Dream Job

I recently traveled to San Francisco for a conference and was able to make time to visit iMedia alumnus, Nick Margherita. Nick is video producer at CBS Interactive creating video content for the gaming-focused website GameSpot.  http://www.gamespot.com

Nick, joyfully, told me all about his job, how he landed it, and its correlation to his Interactive Media Master’s degree from Elon.

“As a video producer, I primarily write and edit entertainment content for GameSpot.com and GameSpot’s multiple social media outlets. These videos include things like gameplay clips, op/ed features, and extensive reviews. Aside from writing and editing, I also host live streams and roundtable chats discussing the latest video games and television shows.

“When I was preparing to graduate from iMedia, my dream was to work at ESPN. I felt that this combination of video production and sports would fulfill both my personal interests and professional aspirations. So with the help of Elon’s vast communications network I was able to get my foot in the door at ESPN as a production assistant. But within my first month at ESPN, I realized that live television production is vastly different from the videos we were producing in iMedia. I often felt that my creativity was being limited, and although it was an extremely hard decision to make, I decided to leave the company and television production in general.

“When I made the decision to move to San Francisco, I did not have a job but what I did have was the confidence in my iMedia master’s education and degree.

“Still, landing a job in SF was not as easy as I’d expected. I spent about three months couch-hopping around the city freelance editing for various tech start-ups. After struggling to find consistent freelance opportunities, I decided to join a creative agency to offer my skills to a more widespread clientele. Fortunately, when the agency learned that I had earned my master’s degree in Interactive Media and was well-versed in multiple skill sets aside from just video production, my resume rose to the top of their list. Within a few weeks I’d received an offer to be a full-time video producer at CBS Interactive.

The people I work with are by far the best part of my job. It’s a group of creative individuals who are super passionate about games, television and movies both in and outside of work. I can confidently say that I am excited to get up each and every morning to work with some of the gaming industry’s most respected and brightest writers and producers. And obviously having the opportunity to create content that I am interested in is a major plus and makes work feel a little less like work.”

Nick’s advice for people considering iMedia,

“Whether you are a recent college graduate or an experienced professional, if you are unsure of what career path you are passionate about and communications and media interest you, then iMedia is the perfect solution. When my undergraduate education came to a close I was still unsure of what exactly I wanted to pursue within the realm of communications. iMedia not only guided me in my journey to discover my interest in video but it also gave me the tangible skills necessary to succeed in the professional production world. Both the program itself and its faculty and staff changed my life in an incredible way, and I owe much of my success to iMedia.”

And naturally, words of advice to our current class,

“It sounds cliché, but don’t be afraid to fail or make mistakes; everything happens for a reason. When I first left ESPN, moved to San Francisco, and was jobless for three months, I thought I’d made the biggest mistake of my life. But now, nearly a year later, I couldn’t be happier with my past decisions. I honestly feel that I am a stronger individual because of the lessons I learned from those “mistakes.” The real world can be overwhelming sometimes and not go the way you plan. But if you work hard, focus on your goals, and have a positive attitude, then you can land your dream job. Or maybe even discover your dream like I did.

“In short, cherish your time at Elon with your classmates and professors, as I miss the campus and its people everyday! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and experiences, and best of luck to both current and future iMedia students!”

Information about CBS Interactive: CBS Interactive is made up of multiple online brands that include: CBS News, CNET, CBS Sports, GameSpot, Giant Bomb, Metacritic, Last.fm, etc. GameSpot provides news, reviews, and other information on video games, entertainment, and other fun aspects of “geek” culture. 

 

Thanks Nick….

 

 

Keep Your Eye on the Prize

by maggie mullikin

Jenna Wagner, a 2011 Interactive Media graduate returned to Elon to speak with the new class – the class of 2017. Jenna was a wealth of information regarding her personal experiences as an iMedia student, the career path she has been on since graduating, and her detailed explanation of specific roles she has taken on with her new job. Jenna is currently the Public Relations & Marketing Director for the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Southwest Virginia Cultural Heritage Foundation.

