Career & Education

e-Media, UCC producing animators, videographers

BY PENDA HONEYGHAN
Career & Education writer
honeyghanp@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, May 07, 2017

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RESPONDING to a deficit in trained animators and a growing demand for video professionals, iCreate Institute opened its doors to a cohort of 40 students in late January.The group completed the programme just over two weeks ago, armed with certificates in digital video production, script writing, animation and motion graphics, and interactive design and gaming content.

The institute is a partnership between parent company eMedia Interactive Group Limited and the University of the Commonwealth Caribbean (UCC), which articulated on the occasion of the launch in late 2016 that the institute is expected to assist the Government of Jamaica achieve the target of filling 5,000 jobs in the animation sector in the next 10 years.

Their position/argument is even more compelling when one considers global video marketing statistics which show the projected growth of video technology in the next two years.

“Due to the growth of videography, by 2019 some 80 per cent of online content consumption will be in the form of videos, Snapchat and Instagram being two examples. Brands are going to be producing a lot more video content globally, so there is a big demand for those who can produce video content and with this we saw that there was just not enough talent going around and we want to capitalise on that,” eMedia founder and CEO Tyrone Wilson said, referencing data from Cisco's Visual Networking Index.

Wilson is president of iCreate.

The technology enthusiast argued that the programme is ideal for people new to the field as well as those already exposed to various media-based platforms but who require some amount of support to improve their talent.

“These certificates give you the skill sets to achieve a few things. If you do not currently play in a creative space, you will get the skills set to know how to. Someone leaving the video programme will know how to shoot and edit a video, or work as producer, director, or editor on an introductory level. For more advanced students, the programme gives them an opportunity to compile professional portfolios as well as assistance with employment or where starting a business is concerned,” Wilson said.

He told Career and Education that the field-driven approach at iCreate stimulates creative thinking among students and is in line with the practical demands of the real world, which makes it superior to similar programmes being offered in the island.

“We focus on training that supports the creative and technical aspects of learning. So, in addition to the regular classes and practical sections, we have done a bit more. Instead of just being in class learning from the instructors and guest presenters, we invite creatives from a number of companies; people who have field experience. So people who have experience working with people like Usain Bolt and organisations such as Bacchanal, and Jamaica Cultural Development Commission would get a better understanding of the industry. We have also done our common core workshops such as design thinking, that's where the director sets up activities where they can learn about the design process,” he said.

In addition to the interactive sessions with creatives, the students of cohort one were able to work with one of Wilson's high-profile international clients.

“We have a project with BBC [ British Broadcasting Corporation] where annually they come to Jamaica for Reggae Month and we [eMedia] actually produce the video content for them. So, of course, we have the responsibility for capturing different performances with reggae artistes live and in studio. This year, we were permitted to take a bigger video cast and so our video production students were able to work with acts such as Beenie Man and Queen Ifrica alongside veteran professionals from BBC, who in fact were impressed with the creative ideas of our students. One student was able to work on a Usain Bolt set, and there were other small projects,” Wilson shared.

He wasn't the only one obviously satisfied with the activities over the three-month period.

“It was more than you could ask for,” animation student Sean Wong told Career and Education. The programme is very student-centred, very interactive and we know that our opinions have value. As students who require use of computers and other expensive pieces of technologies and software to aid our learning the team of directors here made it possible. I am happy I enrolled.”

His colleague, Jonathan Garth, a Digital production student who was able to land a job in the field while still enrolled at iCreate also had good things to say about the programme.

“Here, you're exposed to different elements of film production. Students get to go out in the field and rub shoulders with existing professionals. For example, I was able to be on a Sly and Robbie music video shoot that featured other musicians as well. When you come here you just need to know how far you want to go; what you want to achieve,” Garth said.

iCreate's second cohort of students started classes on April 24.

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