Thesis Spotlight: Cold Cuts

Film school is all about networking. Who you know and how you prove yourself as a worker is the easiest way to continuously get jobs. Working on dozens of student films and outside projects, Michael Ruggiero proved himself as a worker, then gathered the talent he wanted for his own project.

Cold Cuts follows a group of college students whose car breaks down in front of a creepy summer camp, with much hiding under the surface. Michael wanted to create a horror film very aware of it’s own genre, much like Cabin in the Woods, with cinematic and storytelling inspiration from It Follows.

When putting together his thesis film, Cold Cuts, Michael Ruggiero cashed in all the favors he had been collecting over the past four years. “Filmmaking is collaborative, and a lot of the success I find in working with people is letting them be creative” Ruggiero said. Finding a team of people around you who work well with each other, and maintain professionalism, is key to creating a successful short film.

The project initially started as a romantic comedy, but after visiting the Summer Camp location, Michael quickly realized his thesis would be a horror film. He spent countless hours in the Film Department seeing the project come to life, with people of all different talents.

At the bottom line, Michael kept pushing the importance of networking. “Some people think that just being in Film School is the ticket to working, you have to prove your work ethic first” he said. Once you’ve established that you’re a good worker, a fun person to be around, and hungry for work, the opportunities make themselves known.

Michael likes working in location sound the best, and has won an award at Brooklyn College based on his work on student thesis films. I look forward to the premiere of Cold Cuts, and am eager to see what else Ruggiero has in store.

Along with many other student films, Cold Cuts will premiere at the Brooklyn College Film Festival on May 31st.

To reach out to Michael Ruggiero about his work, email him at

For submissions, questions, comments, or just to chat, reach out to me at or find me on Twitter @FamularoDom.

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