Va’a Magalogo

Va’a Magalogo

Freelancer - Film and TV
Bachelor of Communication Studies in Screen Production & Radio and Audio Media

Movies and TV shows have always amazed him, says Va’a Magalogo who studied a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Screen Production & Radio and Audio Media.

“The way movies and TV shows make people feel, and how they can connect people all over the world has always fascinated me. The same can be said for radio – I’ve always been entertained by radio stations growing up and although it’s an audio medium, it’s very visual.

“I had always heard that AUT was more hands on than other universities, so that’s what led me to look more into what the university offers. I actually didn’t know what I wanted to study; I just knew I wanted to get into the film, TV and media industry. I was pleasantly surprised when I read about the communications degree, which had everything I was interested in. It has always been a dream of mine to graduate from university because no one in my family has attended university,  so I wanted to be an example for my son, my family and my community. There aren’t many Pacific people in this line of work so I want to help pave the way.”

He says he would 100% recommend the Bachelor of Communication Studies to other students.

“I’d recommend this degree to anyone that loves to create. Screen production gives you the knowledge and the tools to be able to bring to life the ideas you have in your mind. Radio does the same. I’ve really enjoyed the learning. I came with an open mind and I’ve learnt so much about my subjects but also myself. Being in a learning environment again has expanded my views of the world.”

Paving the way
Getting started in the film industry can be challenging but Va’a had a little help thanks to the Discovery NZ AUT Communication Studies Scholarship he received in his final year.

“The scholarship changed everything. The financial aspect was nice but the mentorship was next level. In my third year I was starting to panic because I had no idea how to get started in the industry and was worrying about the financial burden study was putting on my family. When I got the news from the CEO of Warner Brothers Discovery NZ it was like everything just flipped. I remember when he said ‘Congratulations’ it was like a massive weight was lifted. That was the happiest I had felt in a long time.

“The scholarship introduced me to so many people from all over the industry who were willing to help me develop my career. Warner Brothers Discovery is an amazing company with amazing people who were willing to help me out in any way they could to start my career.”

His career is certainly off to a flying start and Va’a has already worked on a range of interesting projects.

“I’ve worked for Warner Brothers Discovery, specifically TV3, on different projects. I was assistant floor manager and second camera operator for build-up interviews for the Women’s Rugby World Cup, and I edited an ad that was played on TV3. This year, I worked as a director's assistant on an Apple TV series called Chief of War that stars Jason Momoa, and I’m currently freelancing as a camera operator for Whakaata Māori.”

Advice for other students
Va’a – who graduated from AUT at the end of 2022 – has some great advice for other students who are at the start of their university journey.

“Remember your why. Why are you here? Why are you at university? Why are you going through all this? I believe everyone has a why, and remembering that reason can help you through the toughest times at university.”

There is one particular quote he lives by.

“One quote that always helps me is ‘Just keep swimming’. It’s from an amazing film about a father looking for his son. University can be a very difficult juggling act – you have classes online and on campus, assignments on assignments, work and family commitments. Then add in your mental health and it can get overwhelming. Whatever comes your way, just keep swimming, keep pushing and remember why you’re there.”