How to build a media career 101
The Media Education Foundation of Georgia (MEFGA) and the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS) – Southeast Chapter recently partnered to present the 1st Annual Student Media Day at the Georgia Technical Research Institute in Atlanta. Nearly one hundred high school students from as far away as Fort Mill, South Carolina and as nearby as Newnan gathered for presentations on career networking, breaking into the media field and charting a career path in the film and television industry.
Michael Britt, NATAS’s High School Awards Chairman and Director of Audio Video Technology and Film at Coweta County’s Central Educational Center (CEC) envisioned that this event could become a pipeline for future film and television professionals.
“We wanted to better connect high school students with industry professionals who could help give them serious career guidance,” Britt said. “So we worked with Shannon Phillips, MEFGA’s executive director to co-sponsor this event.”
“It was wonderful to meet all the people in the industry and listen to them encourage us to get ourselves out there and not be afraid,” said Cole Hanus, an East Coweta High School junior. “I spoke with Eric Ludgood, the assistant news director for Fox 5 News Atlanta for about an hour about all kinds of networking opportunities.”
Throughout the event students visited with vendors and sponsors such as: the Art Institute of Atlanta, Savannah College of Art and Design, Chattahoochee Tech, Barbizon Lighting and School Video News Online while also touring the Georgia Public Broadcasting (GPB) Studio and Production Facilities, located next door.
“I loved the tours because they showed me that even small spaces could be showcased in a presentable, productive way,” Northgate senior Alexandra Reshetova said. The senior is pursuing video production because she hopes to produce documentaries in the future.
Other students were equally impressed with the career focus of the event. “I’m giving camera-work and video production a try this semester so I really enjoyed that the event was a hands-on, real world video experience,” Natalie Martell, a Northgate High School junior said.
“I enjoyed the ‘Creativity & Critical Thinking’ seminar because the presenter really encouraged us to go out and find the experiences needed to pursue a video career,” she said.
Kevin Pullen from the Golden Isles Career Academy, who presented the creativity seminar shared that, “…students should take their passion, skills and talent with them to meet ‘problems’ which are often brilliantly disguised as challenges. They need to know that opportunity awaits them.”
Other presenters were equally impressed by the attendees’ talent and energy.
“The students were vocal in their questions and willing to learn,” Herb Kossover, an award-winning cinematographer and filmmaker said.
While acknowledging that “this business is not for everyone,” he encouraged students to devote themselves wholeheartedly to their dreams.
“Make video production more than a business. Pick a niche, study it and develop techniques that will help create something different,” Kossover shared with the attendees. “Study filmmakers whose work you admire and use their work as an influence.”
The host of GPB’s “A Second Thought” Celeste Headlee, who has worked in public radio since 1999 and presented on the radio industry opportunities encouraged students to think broadly. “Don’t worry about the job title but focus on what you’d like to be doing every day. If your mission is to inform, to reach and to motivate people, then do not turn down entry-level positions at radio stations or weather, traffic and health care reporting opportunities. You could end up being a communications director for a hospital or for NASA and accomplish the same mission.”
According to Britt, both organizations are hoping that this Student Media Day will become a yearly event and the participants agreed.
“This was a unique opportunity to meet people in the media business and we couldn’t get that chance anywhere else. I hope that this day becomes an annual event,” Gillian Revoir an East Coweta High School junior said.