Spotlight: Hakim Robinson, Subject Matter Expert, Digital Film, SAE Institute Atlanta

We met with Hakim Robinson, script writer, director, and Digital Film Instructor at our Atlanta campus, to discuss his career, his passion for film, and tips for an aspiring film student.

Please tell me a bit about your background. What brought you to SAE Institute? Why Film?

I was born in the Bronx, New York City, which is where I discovered my love for film at only 8 years old. You could find me glued to the TV watching Kojak and pretty much anything my uncle Frank Adu Robinson starred in, like for example Across 110th Street.

Though my parents were strict, this didn’t stop me and my friends from sneaking into the Wakefield Theater through a side entrance to see any R-rated movie. Then, my father brought home a VHS player, which was a total game changer. I spent many hours fast forwarding, rewinding, and studying scenes from movies—my very own Film School 101.

My love of music led me to become a neighborhood DJ and evolved to a certified Pro Tools engineer in music and post, something which allowed me to appreciate the importance of music and sound. I started in the film business approximately 16 years ago as a sound mixer. Cinema, the essential information and collaborative medium ever created, makes it an easy choice to be a filmmaker. I now have a BA in Television & Film Production; I also have an MFA in directing for Motion Picture and Television. The perfect marriage of picture and sound brought me to SAE Institute. Having the opportunity to work with film and sound in the same building felt like a win-win to me.

About teaching at SAE Institute

What I enjoy most is the experience of giving knowledge to those who want it and to those who need it. Introducing students to the world of film is my favorite part of the curriculum. I remember what it was like when I first learned about movies and Hollywood. Seeing the excitement in a student’s eyes is satisfying!

About transferring skills from classroom to a working environment

I took quite a few essential tools from the classroom but what has really stuck with me is proper introductions. Whether it be an email, an essay, or just a text message, there is an appropriate way to announce or introduce yourself and your work to the world. Taking the time to exercise this technique allows me to make an excellent first impression almost every day.

Errors and regrets

I regret not going after my dream to become a filmmaker sooner. Becoming successful in my field allows me to help others and even improve lives. That may sound exaggerated, but I think of my parents, who have both passed, and perhaps pursuing my dreams may have, in some way, allowed them to witness my evolution in higher learning and now as a filmmaker and educator. Other than that, no regrets!

5 tips for an aspiring film student

  • Be on time.
  • Ask a lot of questions when the time is right.
  • Being likable goes a long way.
  • Think twice before speaking once.
  • Be respectful and polite.

A movie I would have liked to make

8 ½. This 1963 movie by Federico Fellini follows a director in his everyday life and his dream states. I would have wanted to work with this extraordinary filmmaker to learn from his genius and better understand the film. Its simplicity about a man and what he is trying to accomplish is beautifully complicated.

My favorite quote

“If your dreams don’t scare you, they are not big enough.” (Ellen Johnson Sirleaf)

My inspiration

My mom and dad are my greatest inspiration. They made me the man I am today by teaching me hard and soft lessons in life; knowing the obstacles I would encounter, choices will present challenges, leading to developing character. Their voices will guide me through life forever. My uncles and aunts helped raise me when my parents learned about life themselves to bring those events back home to teach me further. I have a couple of mentors in old professors and others who have provided me with sound advice while becoming a teacher and director of movies.

About Hakim Robinson

Hakim discovered his passion for film when he was only eight years old.

He first followed his love of music and started to DJ at High School, which led to an education and career in sound recording in Hakim’s native New York. He went on to write, direct and star in a narrative short suspense thriller that made it to the screen at Martha’s Vineyard African Film Festival.

After working on multiple independent projects and joining IATSE, he decided to go to film school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. At SCAD, he further honed his directing skills, one of which, the feature film, “A Family on Edge” can still be found on iTunes, Amazon Prime, and TUBI.

After graduating from SCAD, he still felt that he lacked the knowledge to bring forth his artistry and visual storytelling skills. Pursuing my MFA at Academy of Art University.