Article by Amanda Fornecker
Go Digital with Interactive Media Design – Careers
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In this day and age, it seems that technology is taking over the world — especially in the world of entertainment. The latest technologies aid in writing, producing, and making movies, so much so that entire movies can even be made through interactive media design. As this kind of technology becomes more popular, the number of interactive media design programs being offered in schools throughout the country are virtually multiplying.
According to interactive media design professional Douglas Brull, interactive media design entails some sort of design element that one can interact with. “It could go anywhere from a poster to a website to an interactive DVD menu,” he says. His alma mater is the Art Institutes International Minnesota, which defines interactive media design as a field that “requires talented people to combine sound, images, text, and animation in order to entertain and educate.”
The Art Institute also says that interactive media design is a “quickly evolving field.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the average weekly wage for those in the motion picture industry is about $ 592, compared to $ 529 for all other industries combined. Salaries differ depending on the type of industry and job function of each individual. The best opportunities are available for those with digital film experience, as it is the most up-to-date technology. So those with this type of educational background are more likely to secure jobs in a competitive market.
Eric Jewell began his interactive media design career at the early age of 13, when he worked on his first film, “Killer Jello.” Though it never aired, Nickelodeon bought the short movie and his career took flight. After catching the film bug, Jewell made one to two films per year, he says, and went on to earn his liberal arts associate degree from the University of North Texas. Though he didn’t finish his bachelor’s degree, Jewell says he was able to get a lot of real-world experience through his jobs, specifically as a director of photography. Today, Jewell can talk about his past experiences as a writer, producer, and director on his various projects, as a professor at the MediaTech Institute, where he teaches digital video production.
Like Eric, Janell Kennedy has been interested in film since childhood. She took TV production classes in high school, and aspired to study the field in college, which is why she chose to attend Full Sail (Winter Park, FL), which offers many different film, recording arts, and digital programs. Many graduates of Full Sail have gone on to work with famous recording artists, such as Shakira, Gwen Stefani, and Madonna, and film projects, like Batman Begins, Finding Nemo, and Titanic. After graduating this Fall with a bachelor of science in film, she hopes to one day start her own production company.
Brull has a totally different story. He began his career in the business industry, then–at the age of 40–decided that he needed a change. After seeing an interesting ad in a magazine, Brull began looking into interactive media design programs and enrolled in the Art Institute. After completing his bachelor’s, he did some freelance work, started his own company, and then began teaching full time at the Art Institute.
According to Brull, Art Institute’s program is very Web-based. Because he had a background in design with his bachelor’s degree in fine arts, he was able to complete the four-year interactive media design program in just three years. “The program touched upon everything you could come across in the field. It’s a good taste of the niche you want to be in,” he says. “It was defined within the field of interactive media design, but it was broad in the sense that in this field you need a broad skill range.”
MediaTech has programs in Houston, Dallas, and Austin, TX. This is the second semester for the digital film program and Jewell says it is going well so far. “What’s cool about MediaTech is that the instructors are real-world people,” he says. Jewell emphasizes the importance of working with actual equipment and the hands-on experience students receive at MediaTech. “It’s a brand new facility and the school spent half a million [dollars] on gear and high tech equipment you need.”
All agree that they love interactive media design and digital filmmaking. But of course, there are always challenges. For Brull, it’s keeping up with current trends. “Everything moves so fast, but this is also probably one of the most exciting things because you never stagnate or get bored,” he says. Jewell thinks that it’s hard to pick a specific aspect of the field to involve yourself. “It’s kind of a loose conglomeration of professions,” he says. “In our individual film world these jobs come together for one production so it’s real tough when you graduate because there are all these different possible jobs out there.”
Kennedy just hopes she can keep up with everything she has learned. “The most challenging part has been thinking if I will be able to retain everything I learned at Full Sail, being that the school is very fast-paced. But that has all changed now,” she says. “Now I hope I will be able to teach others what I have learned, as well as learn more about my field of work.”
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Amanda Fornecker is the senior staff writer for The CollegeBound Network. Learn more about finding a school or career that’s right for you!
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