Field Work Term, Student News

Field Work Term Spotlight: Ananda Zamarron Carbajal

Ananda Zammaron Carbajal '26 studies Dance and Drama at Bennington, with a particular focus on acting and stage management. She spent her 2024 Field Work Term interning at XTR Studios, a film production company founded by Bryn Mooser ’01.

Image of Ananda Zamarron Carbajal

At Bennington, students spend six weeks every year taking their skills and knowledge out of the classroom and applying them in the world of work. They use this annual work-learning opportunity—known as Field Work Term—to deepen their studies, challenge and test new ideas, and hone their direction for the future.

How did your FWT relate to (or diverge from!) your studies at Bennington?

I love theater, but the industry I always wanted to work in from a young age has been the film industry, and XTR gave me that opportunity. 

I was able to learn things about film and the film industry that I couldn't have learned within my Plan at Bennington nor anywhere else, and now I feel like I can merge that knowledge with the things I keep learning here. Learning to produce for film made me realize there are some similarities to the things I learn here about stage management, and bringing the knowledge I got at XTR helped me tremendously with the play I stage managed this term called Unrooted.

What did a typical day at your FWT site look like? 

There was not a day that was similar to the previous one, and that's one of the things I loved about working at XTR. Even if I was still working for the same project, it was never the same. There were always new things to learn and new challenges the production team had to face and solve everyday. 

But to answer your question, I would get to the Studios, see the beautiful Hollywood sign, see from afar all the productions that were on the other stages, and then I would go to the office. There, I would either work for the production team for any of the films they were producing, or I would work for the creative team with any of the films they were working on. 

My coworkers would also show me the projects they were working on, and they would teach me what it was that they did for XTR, whether it was for production, post-production, or the creative team. They would also share the unreleased films that the team was working on, so I was also given the chance to see that material before it came out. There were some days that we would have to go buy things for shootings, like cameras and tripods, and I also had the chance to go to those shootings.

What surprised or challenged you the most about your position?

Everything surprised me, to be honest! I wasn't expecting to learn so much about film and producing for film. I feel lucky that they trusted me and Natalie Bayeslan ’26 with all their projects because that allowed us to learn so much about production. Everything that Chris Hall, Matthew Cherchio, and Kenny Laubbcher made me do was challenging, but that allowed me to push myself and grow, which is what I always look to do when I'm learning new material or working on something that's outside my comfort zone.  

I was also surprised and excited when I got to work for one of the films of one of my favorite actors whom I grew up watching, and the day I got to meet one of my favorite actresses. 

Lastly, I was blown away with how Bryn Mooser's mind works and how intelligent, creative, and successful he is. It was a privilege to work for him.

What do you hope to do for your next FWT (or after Bennington)?

For my next FWT, I would either like to work for the film industry again, or go to one of Lortel's theaters. XTR changed my goals for my future, and they made me realize that not only do I want to become an actor, but I also want to be a producer.