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Alumni Spotlight

Talia Wilson

I started at CC in Summer 1998, take a couple distance courses to alleviate the stuck-at-home-doing-nothing feeling after having my fifth knee surgery a week after graduating high school. That fall, I started in the Computer Science program, unaware that it was primarily coding games. Also that quarter, I began writing articles for the blue&gold and working in the box office in Corbet Hall. After falling and breaking my wrist in the box office that winter, I switched to journalism and studied under T.R. Gratz. I also took several photography classes from Carl Cook. It was during this time that I came up with the idea of writing and directing movies. Fall 1999, I took a full-time job at the Department of Labor and Industries, working there for a year, while taking evening courses and editing the 2000 edition of Beyond Parallax. I returned as a full-time student Winter 2001 and finished the credits needed for my AA. As I was planning to transfer to the University of Oregon, I need one year of college-level foreign language, so I took a year of German, along with Creative Writing and community-education Photography and music courses. My last year, I was enrolled in the Computer Network Technician program as well; Spring 2002, my last quarter, I was enrolled for 22 credits! (I don’t recommend that unless absolutely necessary; it was a rough quarter.)

 

After graduation, I temped for my lawyer (William Boehm, now retired) and cleaned the adjoining law offices of Hillier & Scheibmeier. Fall 2002 found me enrolled at the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism & Communication. While at Oregon, I also took several film courses and worked as a copy editor for the Oregon Daily Emerald. Following Summer 2003, I was no longer able to afford the out-of-state tuition, so I transferred to The Evergreen State College. While there, I took the Media Rhetoric program, the last quarter being an independent program called Making a Short Feature Film, for which I wrote, directed, edited, and starred in a short parody film. About six months after graduating TESC, I went to work at the Attorney General’s Office as a Legal Secretary 1, working there four years. While there, I used my writing skills to draft legal documents and improve research techniques. I also served on the agency’s Sustainability Committee, first as the secretary (taking minutes, etc) and then as co-chair.

 

In 2009, I found myself unemployed and looking for something new to do with my life. I had started an online master’s degree program with the University of Phoenix the previous year, so I was in the final months of that when I reconnected with my now-husband. In September 2009, I moved to Victoria, BC on a visitor’s visa, so I was not legally allowed to work until I was granted permanent residency. During that time, I self-taught myself video editing and began filming weddings as part of my husband’s DJ business. That and my photo-journalism background from CC gave me the foundation to accept an offer to help film a television show in 2016. That fall, I began volunteering with Shaw TV Victoria (now Shaw Spotlight), a community television station. I began primarily on camera, then eventually learned audio, graphics, switching, editing, and directing. Now, I work on two bi-weekly studio shows, one of which I edit, and also help out with big mobile productions. I’ve worked on everything from studio talk shows to sporting events (soccer, curling, roller derby, MMA fighting, and hockey) to premier events like the Governor General’s awards and opening ceremonies for the BC Summer Games. In addition, I freelance for HockeyTV, filming prep hockey games that are broadcast over the internet. I’ve also temped with ElectionsBC, working the last two provincial elections. I still help my husband with his wedding DJ and karaoke business, shooting promos and managing his social media presence. While public television is not where I expected to end up, I love the work I do and the people I get to work with. My only regret during my time at CC is that I didn’t take any Radio/TV courses from Wade Fisher; I’m sure I really would have enjoyed those.

 

I’m not great at giving advice, but the best thing I can think of is: don’t be afraid to ask for what you want. At the time, I honestly thought I would work in journalism after college. Back then, journalism and Radio/TV were separate programs, so I only took print journalism courses, when I would’ve benefited from Radio/TV as well. Had I been more proactive, I may have been able to create an individualized program that rounded out my skills. So, don’t be afraid to ask.

 

Furthermore, don’t be afraid to do things differently. We all have varying degrees of comfort and skill, so it’s silly that so many people believe there are set ways to do things. Step outside your comfort zone absolutely, but if a way of doing something works for you, then stick to your guns. When I first started taking photos as a kid, I used an instamatic 110 film camera, followed by a Polaroid, before I picked up the Minolta XG-M. I used that primarily until I acquired my first DSLR in 2008. I’m now on my fourth DSLR, though I don’t shoot as often as I used to. Also, with cell phone cameras improving all the time, most of what I shoot is on my phone—although I recently switched to Android because their camera app gives me more control over photo settings. I don’t begrudge anyone on what they use to shoot. Some phones shoot better video than the studio cameras we use. In short, there’s no right or wrong way to express your creativity.

 

Also, take an on-campus job over an off-campus one; it doesn’t even need to be connected to your area of study. I absolutely loved working in the box office. The drama students were a fun bunch to interact with and made the work very rewarding.