A Passion for Video
Many days, and some nights, you can find Kyannah Muhammad in the editing suite of the campus’s Savage Theater and Communication Building. As a media production major, Muhammad edits a range of projects—from short films to music videos.
The Bronx, New York, native’s affinity for editing started in middle school when she discovered Club Penguin videos.
“They looked so cool, with all these effects. And all these viewers were commenting,” Muhammad said. “I thought, ‘I could do that.’”
She taught herself how to use Windows Moviemaker and then moved onto Sony Vegas. Along with pointing her toward a possible career, this newfound talent served as a salve for Muhammad during a chaotic childhood.
“My mother was an alcoholic and my father was an enabler,” she said. “It was tough growing up in that environment, especially with domestic violence going on.
“The only outlet I really had was to edit videos,” said Muhammad, who moved in with her older sister when she was 13 years old. “My sister is my inspiration. She was the only one in the family who went to college. I thought if she could do it living in that environment, I could do it.”
“You have to learn step by step how to do things.”
Finding Her Way
However, when she first started at Buffalo State, Muhammad struggled with her grades and getting acclimated to campus life. She adopted new study habits, became better organized, and met with her professors to find ways to improve her grades. Her dedication paid off. For the past two years, Muhammad has landed on the dean’s list. She said she’s very committed to her academics, especially classes in her major.
Meg Knowles, associate professor of communication who had Muhammad in her Basic Media Production and Advanced Post-Production courses, said the young woman is extremely hardworking.
“She made an excellent final creative film project in my course,” Knowles said.
Muhammad mentioned Knowles as a faculty member who believed in her.
“She gave me so many opportunities,” she said.
Learning the Ropes
In Knowles’ Advanced Post-Production course, Muhammad and her classmates edited a video for professional singer-songwriter Kora Feder.
“That was very cool,” Muhammad said. “Throughout the process, I learned that working with other people can either be easy or hard. You need to be able to adapt when you’re working on a music video, especially when you have a professional client who wants so many things.”
Muhammad also took a class in 2017 in which students helped produce the SUNYWIDE Film Festival that Buffalo State hosted for the first time.
“We all worked really hard to get sponsors, raise money, and advertise,” she said. “It was very inspiring to see students from different colleges and universities submit films that they have produced and edited themselves. Seeing them succeed gave me even more motivation to work hard and learn as much as I can so I can create content in the future.”
As she looks toward graduation, Muhammad said she’d like to try her hand at numerous projects on a freelance basis, especially Internet work.
She said Buffalo State’s media production program prepared her well for what comes next.
“You have to learn step by step how to do things,” she said. “They don’t just throw you in. Professors make sure you get it by the end.”