” Vicente added.
After his time at the university, Vicente immediately went back to Chile. He found success in television early on and started working in the development department creating new content and ideas. He was already able to see the impact his studies had on his career.
“I watched a lot of television when I was [at Temple] to see how they do the shows and how they create and the way they portray everything,” he added. “I would say ‘well I watched this show in the US it was good because of this, this, and this’ and we would go and buy the license to do it in Chile and it was a big success.”
Vicente later began to create content for children and eventually handling international content for the station. He was involved in working with major brands such as Disney, Sony, and Fox. After gaining much success he moved on to MEGA, the largest and most watched television station in Chile, where he is in charge of all of the content produced on the station.
He mentions that his main goal for the network is reaching all members of their diverse audience. From viewers ranging from kids to seniors, Vicente wants to ensure that everyone is able to relate. While they had success with the content they already produce, the company has started to branch out and is planning a new television series. With the new addition to the station, Juan Vicente knew just who to bring in to help. He brought in Temple’s very own Jeff Rush, chair of the Department of Film and Media Arts to assist in developing the series
“We brought [him] to Chile to help us with the script and help us get a feel for the series and how they are done in the US with the crime investigation stories,” Vicente explained. “We had a wonderful time with him; he was very helpful in helping us create a story of something that could probably happen internationally.”
Though he has found a lot of success at MEGA, Vicente believes that it is not his last stop in his journey. He mentioned that he loves to keep challenging himself and moving on to the next project.
“For the moment I love what I’m doing and I have an amazing job and a lot of responsibility but in the future I would love to jump to something new and hopefully go back to the US in the future to work. That’s something I would love to do,” he expressed.
While discussing where he will end up next, Vicente makes it clear that Temple University will always be with him. He explained that the city and institution has had a positive impact on both his professional and personal life.
“Even though I’m not from there, I have an emotional connection to the city because my son was born there so it means something to me,” he said “It takes a big place in my heart. I still follow the Eagles.”