Taylor Shold: Tell us a little about yourself. Who are you and what do you do?
Cory Sellar: I’m a Radio and Television graduate from the Class of 2017 at NAIT. I was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta. I got the TV bug when I stepped foot into the control room of the Shaw TV Edmonton studio during a live phone in talk show where my dad was directing and producing. Seeing him take control of the show and all of its components, it fascinated me, and it was that kind of behind-the-scenes production and content that I knew I wanted to do. Since then, I’ve come to appreciate the importance of storytelling and the emotions behind it to help captivate an audience. Social media is a growing entity everywhere you look, whether you like it or not. I am one of those people who love it and embrace it with all of its changes (useful or useless). I just recently accepted a full-time job offer with Shaw TV Prince George in BC. In my role as Community Access Producer, I help facilitate broadcast equipment to interested locals along with creating local community content. As a Producer, I’m also building relationships with these people I meet and who are interested in making engaging content.
Taylor: Networking is a big part of SMG, how has that helped your young career thus far?
Cory: Networking has become valuable in building and strengthening the relationships I’ve established with people and some have happened by accident. I attended a local meetup where we had Kelly Hoey speak to us about networking and we all received a copy of her new book, Build Your Dream Network. I would go on to meet someone who introduced me to one person that I had coffee with and that person introduced me to two more people. Between those two people I met a couple more people for coffee. From that entire experience, I never got a job offer from any of them, but I did meet them. By following up with them, I kept that relationship going. Despite no job prospects, I did get some inspiration to work on some tech stories for my Medium blog by profiling some of these local startups and the movers and shakers behind them. Networking is all about patience and knowing that it’s rewarding in the end to know more people that relate to your industry, because you want them to remember you.
Taylor: You were pretty determined to land a job in TV right out of school and you did that pretty quickly. What steps did you take to do that?
Cory: It was pretty simple really. I got into a routine where I was constantly checking job boards, career pages directly on the company websites and turning on notifications for new postings on LinkedIn, etc. Now because my girlfriend was moving to Ottawa for her Masters, I was applying for work in Alberta, Saskatchewan, the Ottawa-area and parts of BC. I had come to know a couple of people who had contacts out in Ottawa, but sadly nothing resulted from that. A position for Shaw TV was available in Kelowna and so I applied. During my interview, I was asked if I’d be interested in going to the Prince George station, should I not get the Kelowna position. Naturally, I said yes, because as a go-getter wanting to enter the industry, I would accept any opportunity to get my foot in the door.
Taylor: Standing out is key in this business, how did you separate yourself from the crowd to land your job at Shaw TV?
Cory: I’ve always been adamant to stand out amongst my peers to show that I like to do things different and I bring my true passion with it. I started with building up my volunteer hours at Shaw TV before receiving the phone call from my program chair telling me I was in the program. That alone helped my resume right from the beginning. When the planning for my practicum came, Shaw TV was on my radar for potential places to go to. After that, my resume was filled with Shaw TV experience at different capacities. My go-getter attitude when it came to using and learning about social media was another crucial component. It’s all about adapting and social media is a key factor in that adapting for the media industry. Storytelling is done simply by 140 characters or less, a photo with a unique filter or a live video with no post production required. By accepting that and doing it, you’re a step above everyone else.
Taylor: Finally, what advice would you give to others trying to land their first TV or media job?
Cory: Volunteer for anything relating to media, whether that’s a local video production house or digital marketing firm – VOLUNTEER! Yes, you’re working for free, but you’re improving your skills, you’re putting yourself out there with professionals from the industry who might start to take notice and call you back for more future projects. By doing so, you’re networking, therefore you stand out amongst your peers. No matter what some people might think or say, vertical video is actually acceptable now. Don’t believe me? I’d like you to meet Snapchat and Instagram Stories! The Facebook and Messenger ones don’t count, let’s move on. Start doing! If it’s a podcast, vlog, blog or whatever, do it and keep doing it. Making your own original content before you’ve even stepped into the classroom or after you’ve walked the stage at Convocation, you’re getting your name out there with what you’re making. Everything you do, needs to tell a story from beginning to end. Through the digital world, I’ve stumbled on and researched different tools and resources to help enhance my storytelling. If you want to stand out, your stories need to grab the viewer in that first five to 10 seconds.
You can find Cory on Twitter @iSellar
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