Before graduating the 1-year New York Film Academy (NYFA) Documentary Filmmaking conservatory, CJ Ferroni was a middle school teacher. That job turned out to be the first step on a career-changing path that led Ferroni to NBC Peacock Productions, where he currently works on professional documentaries.
Ferroni taught at the middle school for several years, and started an extracurricular media club where he taught students to write, shoot, light, and edit short films and news stories. He then moved to Hong Kong for a year, where he taught SAT prep classes with a focus on the Verbal and Written sections of the test.
Through his years of experience as an educator, Ferroni came to the conclusion that important stories are the best medium to reach and teach the masses, and that documentary films are the best vehicle for those stories. “My students always loved when I would show them a documentary at the end of learning a new topic,” Ferroni tells NYFA. “It just seemed to cement everything, and they always paid attention and asked great questions after watching a film.”
When he returned to the States, Ferroni enrolled at NYFA’s Documentary school, where he learned the artistic and professional skills to become a documentary filmmaker from an award-winning professional faculty.
Soon after graduation, Ferroni got a paid internship at Warrior Poets, where he quickly became a researcher and then an associate producer—all within two years. While at Warrior Poets, Ferroni was able to work on various shows in research and development. After leaving Warrior Poets, he worked as an associate producer and camera operator on the documentary Machine Gun Preacher.
Ferroni then earned a freelance position at NBC Peacock Productions, working as an associate producer on a feature-length Alexander Hamilton documentary, which he also worked as a camera operator on. After the nine-month project, Ferroni stayed at NBC Peacock, where worked on several productions as second shooter and associate producer, including true crime documentaries and a mini-doc series on SEAL Team Six.
Ferroni then worked at Cakehouse Productions as a field producer and shooter for a food competition show on the Food Network, before working at Optomen Productions on a National Geographic show about great white sharks, a travel show about museums, and a documentary series about independent adults living with autism trying to find full-time employment.
Following those projects, Ferroni worked as a producer at Vice and worked on Action Bronson’s F*ck, That’s Delicious, which shot both domestically and internationally. “That show was a ton of fun to work on,” adds Ferroni.
Ferroni then returned to NBC Peacock, where he worked on several projects, including true crime documentaries, Dateline NBC, a documentary about Robert Mueller, and a feature-length special on the 35th anniversary of the comedy classic Ghostbusters.
After the Ghostbusters special, Ferroni was promoted to a full time staff producer and shooter for NBC Peacock. He now works on multiple shoots and interviews, including a four-part miniseries about the Obama administration, a true crime show titled Killer Motive, and a pilot doc series called A Day In The Life of the White House.
Even years later, Ferroni’s lengthy and impressive portfolio has its roots in his original career in education. “As a former teacher and current filmmaker, I’ve learned that a great story can captivate and inspire anyone,” he tells NYFA. “It is not your business to compare your expression or determine how good it is, but rather to keep the channel of inspiration open.”
New York Film Academy congratulates Documentary Filmmaking alum CJ Ferroni on all his success following a career change from middle school educator, and wishes him the best of luck moving forward.