LeAndra Martinez is an aspiring producer living in Los Angeles. She graduated from college in 2011 with a degree in film production and has since shuttled through low-paying jobs, burdened by massive student debt. She told The Huffington Post that she does not want to accept government assistance even if she qualifies.
As we look this month to bridge the chasm between LA and Topeka, we need also to consider how we raise awareness in the viability of the latter as a possible future, for many talented graduates entering the job market. Ask yourself, where does your succession and sustainability plan fit into your corporate culture and its future? What happens after you leave? As an association, are we here solely to acknowledge and celebrate our presence in the current circumstance, or, are we here to plant the seeds, and nourish the future of Enterprise Media Communications for generations to come?
The above article highlights the predicament with colleges and universities in which, they tend to hype the “Go to Hollywood, NYC, Vancouver or Toronto and make movies and television productions” ideal as the only alternative for people pursuing a career in media. We know this is a very hard world to break into and maintain. Your success relying as much on luck and the whims of those established, as it does on your ability and expertise in any given position. It sometimes takes years to generate a consistent living. None of these institutes, it seems advises, “Go, and fulfill your dreams in Topeka!”
Rarely do any of these centers of higher learning acknowledge the existence of the Enterprise Media Communications world, which thrives in places like Topeka and Jacksonville, Seattle, Boston, Philadelphia and Dallas. They don’t recognize these opportunities, which pay for the cars, the kids, and the house; and offer the 401k, the vacations, and other ‘perks’ from which, a financial or technical degree would result. Media is a business, and so many outside this community, do not appreciate the amount of business acumen involved in media production. Average people don’t realize a producer’s degree emphasizes the business of media, rather than the actual creation of films and videos.
We know that, many Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, and non-profit organizations, have some form of Enterprise Media Department; and many companies across the country engage with their employees, clients and customers via video. The Board of CMMA has often talked of how to reach out to this talent pool and begin to nurture among them, the prospect of a vocation in Enterprise Media Communications. It’s unfortunate that so many grads in this field are not made aware of the opportunities it offers.
Is it the choice of educational degree, or lack of known opportunities, which hinders the successful transition to the working world for graduates possessing a media degree? I assert it is part of our legacy as members of CMMA, to develop a form of outreach to educational institutions across America, raising awareness among those who endeavor to create great stories, to this profession we hold so dear. I realize in the face of corporate layoffs and fewer resources, it is difficult to look beyond our own set of circumstances to what the future brings. However, we need to be the standard bearers for the future, along the road to Topeka and the opportunities available there in which, a new generation of enterprise communicators could put their skills to good use; or, we are not great communicators at all.
Article contributed by Gerry Harris, CMMA Eastern Regional Director