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New Media Makers Now on The Loose

Our 10 weeks in the Digital Content Production Program have flown by as we delved into an exciting mix of training in all aspects of digital storytelling. The students in the course all agree it has been a deeply valuable learning experience that has prepared us for work in digital content production.

Highlights of the course included assistance from Class Mentors such as Sassy Mohen -- filmmaker, artist and video editor extraordinaire -- who was on hand to help guide us throughout much of the program. Photographer Debra Snell, an award-winning TV journalist, shared her technical and reporting knowhow in covering news topics. Now with her lens focused on families and their newborn babies, she also revealed her techniques in capturing powerful photography portraits. Cynthia Perez, with the organization Families in Schools, shared her deep knowledge of social media campaigns. And Essi Auguste Virtanen wowed us with her remarkable knowledge of graphics and creative techniques in building websites using graphic design software.

Our three major assignments proved to be excellent hands-on opportunities for learning techniques to shoot and edit digital content, as well as team cooperation. The first two assignments had us divide into pairs or groups. Our final assignment required us to produce from start to finish a completed two to three-minute video.

Guiding us throughout was our intrepid Senior Instructor Victor Abalos, whose boundless energy and enthusiasm ignited our creativity and determination to successfully dive into unknown digital territory.

“I’ve really enjoyed the course and learned a lot,” says student Lucia Ortega, a high school chemistry teacher. “As a young person in my 20s, I had already learned how to do a lot of the technical side of video production before taking the class. What made me want to take the class was Victor. He has the experience. Every week we’d come back from shooting and editing and he was there to guide me in the right direction with the storytelling part. This is a much more effective way of learning than online.”

Student John Nilsson, in his early 70s, says he was looking to expand his video production skills, and now feels very comfortable about editing video. “I probably would never have gotten to this point without this class.” He adds, “What Victor is presenting is something that I sense is very usable and very marketable in today’s visually-oriented environment. It’s something that I can use to good advantage in my work as a real estate broker.”

“I found Victor to be a great coach,” says student Vivien Hao who found the technical aspects challenging. “He was very positive when he could legitimately compliment us, and very helpful in his constructive criticism. He was empathetic.” She found the course particularly helpful for her public relations work. “Besides still photography, I can now add video production to my client services with a quick turn around that is more time efficient and cost effective.”

Student Sean Jones, a talent agency representative says, “It was fun to learn how to use new software, new equipment, and new cameras. Also how to take photos and video, and how to edit video.” He adds, “Victor was a very good instructor, especially how he would stress the importance of storytelling. He would say it’s not just about making and editing videos. It’s about telling stories. That you always first need to have a story even before you go out to shoot.”

“The course has really helped me with my nonprofit,” says Peter Rojas. “I can now actually go out and take photos and video without relying on someone else to do it.” With increased content he’s now able to increase marketing. “Looking at the time we live in, if we’re not putting content out there through social media no one is going to care. I want and need to showcase the hard work my board, and our staff and volunteers are doing.”

Assistant instructor Sassy Mohen says, “I think the class went really well. It was cool as a teacher watching everyone learn everything. To grow, and find their niche. With media making in general there’s so much in this huge umbrella. You try different things to find the part of it that you like to do.” She adds, “I love working with Victor. He’s so nice, and so knowledgeable.”

The Digital Content Producer program is offered through Sabio, the premier coding bootcamp in the country.

Victor Abalos is a veteran digital content production professional with more than 30 years experience as a network television producer/director, multi-media journalist and recently, strategic communications consultant. In addition to Senior Instructor for Sabio he is Director of Communications for The Chicago School of Professional Psychology.

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