A Flair for Filmmaking
He thought he was going to be a truck driver.
Then he picked up a home movie camera.
This is how Jim Collins fell in love with video production.
“In sixth grade we were supposed to take a parable and illustrate it in modern day times. I filmed it on location at a bakery on my dad’s home movie camera,” Collins said.
He also credits Steven Spielberg’s film “Duel” for helping steer his future towards filmmaking.
“I watched it and it was over and I thought, you know, I’d like to do that. It was real obvious to me that I wanted to make movies.”
Originally from the southwest side of Chicago, Collins graduated from Loyola University Chicago in 1985 where he majored in Communication Studies with an emphasis in radio and TV film. Today, he works as the audio and visual production coordinator at Loyola.
As an undergraduate, Collins was responsible for all the visual projects for the student’s activities board. He also worked as a resident assistant for two years.
“Little known fact, he caught the winning touchdown pass in the “Campion Hall vs. the World” Football Tournament in 1984. It was a huge deal,” says Thom Bond, former classmate at Loyola and RA co-worker who describes Collins as a “blues music encyclopedia and a film encyclopedia walking around.”
After graduating, Collins began an internship at Loyola in 1988 with the Department of Communication and shortly after that became a production assistant. In 1991, he took on his current position. He worked at the Lake Shore Campus for ten years until the School of Communication was built downtown and he moved to the Water Tower Campus.
During the week, Collins manages the School of Communication’s OWL lab, a digital media center where students and faculty can edit audio and video using different software programs. At the beginning of each semester, he teaches students how to handle equipment and throughout the year facilitates check out procedures. He also helps direct Studio 51, Loyola’s weekly TV news magazine.
Over the course of his career, Collins has produced close to 15 independent films, including documentary shorts that have been featured in various film festivals in Chicago and throughout the Midwest.
For nearly 25 years, Jim Collins has shared his love for video production with the Loyola community and many students often visit Collins for more than just help with technology.
“People ask me for advice because they see me as a big brother or an older uncle,” said Collins. “The best part of my job is working with students. If I was stuck in a cubicle all day, I’d be miserable.”