Upon graduation from JMU, Jenna attended Elon University’s Interactive Media Master’s program in Elon, NC. Focusing on further honing her skills and determining her career path. With guidance from her mentors, she landed in Charlotte, NC pursuing a career in motorsports, one of her greatest passions. After working in the industry as a graphic designer, project manager and digital marketer, Jenna returned home to Virginia to learn more about non-profit, government and ultimately develop her home region of Southwest Virginia. https://www.myswva.org/

Jenna spends her days on relationship marketing and promoting Southwest Virginia as a tourism destination. This includes graphic design, social media marketing, website development and event management.

After Jenna spoke about her present title she then listed, “what else I do.”

Marketing strategy | Social media strategy & execution | Focus groups | Relationship building and marketing | Website development | Content generation (photos, videos, etc.) | Graphic design | Budgeting | Grant writing | Storytelling | Asset Management | Event management & promotion | Merchandise | Database management |

Jenna’s enthusiasm was contagious. Her advice and reflections could not have been more clear. The hard work today will pay off tomorrow.

 

 

Giving Back

by maggie mullikin

I am feeling a little sentimental with this post. Sentimental for many reasons. We are in our seventh iMedia year and some days it simply doesn’t seem possible. However, this week of spring break it does feel possible and I will tell you why. More than ten of our current students are spending their spring break networking around the country. We have students in northern and southern California, New York City, and Washington DC. Each one of these students has been greeted with open arms by the iMedia alum who are living and thriving in these cities. I began reaching out a few weeks ago and each former iMedia student I spoke with was excited at the prospect of meeting with current students, giving advice, offering networking opportunities, and showing off cities and offices. I have seen quite a bit this week on social media as these wonderful people all connect.

As well, we have had a record number of iMedia graduates return this year to speak to our current students. They have been so generous with their time, answering questions, assuaging fears, discussing the ups and downs of the job search but always emphasizing the fact that this degree opens doors. When employers look at what has been accomplished in these ten months they ask more questions, become more curious, and more often than not, make offers.

Our graduates come back to campus on a regular basis to help with iMedia open houses and they speak to prospective students who want to better understand the processes, the classes, and the culture of the program. We will be hosting our final iMedia open house for spring 2016 on April the 5th and, again, we will have alumni give their valuable perspective.

Our iMedia graduates truly are giving back. And in the blink of an eye, our class of 2016 will be giving back themselves.

Have degree, will travel

by maggie mullikin

We have our first iMedia graduate in Jackson Hole Wyoming. Drayton Beebe is a 2015 iMedia graduate. We spoke on the phone about her new opportunity out west. I just love how happy she sounds and this is what she had to say,Unknown

“I’m currently working as a graphic design intern at Teton Gravity Research in Jackson Hole, WY. http://www.tetongravity.com

“After iMedia, I took time at home to figure out how I wanted to use my newfound skills, where I wanted to live, and what kind of company I wanted to work for. I knew I wanted to move west and work for an outdoor company doing graphic design. I love skiing and snow sports and am happy to have ended up in Jackson Hole at TGR.I work with the digital and sales teams creating ads for the site, marketing materials, etc. and the content team creating any visual aids for stories from info graphics to photo editing.

“iMedia teaches you a wide range of skills. Figure out which chunk you want to focus on and build your portfolio around that. If you want to be a web developer, find a professional developer’s portfolio to understand how to showcase fully developed sites you’ve built. Then, figure out how to leverage the other skills you’ve learned when you’re marketing yourself in interviews. The iMedia program is truly unique and the first of its kind. One year for a master’s degree, a wide range of digital knowledge, and international project experience puts you on the fast track into the digital space no matter what your previous knowledge or professional experience is.

