What’s in your bag: Zhanna Kugotova

Stefanie Chan for WSN
Stefanie Chan for WSN

Zhanna Kugotova, a Tisch sophomore studying film production, reveals an interesting assortment of treats and supplies inside her bag.  From film tools to chocolate bars, Kugotova’s small but mighty purse offers more than what one would expect.

“This bag is basically my safety kit,” Kugotova said. “It’s all about backup memory, backup food and being ready for the unexpected.”

Backup battery and battery charger

Kugotova is always ready should a disaster strike. After once having to end a shoot in Battery Park early because of a dead camera battery, Kugotova never leaves for the day without a backup battery and battery charger.


“I usually have multiple memory cards, too,” Kugotova said. “Sometimes I am shooting one thing and see something else that I want to shoot, so I have to switch cards.”

Lens cleaning brush and cloth

New York City presents many challenges for filming outdoors.  Dirt, dust and water can all be detrimental if they build up on the lens. In bad weather, it is essential to be prepared with the proper cleaning equipment to keep the frames clear.

“Not only do I have to worry about keeping the lens on my camera clean, I also need to keep the lenses on my face clean,” Kugotova said.  “I always have a lens cloth and the great thing about it is that I can use it for every lens.”

A Twix bar

It is important to be prepared with the right equipment before a shoot, but having the right snacks is also essential. Kugotova carries chocolate with her at all times — Twix is her favorite candy bar.

“I never leave my room without sweets in my bag,” Kugotova said. “You never know when you need to cheer yourself up with a little boost of happiness.”


Filming outside for long hours can be harsh, both mentally and physically.  Kugotova stays prepared for the dry winter wind with a tube of mint-chocolate chapstick to protect her lips from the elements.

“Most people assume that just because I am Russian I am resistant to the cold,” Kugotova said. “But in the winter weather my lips get chapped just like everyone else.”


One of Kugotova’s most valued possessions is a small white notebook where she stores random drawings, contact information, notes and filming plans.  She carries it with her at all times to preserve her ideas and keep track of inspiring things around the city because she never knows when inspiration will strike.

“After a while I realized that I always have ideas to write down,” Kugotova said. “I need somewhere to keep my thoughts because they can always serve as inspiration for my future work.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Feb. 24 print edition. Kate Marin is a staff writer. Email her at [email protected]



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