If you ask any high school media and production student, most any of them will most likely tell you their goal is to become a world-class filmmaker.
They want to make the next Academy Award winning film, walk the Red Carpet, pal around with movie stars, and live in a big Beverly Hills mansion. My son is in that category.
That is a great and lofty goal. I, as a parent, would never want to burst his bubble, because with enough encouragement, he, or any media student, could very well could be that person. But, at the same time, we know there are very few Steven Speilbergs, or Francis Ford Copollas. For every big name, there are a zillion unknown people, working the trenches in near anonymity. But, they are still making a living, and enjoying a fun and fulfilling life. We have to tell them to pursue their dreams to the highest level, but at the same time help them stay grounded in reality. In other words, as the old saying goes, “don’t quit your day job”.
So many media students have technical aptitude. They understand lighting techniques, video production, or sound engineering. Some may even have skills that can take them completely out of the production world, and into the Professional Audio/Video industry. Designing and operating systems for live performances is a great way to make a living, and uses so many of the skills taught in media classes. Large-scale concert venues all employ video into live events.
There is an organization called Infocomm International. It is the worlds largest and most important Pro AV trade association. They have one of the best educational programs in place. The classes lead directly to job skills needed in the industry. They teach skills such as how to design a conference room presentation system, set up an AV system for a concert, design and install a networked communication system in an office building. With the capabilities of today’s hardware, software, and networked products, the demand for these systems is exploding. And with that explosion, the need for skilled workers is far past the current talent pool graduating from our education system.
What is more, many of these skills are not being formally taught anywhere in our system. So many of the people in this industry are self taught, through independent study and OJT (On The Job Training). The courses Infocomm offers are in depth studies of the basics needed to design, install, and operate the complex systems running our connected world.
I suggest that our high school media departments and community colleges start to teach the basics of Pro AV. There is a real need for people with this kind of knowledge. And, people that understand the basics can take advanced courses, which will lead directly to a fun and rewarding career. Teachers should encourage their students to look past the traditional production jobs and look into the world of Pro A/V.
For more information, check out Infocomm’s web site at www.infocomm.org.
Perry Goldstein is an electronic industry veteran, with experience in the consumer, Pro AV, and broadcast fields. Perry is also a widely published writer and speaker for the electronics industry. He is a guest lecturer in the California Community College system, specializing in Digital Marketing. He is also a
volunteer at Friendship Circle, and organization serving the special needs community.