Introducing Brooklyn high schoolers to VR at the BRIC Teen Media Careers Day
7 February 2020
Students considering a career in media visited BRIC Arts & Media Center for the "BRIC Teen Media Careers Day". Overview Collective was invited as an example of an immersive media production agency. We spoke with the students and showcased our VR film, "Pearls of New York" and the 360° camera we used to record the experience. Following this, Chief Creative Officer and Co-Founder, Tarik Mohamed, imparted his knowledge on an interdisciplinary panel, highlighting his experience working in media and in starting immersive media production in 2014.
About 80 students and their teachers attended the summit. Many of the young people, aged 15-18 had had limited exposure to VR. Although none of them had heard of the Billion Oyster Project, many were wowed at both the tech and the story of regenerative ocean conservation in their backyards. Several asked how they could get more involved in the topic.
The panel featured professionals with experience working in immersive and traditional filmmaking, sound design, performative arts, hair and makeup, and corporate social responsibility and partnerships. Although they came from different backgrounds, many echoed and emphasized the advice that was given.
This advice included:
- "Follow your dreams" - True passion is obvious. If you work as hard as you can to reach your dreams, people will notice.
- "YouTube is your friend" - Online courses can be very helpful to teach you different aspects of the business. Try to learn as much as possible whenever you can.
- "Juice the Youth" - Don't be afraid to ask for help. People have a soft spot for young people, and there are also many opportunities such as grants, internships or other financial supportive programs. Network and be open and inquisitive to mentors and professional acquaintances - many leads can be helpful as you start off your career, and even later. - "Slide into DMs" - social media is a powerful tool that can equalize access to potential employers, mentors, or other collaborators. Get active, get noticed, and potentially try to connect through messaging.
- "Prepare for the Hustle" - media is a competitive industry. It doesn't always pay well, and you may need to work additional jobs, or draw upon other support structures while you're working towards your dream.
It was telling that several of the questions asked in follow up were regarding finances, including the upbringing of the panelists and how that might have allowed them to enter the media workforce. Another question asked the panels advice on whether it was important to spend the finances on going to college.
The panelists spoke candidly about their own background and the enabling factors that allowed them to succeed - many of which are mentioned above. While acknowledging privilege, the general consensus was that college provides structure and a public validation that is important to employers, even though a lot can be learnt in other ways.
BRIC's arts and media program is a great example of that! They have a plethora of arts and media classes that are free or low cost. After taking the initial orientation, and associated course - participants can use the BRIC media facilities at no cost. The network also shares many calls for support from fellow artists, which are great opportunities for people to get involved and practice their new skills.