Tavien Gillard originally began his time at IUPUI in the Liberal Arts program pursuing Journalism and now is majoring in Media Arts and Sciences with a concentration in Video Production and Sound Design. The now senior made his decision after talking with friends. “I chose Video Production because I believe film is the ultimate artform. It’s an intimate union of composition, lighting, blocking, everything. My framing is my canvas and the lighting is my brushstroke. It is also one of the most challenging artforms because you need to master people. I could talk all day about the work. Maximum escapism. Visceral. Surreal. I want to push the medium farther,” Gillard says.
While attending school, the RJE Knoll Scholar also works as a Media & Branding Specialist for Faith Hope & Love (FHL) Community, a catalyst for change through the engagement of community relationships. A big focus of FHL is on the development of Missional Neighborhood Centers, places where food pantries are developed so that individuals can receive faith based support as well as food. FHL is always about doing more than bags of food,” he says. As a Media & Branding Specialist, Gillard works primarily as a Documentarian. He ensures that the outreach work is captured—that video interviews, their large events, and other initiatives that FHL hosts are documented.
A typical day for Gillard at Faith Hope & Love involves Media Specialists running around with cameras capturing another Food Pantry opening, interviews with neighborhood figures, or recording an event, such as their annual Golf Classic. The remainder of the week’s hours are spent in the FHL “war room” planning their next media release in a meeting or at home “in front of the warm glow of the computer monitor, Premiere Pro chugging away.”
Gillard found his internship on what was the Jag Jobs (now Handshake) website. The listing posted asked for someone who was experienced with video content development, capable of working independently, could travel, and work in a team setting. He believes he got this position because of his resume, which talked about places that he has traveled to (foreign countries) , a previous job position that he had as a Communications Assistant, and his ability and willingness to grow as an intern.
“Career-wise, my work with FHL has been sort of like a benevolent video game passive. I believe that due to my work with Faith Hope & Love, I’ve been consistently building up a portfolio, consistently building connections, consistently growing my workplace and communication skills, and consistently learning how to balance workloads between both school and work, which may prove instrumental later on in my career,” he says.
Gillard says he has also met plenty of important individuals including politicians and other community leaders, and their engagements have aided him in solidifying relationships with important people in Indianapolis. He says, “I don’t care what position level you’re at, everyone should be trying to solidify more relationships. I don’t mean connections; like genuine relationships with individuals that can further you as a person.”
After graduating, Gillard plans on taking a breather for at least a few months, travel a bit, maybe move from Indiana. After that he plans to seek contract work or other employment. “I’ll worry about my plans for graduating when it gets closer. I don’t know what the beast looks like yet so I can’t plan to fight it. I really hope to get involved in the art scene more,” he says.
“I believe that there’s a huge narrative about job security, especially if you’re pursuing something art-related,” Gillard says. “There’s a huge narrative about how replaceable you are in the grand scheme of the industry’s engine. I’ve met plenty of students and have plenty of friends who are terrified of not being employed after working so hard to get a degree. I’ve been in class with professors that reinforce that very fear.”
Gillard’s advice to other students is that if you’re looking for an internship, you need to set standards for yourself. You shouldn’t take a position that doesn’t pay you enough or work in an environment that isn’t what you want because you feel like you need to due to that fear. Bottom line is, you don’t.
“There is a position waiting on you either now or in the near future that can put you on your own personal path to success. People should refine their skills and seize the opportunity as soon as it presents itself. If it’s not here yet, work on developing your confidence and your portfolio. Refine your vocabulary because employers love big words and people that seem sure of themselves. Walk into that interview with the knowledge that you will be okay if you don’t get the internship.”