(feature photo by Meg Leigh of Meg Leigh Photography, used with permission)
In late 2018, then Media Arts and Science (MAS) graduate student Clark Knittle was looking for a thesis project to complete his degree. At the same time, then Indianapolis Motor Speedway (IMS) events director Kirk Dooley needed media content for a new program, which he now directs full-time, aptly named Resilience Racing.
A chance meeting brought the two of them together, in what Knittle described as “pretty much the perfect situation for both of us.” Soon after, Knittle began planning, creating, executing ninety percent of the media strategy for the team’s first event.
The Resilience Racing program was designed for and by a team of disabled veterans, who train to drive specially equipped cars. Knittle, a self-professed motor racing fan, shot and edited video, created content for social media, and produced a short documentary about the team’s first race event.
“I learned a great deal from my experience with Resilience. I had to relearn things I thought I knew and learned an incredible amount overall. I learned how fast-paced shooting is for dynamic events like a race. I learned a little bit about social media strategy. And I learned how to shoot documentaries—up until then I had only created 60 to 90 second videos,” Knittle said.
Knittle earned a B.S. in Telecommunications from Ball State in 2010 and was working as a Markets Editor for Tourdesign Creative services in Carmel, putting together television commercials for touring musical artists like Beyonce, Jay-Z, Maroon 5, and Usher, when he decided to return to IUPUI for his master’s degree.
Knittle said he chose the master’s program in MAS at the School of Informatics and Computing because it was different than what was being offered at other universities in the state. “It still had a focus on producing content, but it was more focused on diving deeper into the subjects of design, and the design process. The location and time of the classes was also convenient, because I live on the north-east side of Indy, and I was working full time while getting my degree,” he said.
MAS graduate program co-director Joseph Defazio says the degree was designed with working adults in mind and with the help of industry leaders. “Clark is the type of student that propels that MAS Graduate Program to success. He exemplifies the type of student who navigated his graduate degree using professional and industry experience. The quality of his work and academic achievements are stellar,” Defazio said.
Knittle started out focused on more advanced technology like Virtual and Augmented reality, but after a particular project in one of his classes, he changed focus to video production. “I chose to switch to video production because I already have a background in it, and I wanted to advance my skill set further. I also was able to find a subject that I wanted to cover,” he said.
Knittle offered this advice to others working in the field: If you’re looking to advance your skills, or take a different direction in media while taking a more in depth look at the process of design in general, this is an excellent program. “The program is top notch, the professors are actively involved in helping you succeed in your goals for school, and for your future career,” Knittle said. “In every class they’ve asked at least once, what do you want to do when you graduate, and where do you want to end up?”