Training centers know that even working professionals can't
sit on their laurels. As software changes, the need to learn that software and
all it offers is imperative. Whether you are just starting a career or growing
it, you should never stop learning.
School of Motion Pictures & Television
Academy of Art University
The School of Motion Pictures & Television at the
Academy of Art University in San Francisco offers accredited undergraduate and
graduate degree programs that emphasize seven different areas of production for
students to study and gain hands-on production experience to prepare them for
STRENGTHS: "A lot of emphasis is being put on education in
motion pictures and television, visual effects, gaming, and art and design.
These fields of studies have exploded because of the gained interest and career
opportunities. Since the days of the apprenticeship are long gone, one has a
choice to enter into the industry without experience and hope for the best, or
attend art school and acquire the necessary skills, learn to collaborate,
network, seek valuable internships and build a strong portfolio."
WEAKNESSES: "Sometimes in education, many of the same
projects are assigned to students, which creates a similar look for their
portfolio. It may not distinguish or develop their style, and the work can look
the same when students show their reel or portfolio to potential clients. I
think it's important for the institution to help guide the students to find
their voice and personal style that creates a unique look so it does not become
OPPORTUNITIES: "In art and design universities, the
curriculums are very specific in helping the student reach their career goal.
The curriculum is tailored around specific departments in the industry. For
instance, in a program like ours, students declare an emphasis or track during
their fourth semester. They start to learn how to become a producer, director,
cinematographer, editor, screenwriter, production designer or actor. Many of
classes in the last two years of the program are focused to create a
competitive reel. Students establish skills that will allow them to become a
specialist in the industry when they leave the university.
"From my experience, some of the state-funded universities
or colleges don't have that luxury. Many of the students find that during the
first two years they are taking liberal arts or theory-based classes and they
do not receive hands-on experience until their fifth semester junior year. At
the Academy of Art University, from the first semester students are getting
THREATS: "Depending on the curriculum, if the university has
more of a liberal arts focus, then I don't believe the students will be
prepared for career opportunities unless they acquire the skills on their own
because the program may be very general. In the industry, everything is very
specific and focused. You need a specific skill-set in order to get hired. They
are looking for the best, and students that are professional and have strong
business practices. The job opportunities are out there, but you have to pay
your dues and be tenacious."
OUTLOOK FOR 2008: "The industry is unsettled and can go in
many directions. I think the independent market is starting to thrive — short
films. There are many venues right now for short films, especially online and
in film festivals. Many of the advertisers are putting more of their dollars
into Internet advertising instead of network television. Podcasting is very
popular. There are many more alternatives and methods to screening, selling and
distributing the work… getting it out there. There is definitely a group of
visionaries and entrepreneurs out there who can really dictate the market.
"I don't think it's stable right now. The networks are
trying to get a jump on this. Just like with reality TV when it started, people
were skeptical, but look what happened with that. Everyone is jumping on it. We
are going to see a new wave, and we are seeing some of it now, in film, media
and the arts."
University of Central Florida
Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy
Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy (FIEA) is a
graduate program in videogame development, instructed by industry veterans,
focused on developing highly-skilled programmers, artists and producers for the
growing interactive industry.
STRENGTHS: "The strength we have is demand. There is a
growing desire for young people to work in creative industries and make their
own products. It's always been there. Once we all started watching movies, and
sports, we longed to work in entertainment, but 40, 30, 20 years ago that was
reserved for Hollywood; the people who lived in Hollywood and the children of
people who worked in Hollywood. In today's world, as far as games and movies,
because it's done in a digital world now and the cost of the equipment and
assets is not exorbitant like it used to be, we have a lot of students who
would love to make games, movies and commercials, and now they can."
WEAKNESSES: "Usually education isn't on the forefront of
leading trends. It reacts to trends, so we are in the reaction mode right now.
One of the weaknesses is that digital media schools, film schools, computer
science schools and game schools are just not mature enough and haven't done
the things necessary in terms of programs to bring in technology and get up to
speed quick enough to run with the industry.
"I think education will do that. We did that with MBA
schools in the '80s and '90s. They started to do some real cutting edge stuff
and caught up real quick, and we need to do the same thing in entertainment and
"You have to spend money on technology, and schools get set
in their ways and everybody gets their own little budget, but they don't
refocus their whole programs. That's one of the beauties of FIEA; we got to
start from scratch and create a program and we had the funding to do it."
OPPORTUNITIES: "We have an opportunity to train the next
generation of workforce to be higher wage creative workers. As mentioned
before, one of the strengths is we have a pent up demand, and the opportunity
is there are a lot of young people who don't wish to go work for General
Motors. They aren't sure what they want to do, but they do know they would like
to be their own thinker work on teams, create start-up companies and work in
"Globally, the opportunity is here. People are making great
livings, working in great businesses and creating great friendships and
products because they can multitask; they can work on projects around the world
and do things in a lot of different ways than it used to be, where it was
traditionally, go to school, and your lucky if you get hired and go into a
training program at a bigger company, learn a lot there and maybe 10 or 15
years later go out and start your own thing."
THREATS: "The threat we have is just taking too long. We'll
figure this out over time — it might take 100 years to figure out the right way
to educate our students. Study after study is coming out saying that we are
using 100-year-old systems to educate our young people. And we all recognize
that. We don't have 100-year-old communication devices in our home, so the
threat really is timing. The millennials are growing up, and they are driving
us. They are the customer.
"Many say education can't change, things won't change…but
they do change and you change because of the customer. The students today are
screaming for stuff that's more interactive and less boring. When we were kids,
school was boring but there weren't a lot of answers out there, now there are
and now it's about how quickly can we move to them.
"The threat isn't really that the bureaucratic systems can't
change and won't change over time, the threat is we don't do a good job of
corralling that and moving it forward faster."
