June 09, 2016

Tori Romano


After graduating from SFU with a Communication and Sociology joint major degree, Tori Romano decided to study digital media at Vancouver’s CDM (Centre for Digital Media). At CDM, a day at school can involve anything from brainstorming with sticky notes and whiteboards to crowd surfing. We talked to Tori about her experiences as a student, and how to move from uncertain to prepared, before graduation.

Tell us about your decision to enroll in the CDM’s Master of Digital Media program after SFU.

During my last year at SFU, I started thinking more seriously about what I wanted to do after graduation. I was looking at companies and applying here and there, but I wasn’t seeing anything at the time that stood out to me. I hadn’t considered grad school until I spoke with my undergrad advisor, who encouraged me to look into this option. I will forever be grateful for her advice!

The Master of Digital Media (MDM) program was literally the first program I came across, and the one that kept me excited the most after looking into others. It seemed like a great place to build on my interest for advertising and digital media, which reflected courses I took during my undergrad. I also loved that brainstorming and team collaboration were main learning objectives for the MDM program. Having a clear idea of what I was interested in helped me find a program that met my personal interests, and has contributed largely to my personal and professional growth.

What do you like most about the MDM program?

I could go on forever about the great things I’ve experienced and learned at CDM! I loved the game design class where we learned what it takes to develop a game. The improv course where we crowd surfed and the visual story class where we deconstructed films and made an interactive story were really memorable too. Most of all, everyone at the CDM is so incredibly hard-working and passionate about what they do that it constantly inspires me and pushes me to do the best work that I can.

You’ve had a chance to work on a number of different projects at CDM. Is there one in particular that stands out?

During the first week at CDM, we had to form a team, brainstorm a project design, create a digital artifact, present our work, and do it all in one weekend.

At the start, our team was given a Disney-inspired image that we needed to draw from in some way. We decided to make an interactive story called “Snow What” about a young girl who gets trapped in an alternate universe. The reader gets to make choices throughout the story, including ones that will determine whether the young girl takes on a good, bad, or delightfully evil personality.  

My roles on this project were screenwriter and art assistant. I really enjoyed the storytelling and letting academic essay formalities like APA standard slide. This project has helped me establish what I would like to do after graduation from CDM, which is storytelling within film, VR (virtual reality), or other digital forms. Overall, this project was super intense, but definitely set the pace for the remainder of the semester, and is one of my favorite projects from the program.

Tell us more about what you see yourself doing after you graduate from CDM.

I love film, and have always had an interest in working in the film industry. Storytelling and concept development are my main interests, although I have thought about producing as well due to my experience as a project manager. I would love to one day be in a creative director role for animated films, but right now I’m excited at the prospect of starting my career after CDM, and continuing to grow and learn within digital media.

What advice would you give to SFU students who are approaching graduation?

If you want to continue school, or you’re not sure if you do, just look into it. See what’s out there and reach out to the resources you have like advisors or faculty you’ve connected with to get an idea of potential options.

I would also strongly suggest that you create a LinkedIn profile, if you haven’t already. Working in communications and many other tech-related fields is all about networking. So start early, and grow your network!

Most of all, don’t worry! Enjoy your final year at SFU and take in everything you can. It’s a crazy but really exciting time.  

Connect + Learn More

Tori Romano can be found networking on LinkedIn or tweeting about her current Netflix obsession and Photoshop on Twitter @torichels.

For a taste of innovative digital projects created by Tori and other CDM students, visit Tori’s online portfolio and CDM’s student project overview page.

The Master of Digital Media program at the Centre for Digital Media is Canada’s first professional graduate program focused on developing digital projects that meet real world needs. Students learn skills such as design process and project management while creating a variety of digital media products such as websites, videos, games and virtual reality simulations. The MDM program is run by four partner schools: SFUUBCBCIT and Emily Carr University. Learn more at thecdm.ca.