Isak Kotecki is a 3rd semester CWP major at Berklee College of Music. He is a singer/songwriter, composer, and filmmaker from Austin, Texas.
About two weeks into my 3rd semester here at Berklee, I received an oh-so-sweet email. It was a beautiful, flickering light in a daunting sea of darkness. A sea of darkness filled with phone-a-thon job offers and ramen budget dinners. A dark abyss that could only be illuminated by the beacon of hope that is, the Digital Learning Department (DLD).
I have been looking for a work study position at Berklee since my 1st semester, but my 18-year-old-I’m-an-artist pride was searching for just the right position. When I received the offer for Multimedia Audio Assistant from the DLD, the top of the message read “this e-mail is only intended for the student it was sent to, do not forward these job referrals onto other students.” I knew it had to be a top secret job of ultra-awesomeness (which I would later find out to be true). The job description included that they were looking for a student with strong computer skills and involvement in audio and visual media. Being a CWP major and having recently started directing/filming a series of live musical sessions, my 19-year-old-I’m-an-artist pride was radiating. I sent in my resume and was asked to come in for an interview soon after. I sat down with Sharon Lynch (Director of Media Development) and Nazli Rex (Office/Project Coordinator) who both were so warm and friendly upon meeting me. After all the official questions were asked, I was already getting a feeling that I would fit in well at the DLD. To top it off, as we were wrapping up, they asked me if I was a cat person (which I have four of back home). I knew it was right. I received an email the next day with the official job offer.
In my short time working with the DLD team, I have learned so much. The first video shoot I worked on was for a music therapy clinic. It involved a panel of six of the top neuroscientists available to the scientific community. Yeah, kind of a big deal. Myself and fellow peer and co-worker, Will Ponturo, were responsible for recording the audio of the panel as discreetly as possible. This responsibility was slightly nerve-racking, but it was also refreshing. Being solely responsible for the audio of such an important shoot instilled a new found confidence within myself. Under the watchful wing of my veteran, 9th semester compadre Will, we set the levels for the audio, and boy, we set them well. Maverick and Goose ain’t got anything on us.
The second shoot I worked on was for a series of BTOT (Berklee Teachers on Teaching) interviews, where I was responsible for using wireless LAV mics to capture the audio of various Berklee teachers. I used the H6 field recorder, and I was able to contain my entire recording set up to a small chair in the corner of the room. Going on these various shoots really forced me to learn fast and think on my feet to do whatever was needed to get the best possible results. The skills I have learned through the DLD will surely stick with me throughout my professional career.
As time went on I did various tasks such as working on online courses, researching media and assets, and assisting on more video shoots. Everyday was a new experience and a new journey, some better than others, but everyday I had to go home and remind myself I actually get paid for what I do. The DLD is a team of professional, talented, fun, kooky, and all around good people. I’m sad to have to be leaving so soon because of my plans to study in Valencia, Spain for my 4th semester, but I know I have so much to take away from this wonderful job. I met many amazing people, I learned many new skills within running live audio, preparing camera gear, and working with text editing and media installation. Most importantly, I got really good at carrying two tripod bags, two camera bags, and an audio bag all at once. That’s a real skill. Keep doing what you do DLD, cause you are doing it right.
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