OUTLOOK FOR 2008: "You are still going to see a lot more
casual gaming, people playing the Wii, and the broadening of the game market.
All of this broadening just helps education, medical and military agencies
broaden. You will see a lot more of those industries training people in
simulations and interactive ways over the next decade.
"In the entertainment community, you will see more of what
you are already seeing, more software and tools, such as the mass crowd
generators and the blending of 2D and 3D, and better ways of telling a story —
trying to tell a story with 2D and 3D animation or 3D art and using audio and
sound for a more blended experience. We are finally getting to a point at which
interactive and digital tools are maturing where creatives, other than just the
tech gurus, can use them. The millennials are going to have fun."
Soho Editors, with offices in NY, London and Dublin, was
founded in 2000 as a provider of freelance talent to the global post industry.
They have since expanded to provide certified training for the industry.
STRENGTHS: "The industry's rapid shift into new platforms
and applications is creating a high demand for professional training.
Inexpensive, streamlined equipment is leading to more accessible, hands-on
training. An experienced editor can learn and become certified in a new
application in as little as three days. Manufacturer certifications offer a
unique benchmark — they take the guesswork out of an editor or designer's true
"Ten years ago, training consisted of several trainees
hovering around one system; now they all have their own workstation. As new
editing platforms become more prevalent, trainees can now practice their skills
at home rather than in an on-site edit facility."
WEAKNESSES: "Methods of training can vary widely — from DVDs
to books to one-on-one classroom training. Not to say there is a right or wrong
way for teaching an application, but many people have different ways of learning
and require different time frames. One editor may learn a new application in
three days, whereas it may take another six weeks. The key is finding the
correct balance — it can be difficult for someone to figure out which method
[or combination of methods] works best for them. Also, there is a difference in
teaching someone how to use an application and a craft."
OPPORTUNITIES: "Increased accessibility to equipment will
lead to a larger pool of aspiring editors who will seek out professional
training. As technology continues to advance at a rapid pace, software and
tools will become even more intuitive. We have never seen more applications on
the market that do virtually the same thing as we do now.
"Industry leaders, such as HBO, are upgrading their editing
applications and require training for their entire department. It is a very
exciting time right now, as we don't see the need for training declining — it
continues to increase, prompting more people to be trained. These days [we're
seeing] more applications on the market than ever. We have five or six editing
applications that people need to be trained for, so that increases our business
THREATS: "How simple can an application become? Applications
are now being developed for the consumer rather than the skilled professional.
As a result, everyone thinks they are an editor and that they do not need
training. Also, consumer generated content — led by YouTube — is on the rise.
Are users drawn more toward low-budget, five-viral videos cut on iMovie than
longform, highly polished documentaries finished with Flame? It remains to be
OUTLOOK 2008: "Technology never stops changing, and the
drive for knowledge of applications is ever increasing. Gone are the days when
an editor could get away with just knowing one application. For example,Final
Cut Studio 2 is distributed and packaged with five applications, all of which
are powerful in their own right. Clients are now expecting editors to be fluent
not just in Final Cut, but also the programs bundled with it. The future looks
Moviola offers one-on-one, individualized fillmmaking
training for directors, writers, producers, actors, cinematographers, and/or
anyone making a career change.
STRENGTHS: "The obvious strength that we see is that,
especially in the post production business, technology continues to change and
with those software changes, whether they be with Avid, Adobe or Apple
products, professionals need to be updated about the new features and the
complexities that exist with those products.
"At Moviola, one of our strengths is that our training is
taught by professionals for professionals. We are looking at people who are
already experts working in the industry — in order for them to maintain their
high level of skills and, hopefully, be paid for that expertise, the more they
need to understand how the products work and what they can actually use out of
those products. So they will continue to need that specialized type of
"Another strength is the introduction of the variety of
different high def formats that currently exist and that are promised in the
near future. There is a need to understand the way people are going to utilize
the different formats and bring them in to post. The workflow is different for
almost every product that is being introduced on the acquisition side, so when
it comes to post there is really going to be a greater need for this training.
Especially with the P2 and Sony technologies, as well as Red and the other
products that are coming out — the question is how to bring those high def
acquisitions into post."
WEAKNESSES: "Training is an expensive proposition, and
making people see the the value of training is sometimes a challenge. Yet as
products change it's obvious that you can't use the product as it currently
exists, and there is a need for that learning process to occur.
"Another weakness is marketing. We need to get people to
understand that if they continue to keep their skills at a very high level,
they can provide a better product to their clients.
"With the current writers' strike and the other looming
strikes, a lot of people see it as an opportunity to use this time to do
training, but then there are some who have to think about pulling in the reins
and doing very little outside spending."
OPPORTUNITIES: "More people continue to turn to professional
types of media solutions and incorporate those into their products, not just on
the post side with feature films, TV shows and commercials, but also in the
financial sector, corporate presentations and other areas where more video will
be required. It's a good opportunity for us to go after those types of clients.
"Another opportunity is that once people realize how dynamic
it is and how many products are involved, they'll see that it's worth spending
a few extra dollars on that investment to train themselves better."
THREATS: "The only potential threat is people not valuing
classroom training or one-on-one type training. There are people who feel as
though they can do a lot of training online and we are always competing against
that format. However, we really do think the hands-on approach and working in a
collaborative environment certainly is the best way to learn and share ideas
with other students."
OUTLOOK 2008: "We view the market for training as a growing
market, and that people need to stay up to date with the new software releases.
There will certainly be a need for people to learn, and with the continued migration
into high definition and figuring out the workflows into post production, there
should be a fair amount of opportunity for us to grow our training services, do
seminars, and create some special courseware that addresses those unique
"As for the industry in general, I just don't think we are
going to see a lot of change in either direction, unless the strike affects