Beyond Movies: Media Arts is the Foundation of 21st Century Communications

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Mott_beyond_moviesMovie and television stars may get all the glory, but the people behind the camera make the real magic happen. And some of those magicians are Mott Community College alumni.

In the increasingly far-reaching world of communication, graduates of a Media Arts program can pursue careers in the film and digital media industry, including advertising, public relations, TV and radio broadcasting, live event video production and management, and music recording.

Greenroom Controlroom.dr.flatMott Community College Media Arts and Entertainment Technology (MAET) graduates are enjoying unprecedented success in the workplace.

MCC launched its MAET program in 2010 in a professional television studio space that formerly housed a local Public Broadcasting System (PBS) station. In the five years since its inception, MAET graduates have launched their careers at local TV studios, on major motion pictures including Transformers 4 and Superman vs. Batman: Dawn of Justice, as extras on major films, as interns for Nickelodeon, in corporate video production, and at advertising agencies.

“Our students get hands-on training in their first course.”
- David Rembiesa, MAET program coordinator and faculty member

The success of MAET graduates is a direct result of the educational approach at MCC, which combines the conceptual and artistic skills required for creative professionals with the broad-focused networking ability needed to get the job, and the work ethic needed to get the job done.

Students learn the technical skills of video and digital media production including filming, lighting, editing, screenwriting and sound mixing for television, internet and radio. The program couples that with curriculum in creating effective narrative and communication by combining images, text, sound, and music in fiction or documentary formats.

“Our students get hands-on training in their first course,” said David Rembiesa, MAET program coordinator and faculty member. “They learn how to professionally shoot, edit, light, produce, and direct in their first semester. We also work closely with the Photography, Graphic Design, and Music Technology departments on campus to provide students with even more industry-relatable skills.”

The classrooms provide students an opportunity to learn hands-on skills in a real world setting. “Our facilities are first-class and are arguably the best in any two-year program in the state, and may even be better than 90 percent of the four-years,” said Rembiesa. The studio contains a 12 x 12 Chroma-Key immersive green screen, professional cameras, editing and voice over equipment, and a sound booth designed by the same people who designed recording space for Kid Rock and other artists.

MCC students also have extensive opportunities to complete marketing and promotional projects for community partners and local non-profits. Since the program began, over 60 students have completed internships with local companies and have produced more than 30 videos used in real-world marketing campaigns.

Outstanding facilities and coursework, taught by faculty who have more than 150 years of combined experience in the field, put MCC’s Media Arts program students on a red carpet career track.

For more information about the MAET program visit the website at www.mcc.edu.

Student Profile: Ben La Londe

Developing Professional Credentials

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Ben La Londe

I had heard how involved the program was and how inexpensive it was to go here and I didn’t want to put myself in a position where I was taking on loads of debt to start learning something when I wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it for a career. I knew that (at MCC) the program is hands-on from day one; at other schools you may not touch a camera until your third or fourth year.

What made you interested in staying in the Media Arts program?

I love being able to tell inspiring stories in a visual way and as soon as I took the documentary film class I knew that was the direction I wanted to go. I had the opportunity to do a documentary about two local boxers, and since then, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. There’s something about being able to take a thought and turn it into a film that appeals to me.

Do you think the program has prepared you for a career?

The thing about film is that you never stop growing or learning new things, but there are a lot of things I learned (here) that I would never have thought of if I tried to do this on my own. The subject matter will prepare you for quite a bit, you get techniques and tricks, and you know what you’re getting into–once I got it out of my head that I thought I knew everything and decided to learn, that’s when the growth started. And, now I work at a news station doing editing, so that must mean something!

What helped you succeed in this program?

Well, the professors for sure, seeing their passion and how knowledgeable they are in the subjects they teach. And, having the equipment available to check out for a weekend and discover on my own. I can’t forget my parents of course, who gave me an unbelievable work ethic—my dad taught me that if you don’t work, you don’t eat, and I brought that with me to all of my classes and projects here at MCC.

What advice would you give to an incoming student?

You have to have a passion for learning how a film is made, if you just come in because you like movies it may not be right for you—but that’s the beauty of a place like MCC, you can come and try something out and not end up in debt if you don’t like it.

Student Profile: Robert Stamps

Telling Inspiring Stories

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Robert Stamps

I haven’t been to school in 10 years – I’m a 51 year old high school dropout with some college and a lot of talent and MCC was a good fit for me. The MAET program has screenwriting courses – I had 25 years of playwriting, acting, producing and directing experience without anything to show for it. So, I came and talked to Dave (Rembiesa) and he sold me on the program and the value of learning the professional screenwriting process.

Do you feel this program prepared you for the career you want?

When you’re in this program you get to use a dedicated green screen, 20 editing machines, and a sound booth….you learn the tools you need to know. I know what editing looks like and what an editor would look for in a shot list; I know the markers of an amateur writer; I got to be in the Honors Program and work with the Mott Campus Clowns as Sticky Bird. I got to go on the road with a show, do 12 performances, and had my knee go out on the trip—I had to decide I was stronger than that. I got to network with other people and got credit as a Second Assistant Director on a professional film produced off campus. I will take all of that with me when I go on into my career.

What advice would you give to an incoming student to MCC or to this program?

Take the photography class—realistically if you want to know what’s going on in a frame then you need to take it—what is a film if not a series of photographs?

The program here offers courses in photography, and graphic design, and music as supplements to the Media Arts classes–take them because they help you learn more about the process of making a film.

And, take a skills development class—I took one my last semester here and it was a nice validation that I was doing the right things—managing my time and my stress, and it will help me going forward, but it could have helped me here if I’d taken it earlier.

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