September 28, 2020

BY WESLEY BUTLER

Media production is about always striving for success, but occasionally dealing with failure. It is how people deal with failure that determines their success.

That was one of the many pieces of advice given during the Media Producers Group’s For the Love of It panel discussion at Conestoga College on Nov. 16. Students from the journalism broadcast, broadcast television, videography, and integrated marketing communications programs were invited.

The panel consisted of Carol Ann Whalen and Rob Currie from C to C Productions, Peter Shannon, founder of Memory Tree, Von Darnell, president of Huckleberry Film Studios, Paul and Paula Campsall from MetaMedia, and Tom Knowlton, a freelance broadcaster.

Whalen and Currie’s production company keeps track of the latest tech gadgets being used by producers, and tries to incorporate them into their work.

Paul Campsall always wanted to own his own company, and was able to do so when he met Paula, his partner, who worked in a genetics lab most of her career.

Peter Shannon worked at CTV until he was laid off, and started Memory Tree as a result. He has hired 15 full-time employees to date.

Von Darnell didn’t want to work in an office, so she found a hobby in broadcasting, and decided to start Huckleberry Film Studios.

Tom Knowlton started his career as a teacher, and had an interest in music and media. This led him to freelance television work in Kitchener.

The panel advised students to look at their failures as lessons, and said that they will always lead to future success.

“They (failures) don’t get easier over time, because you stay in business by keeping your clients happy,” said Shannon. “But it’s also about deadlines. If you’re not good at meeting them, then you need to start.”

Students seeking job opportunities in media production were advised to stick with their passion, because they will become noticed by someone who needs them.

“It’s a good idea to have a website displaying your work,” said Paul Campsall. “When a new cameraman wants to work with us, we always search him up on the Internet. Employers will look you up online when you want to work for them.”

The panel went on to discuss the advantages of students working for an independent production company over television stations.

Whalen said it’s easier to approach an independent company for a job rather than apply at a station. When her company was doing a flash mob at Conestoga Mall several years ago, a man approached them and asked if he could help. He was able to capture the event from different angles, and impressed Whalen and the rest of the company, who offered him a job immediately.

“We have yet to post a job online at Huckleberry Film Studios,” said Darnell. “People always come to us for work, and if we think they’re good at what they do, they get hired.”

Shannon reminded students that upon graduating, they may struggle at the beginning, and may have to do work for free in order to be noticed.

“The business is growing, and there’s room for everyone,” he said. “No matter what you’re working on, make it your best work. It’s important to improve yourself every step of the way.”