Student Spotlight: Lee Saunders
Major: Motion Picture/Television
Lee Saunders was working in computer support for a Fortune 500 company when his division was sold to another company.
Unfortunately, he was not part of that sale. As Saunders started looking for another job, he thought about what he liked about the previous position and focused on two aspects: the people and the freedom.
"It wasn’t the work that I enjoyed. It was the flexibility -- I was in Lisle, my boss worked in Toronto, and the other people on my team worked in Princeton, New Jersey. So I decided to change careers and find a new line of work."
Saunders was browsing the College of DuPage web site when he came across the Motion Picture/TV program (then called Multimedia Arts).
"What caught my eye was the statement that the program was about 21st century storytelling," he said. "I love to tell stories. People ask to hear my stories. So, the thought of a program that would teach me how to tell captivating stories sounded like a perfect fit."
He enjoyed working on projects in a studio environment and taking courses in editing, writing and animation. One class broke the students into teams to create a promotional video for a non-profit organization, which included developing the initial concept, scripting, shooting, editing and final delivery. Other courses allowed him to create his own short film as well as a documentary.
Since graduating with his Associate in Applied Science degree, Saunders worked at a small ad agency creating nationally broadcast long-form commercials, commonly known as infomercials. He was the lead editor, did most of the camera work and helped with scripts. After more than six years, he and another editor from the agency left to open their own full-service production company called Ravenspring Creative.
"I would love to see Ravenspring Creative grow into a respected boutique production company known for finding engaging and creative ways to tell our clients’ stories. I would love the business to provide opportunities to create our own short films," he said.
Saunders appreciates all that he learned at College of DuPage. The small classes and access to the instructors allowed for personal and career guidance. The feedback on projects, advice on outlets for his work and hearing the stories of his instructors' careers helped shape how he approaches his work.
"It is a challenge getting started in this field," he said. "The tools to create videos are amazing and accessible now, and the channels to show your work are there. But it isn’t just about making videos. It is about making great videos, and that is a craft you learn and you hone.
"The COD program provides the tools and knowledge to get started. If you listen and put in the effort to learn, you will have a solid foundation to start. The faculty will teach you the tools and help you find your voice. And you will learn how to make great work.
"This is a field that is about collaboration. Get to know the other people in the program. Work with them. Help each other. Learn to give and receive constructive critiques to help everyone do better work. Mainly, I have learned the importance of networking. All the opportunities I’ve received came from people I know. The people you help today could easily be the ones helping you get a start after graduation."
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