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The TOTEM Poll: Totally Off Topic, Everything Media
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Old November 5th, 2009, 09:20 PM   #1
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University Education

A couple questions here...

Do you folks think that a college degree is necessary to be successful in this industry?

As an employer in this industry, is someone with a college education more valuable to you?
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Old November 6th, 2009, 11:19 AM   #2
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I can only speak from my own experience, but no-one has ever asked me where I went to school, and I could have done a lot of good for my career with the money I spent on tuition.

That being said, it is important to get out there and meet as many people as possible, and school can help you in that respect. I think the key is that you network as much as possible, regardless of rather or not you get a formal education.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 04:14 PM   #3
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I think the quality of the work you put out, the creativity you posess naturally, and your ability to meet or exceed deadlines and customers' (realistic) expectations matter much more than who you paid for a piece a paper with your name on it.
This is not to disparage anyone who went to school to learn their craft. And the previous reply is correct...networking is vital in this industry.
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Old November 6th, 2009, 04:46 PM   #4
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I'm not sure how it is in America, but here in the UK, if somebody gets to 21 and doesn't have a degree in something, people want to know why? Lazy, useless, dim? All those things are thought about - but in my own experience, students I taught at college who were truly hopeless can get a degree. So when I look for people, I use it as a guide. If they got their degree, at the very least it proves they have sticking power. I'd be quite happy taking somebody without one if their work record and skills were obvious. What I'm wary of are the people who drop out. University isn't as hard as it used to be, so dropping out may mean lack of staying power, or no real ability, so it was tough. Some even sign up for university knowing nothing about their chosen subject, and then leave when it doesn't quite do what they thought.

I'd certainly NEVER dream of stating 'Graduates Only' - that means nothing at all, and filters out some decent people.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 01:20 PM   #5
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As an employer and a college graduate I think having a degree is important and I'll hire a college graduate before a non graduate any day. Why? Going to college says something about your personal ambition, ability to plan into the future and hopefully the understanding that college teaches you more than just a technical skill. There is more to our craft than pointing a camera or cutting on a non-linear and college helps expose you to the concepts, theories and history of what we do. College also helps you recognize the things you don't know and how to hunt down information (not Google). My greatest regret in school was that I didn't take business classes in addition to my production classes. I've had to figure out a lot of things on my own that I could have easily assimilated in college.

Finally, I have a dear friend who is a talented shooter and storyteller and he regrets every day of his life not having gone to college when he could. It's been an impediment to his career and cost him jobs. Over the long run a college degree in this business will be more helpful than not having one.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 05:57 PM   #6
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Further to what Mark was saying about the UK, here a "degree in Media Studies" is often seen as a qualification for Douglas Adams's "Ark B" people. This is probably quite unfair, but a lesser, more specific vocational qualification may often be preferred. And there are still people who seem to make it after starting out as the equivalent of a tea boy with no previous experience or qualifications but a huge drive to succeed.
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Old November 7th, 2009, 08:31 PM   #7
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Necessary to be a success? NO!

Necessary to get some jobs? Yes.

Necessary to start your own business/freelance enterprise? No.

PS. Colin: I nearly PEED myself when I saw the Ark "B" reference!!! Ah, Douglas Adams... May he never be eaten by the ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and always know where his towel is. Rest In Peace!
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Old November 8th, 2009, 12:31 AM   #8
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The world is rife with successful people who had no formal education. Still, education has a value that can't be counted, even if it's not in your field.

Before studying editing and camera, I managed to get a B.Sc. in Biology, a BMus, and a MMus. It's amazing what you can spend your time on when you're young.

Over the years, I've often wondered if that time and money was wasted, since I never ended up in the fields I studied at first. But everyday, I realize that an education makes you a more rounded individual, enables you to read and write beyond basic levels, lets you discuss and appreciate topics beyond your narrow focus. The advantages just go on and on.

Don't be afraid to study and get and education, even if people say it's not necessary for your chosen field. It's going to help in so many other ways that it's worth it anyway.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 02:19 PM   #9
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I can call "snap" on the BMus, Vito, but not the MMus :-(

That's quite a varied education for a videographer. What do(did?) you play if I may ask?
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Old November 8th, 2009, 02:45 PM   #10
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Classical guitar and vocal performance (opera).

"Snap"? Must be a UK term. Does it mean that it's worthless? Kind of like those social studies degrees that everyone used to get.

The music degrees still help in my performing, which I do often on the side. This year, for example, I got some nice voice work in video games, and I found the vocal training a great advantage. You gamers check me out as La Volpe in "Assassins Creed II." I had several small parts in Deus EX 3 as well. Had a chance to see a screening of the game at Eidos this year. It was weird to hear your voice come out of animated characters. Motion capture was a lot of fun, too.

The stage training also helped me get into acting. You can look me up on IMDB for a partial list.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 03:30 PM   #11
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Sorry Vito - I didn't realise that reference wouldn't travel.

"Snap" is a children's card game where the point is to be the first to shout "snap" when a card is played which matches the one just played. Then you collect the whole pile of played cards and stay longer in the game.

So, I called "snap" 'cos I got BMus years ago too. Never thought of it as useless mind you, though serves me right if it is, after what I was saying about Media Studies degrees earlier.

I've played brass and keyboard professionally, conducted bands and orchestras, composed for commissions and arranged for various groups. And of course all that led into audio and video recording and production, plus the day job.

Last edited by Colin McDonald; November 8th, 2009 at 03:36 PM. Reason: Added more
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Old November 8th, 2009, 04:31 PM   #12
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Didn't know that card game. Thanks for the explanation.

As for the BMus, it's amazing how you go around in a circle and it turns out to be useful anyway. No education is wasted, I think.
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Old November 8th, 2009, 11:30 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vito DeFilippo View Post
I had several small parts in Deus EX 3 as well.
OT: MAN, I am DYING to see what they are doing with the Deus Ex franchise! The first game has cost me THOUSANDS of hours that could have been spent editing! To me, WAY cooler than HALO and F.E.A.R. only comes close...

Cool that you are in it. Can't wait!
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Old November 9th, 2009, 06:30 AM   #14
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Hey Shaun,

Didn't know you were a big gamer. It was cool to be in it. The director at my session works for Ubisoft as well, and brought me there for a pretty big role in Assassin's Creed II.

The screening was fun. First time in my life I had to sign a NDA. They had a guy basically play the game, but just a walk through at first to interact with as many characters as possible so that we could hear our work.

Then he went through it again and kicked some a$$.
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Old November 9th, 2009, 08:51 PM   #15
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Yeah coffee and 1st person shooters are my two BIGGEST weaknesses... BUT I demand an immersive storyline with twists to keep me enthralled. Deus Ex is good that way.

Never tried the AC franchise - I'll look into it.
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