“I think as students we are hyper focused on the next step forward and we develop tunnel vision to the next goal. I think this sets us up for failure and or disappointment. Since graduation, I’ve learned that patience, thoughtfulness, and quality over quantity, in applications and your portfolio, are important during the job search process.”

Sapient advice from another talented iMedia graduate.

 

 

 

Here We Go Again

by maggie mullikin

As with most things in work and life we try our best to keep improving. As we begin our seventh iMedia year, and welcome the class of 2016, we have decided to invite our alumni back earlier in the calendar year. Over the years, our graduates have given advice on portfolios, the job search, résumés, interviews, and networking. So historically they have returned to campus in the early part of spring as students are beginning to look closer at career opportunities. However, some of the graduates’ most valuable advice turns out to be how to navigate the 10 months in iMedia. Mike Sales, Director, Design | NASCAR Digital Media, said it most acutely, “trust the process.” Work hard – stay focused – put your personal life on hold – listen to your professors – ask for help – go to class –  be on time – and learn from each other all come to mind as well, regarding sage advice, but trust the process resonated with me because I have seen this process work time and time again. Conor Britain, Interactive Designer at RED Interactive, a 2010 iMedia graduate, was here last month at the end of the digital media workshop and he spoke to the iMedia class prior to the beginning of core courses. He shared some professional experiences but, he too, came back to, making the most of iMedia while you can. “This is your sandbox time.” I love and appreciate that advice not only because Conor graduated from our inaugural class (and the more things change the more they do stay the same) but because it just makes so much sense. What it said to me was, time will fly – share – be where you are – enjoy – get your hands dirty – play with all the toys and make the most of your time while you are here because you can never get it back.

What we can and do get back every year is the support of our strong alumni network. So, here we go again….

 

the start up

Sophie Waller

Sophie Waller is a 2014 iMedia graduate. Sophie is one of a handful of iMedia graduates who went with a start up following graduation. She had tips and insights to share when we met recently in Raleigh.

“I am the Community Manager at Photofy Inc. For starters I run and manage all social media channels for Photofy http://photofy.com/ This is everything from creating and posting content, monitoring all social interaction, and staying on top of complaints and queries.

Marketing is also a large part of my job. We are at the heart of the company focused on design, therefore we have a lot of ‘Featured Partners’ in our app. Featured Partners are graphic designers / typographers / or illustrators whose designs are featured in our app under their name (or company name).

One of my favorite parts of the job is to search through Instagram / blogs / websites etc. to find budding typographers or illustrators who are extremely skilled, yet may not have found enough work they deserve as of yet, to be featured in our app. I reach out to multiple designers on a daily basis to set up partnerships and pitch collaborations with them (each are different) and then arrange licensing with them.

iMedia prepared me for my job in a great way, in the fact that, if you looked at my job from an outside perspective, you probably wouldn’t think it would of helped me at all!

Working for a start up there are ten people in my company in total, therefore there is complete transparency when it comes to the design and business of the app. Although my job is social media and marketing based, because of my background, my input and opinions matter as they come from an educated background.

My boss comes to me with wire frames designs, asks me to contribute new design ideas for the app, I understand coding therefore can manage expectations for clients, and because of my understanding and knowledge of these aspects I contribute business ideas on a regular basis because I am aware of what we our capabilities are.

We are a start up, therefore I have a lot of customer / fan interaction on a daily basis. If ever there is something that is going wrong with a customers app, or they want to know a design question, a how to option, I respond to them directly.

I am very big on customer interaction, yes it might be stressful at times, but one of the biggest accolades we can get, and we have gotten countless times again, is how much our customers appreciate our one to one interaction.

When people message us saying, ‘Your app is amazing, and you’re all so helpful’, that’s the best part of my job.”

Sophie has advice for people considering iMedia.

“If you are on the fence about the program, do it. I was probably about 20% sure I was making the right decision when I joined, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.

Plus, it’s a really cool thing to show off about at parties”.

For students currently enrolled –

“Everybody’s path is different.

