Welcome to the World of Production: Advice for Recent Graduates
May 18, 2018
By Michelle Maslanka • Producer

Around this time, many students are graduating and embarking on their first “real world” jobs, hopefully putting that fancy new degree to good use! This can be an exciting, but also nerve-wracking time. And for those entering the production industry, we get it; we were there too! So, we have compiled a few words of wisdom (and throwback photos) for you.


Hunter Kallenbach, Senior Editor

University of Tampa, Class of 2008, B.S. Communication

DePaul University, Class of 2012, M.S. Digital Cinema

“The best advice I can give to a recent graduate about the production industry is to treat every job with importance and to keep a good attitude. If people see that you are a hard worker, and they enjoy working with you, they will want you on their next shoot. Reputation goes a long way in this industry and can be the key to opening doors and getting new opportunities. This is a business full of talented people, so leave your ego at home. Show up to every set with a positive attitude and do your best work  and you will find more and better opportunities in your future.”


Brian Ernst, Director

DePaul University, Class of 2012, B.A. Digital Cinema

“The most valuable thing you'll take away from your time at school is your network. Make friends and keep making things with them. In terms of personal growth, you need to ignore everything your professors told you about specializing in one area. THIS WILL NOT GET YOU WORK!!! I firmly believe the only reason I have ever received a job in this industry is because I was able to market myself with many specialties. I'm a shooter/editor, yes, but I also know After Effects, color grading and audio mixing. The most common work you'll find after graduation, especially in the Chicago area, is corporate work. A lot of one-man/woman-banding happens in this field and the more work you are able to take on independently makes you more valuable as a freelancer and eventually as an employee.”


Michelle Maslanka, Producer

Illinois State University, Class of 2014, B.S. Mass Media - Television Production

“My advice - take out the garbage. I don’t necessarily mean this literally (though your first job may very well require you to do so), I mean this figuratively in regards to how little things can make a big difference. During my first internship at a Chicago production house, one of my responsibilities was, in fact, to take out the garbage. Not a glorious job by any means, but I did it. And all the other menial tasks I was assigned. But this quickly proved my willingness to work hard and diligently, and soon, people took notice. I was given more responsibilities and more opportunities to be on set. Do the little things well, and big things will come."


Remember, everyone needs to start somewhere. Take advantage of opportunities to meet new people, work hard, and strengthen your skill set.  Congratulations, graduates. Now, go get started!