OWENINGS MILL, Md.– It’s a typical night for the Westminster Alumni Joe Ligo in the editing room. Joe Ligo graduated from Westminster in 2014, and now works for the Public Broadcasting Service in Maryland for a TV show called “Motorweek”.
“When I was in high school I got interested in video and cameras and all that stuff. And I wanted to go to school for Media Production or broadcasting or television. It has a million different names, but I wound up picking Westminster and I entered the broadcasting program there from day 1.”
Joe continued to learn and study all four years at Westminster College, and fast forward to his senior year he released this award winning documentary
“I don’t know how capstones work at the moment, but when I was at Westminster it was a documentary film that had to be at least fifteen minutes in length and you got to pick the subject which was really cool. So you kind of had this big wide open opportunity that you could do a documentary film about anything. So I decided to do a documentary film about a car called the “AMC Pacer”. It’s the car from Wayne’s World that sort of weird bubbly shaped car. That’s how everybody under 40 makes the connection. I’ve always loved old cars stuff and people always say “did you do a film about the Pacer, because it’s your favorite car?” and I say “No, I did it because it’s an interesting car”. And it is. The story behind it’s really fascinating.”
Under his instructor Bradley Weaver, he then suggested to enter his documentary to the College Emmy Awards.
“It was Brad Weaver’s idea. So after I finished the film, I got it graded and all that, Weaver emailed me or called me and was like “You know, you should really submit this for the college Emmy awards”. And I kind of didn’t believe him. I was like “Really? Really rich kids that go to expensive film schools do college Emmy’s. Not people that do movies about old cars”. But Weaver was right. So I’m glad I trusted him.”
The documentary was a huge hit, and made a impact to Joe’s career and it was a huge impact for his now-then job at MotorWeek.
“The job I have now, my capstone actually helped me get a lot. Because it was about cars and where I work now is about cars and they say “oh wow, this kid right out of college produces an award winning documentary film about cars. You know, we want him on board”. It turned out the place where I work now at Motor Week on PBS I had interned there when I was in college and when I was working on my capstone. So they kind of get to see as an intern, I told them “Oh yeah, I was working on this documentary for school and then two years later, I come back to apply for a job here and it’s like “remember that documentary? Well it just won a big award”. So it definitely gave me some leverage in the job application process.”
Joe Ligo, leaves us with a footprint with his legacy…
“You make the best film possible and then the award is the cherry on top. And I mean its amazing, I watch the stuff Westminster students are making today and im impressed by the quality of some of the productions. Especially the camera work and stuff like that has really gotten better as camera gear has gotten more affordable and more accessible. It feels good to know that I had a positive effect, but really the strength of Westminster, what allowed me to do that is that Westminster is a school where you can have one on one conversations with your professors. You can flesh out ideas and if you have a crazy idea, like that documentary was, you have the freedom to see it to fruition. And that’s a good thing and a bad thing, because you can get yourself in trouble doing projects that maybe aren’t the best for you, but in this case it was really good because I had the freedom to pursue something I was really passionate about, instead of just feeling like I was pigeon holed into doing another documentary like everyone else.”