Please do NOT put an immense amount of pressure on yourself to be happy, settled and with your dream job a week after graduation, because let’s face it, that does not happen to everyone!

Although it may not feel it at the time, but you are in an extremely valuable position when you graduate.

Allow yourself to know your worth, know how hard you have worked, and know the incredible skills you have learned this year that not many people will have. Take a moment to think about what job you really want, not one you feel like you should have.”

 

 

Timing is Everything – along with Great Interactive Media Skills

by maggie mullikin and allie white

I had the pleasure of meeting with Allie White, a 2013 iMedia graduate. I thought it particularly relevant to share her story because Allie accepted a paid summer internship prior to graduating in May.

Cinci2
“I originally found Roadtrippers (roadtrippers.com) during Professor Xu’s class while we were doing the usability test project. I fell in love with the design of the site and how fun and original the concept and the people were so I kept up with the site after the project. After spring break when I was starting to stress out about the job search, I remember browsing their site and seeing that they were hiring for a Video & Photo Intern. I sent in my resume and a quirky cover letter hoping to catch their attention, thinking it would most likely head into the abyss that was leftover applications. However, I heard back from them within a week and set up a Skype interview for the following week. It was easily one of the most enjoyable interviews I had ever had. I immediately clicked with their hiring manager and I talked to his supervisor the next day. Within 2 hours of the call, I had an offer waiting in my inbox from them. It was one of those great situations where you mesh incredibly well with the people and the company. So a month later, I moved to Cincinnati – the day after graduation!

“Fortunately for me, the position was brand new and they saw a lot of potential for it to turn into a permanent position considering I was also well versed in graphic design and front end development. While I had specific large projects, like organizing and distributing our photo and time lapse photography library, I was also allowed a lot of flexibility in my position. I edited 5 videos throughout my time there, shot at a couple local events, and did both the shooting and editing for Lumenocity (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KlQ5bmn70rA). While I greatly enjoyed my time there and learned a lot from the people I worked with, I wanted to utilize all the skills Interactive Media taught me and I wasn’t going to be able to in my position. However, I would definitely encourage iMedia students to consider taking an internship after graduation. What’s great about an internship is the possibility of it turning into a full time position and growing your network. I also think it’s sometimes necessary if graduates are still trying to figure out which specialty to focus on in their career. At the end of the day, I think it comes down to what kind of company it is- a lot of companies view an intern as someone that needs to be guided step by step. Roadtrippers was very open to me designing the position for myself and allowing me to try new ideas, so it never felt like a traditional internship.”

Allie is currently doing freelance work across the Triangle. “After I finished my internship in Cincinnati, I moved back because I knew my network was stronger here and I would be able to find more design and video jobs in the Raleigh area. One of the greatest things about my experience in the iMedia program was being able to start doing freelance work during the second semester and counting my video work as an apprenticeship, under the guidance of Dr. Copeland. By using that as a class, I was forced to create a schedule, set priorities and goals, and remain accountable to not only my boss, but to the program. Freelancing and working primarily from home can be difficult because you can be flexible in your schedule which allows for a bit of laziness, and if you’re not careful you’re missing deadlines. However, my experience in the program taught me to appreciate that flexibility, instead of abusing it. I truly enjoy freelancing because it’s allowed me to pick both video and design projects and not be limited to one specialty.

And Allie’s words of wisdom for current and perspective students?

“While you should be doing research about companies you can see yourself working for after graduation, I would focus more on making your capstone an amazing portfolio piece that speaks to employers and shows exactly what you want to do. Your capstone should be a passion project and both challenge your capabilities and showcase the direction you want to go in your career. I’d also encourage students to take advantage of their Fly-In experience, both out of the country and back in Elon. My experience in Ecuador as Project Manager taught me a lot about myself, how to work productively with a team, and what I wanted to be doing career-wise.

And most of all, enjoy the rest of your iMedia experience, graduation will be here before you know it!”