Major: Motion Picture/TV
From an early age, Jason O’Malley has been fascinated with using videos for storytelling.
“I initially gravitated toward video editing because it was like assembling pieces of a puzzle and putting all the correct elements in order to make the story work,” he said. “The other benefit with video editing is that you can practice and improve your skills on your own time and are not dependent on organizing a group of camera operators, directors and producers whenever you want to try something new.”
College of DuPage was an obvious choice for O’Malley. His parents were alumni, he could transfer 15 credit hours he took in high school through the Technology Center of DuPage (TCD) media program, and he knew COD had an excellent transfer agreement with Columbia College Chicago.
“COD was a much more convenient and affordable option for my first two years,” he said. “Because Columbia has such a well-defined transfer program with COD, I designed my course load to match the maximum number of credit hours from COD to count toward my Bachelor of Arts degree in Television Production.”
While at COD, O’Malley worked as a student aide in the Multimedia Services (MMS) department, which handles the media production needs of the College. He gained hands-on skills as a video editor, camera operator and producer while learning from industry professionals. The position was also flexible and compatible with his class schedule.
“This job was like a dream come true. It was a role within a professional television production studio less than five minutes from my home,” he said. “This real-world, hands-on professional experience interweaved with my college class schedule was the best situation I could have hoped for and set me on the path to where I am today. I would especially like to thank Sal Garcia, Kevin Willman, Jim Nocera, Paul Thompson, Elmir Husetovic, Ed Kuhs, Jim Knightwright, Greg Joyner, Alfredo Castil, David Gorski and all the others at MMS who taught me so many lifelong skills. This built upon the video-making skills I learned during my time at Glenbard South High School in both the video department run by Stephanie Wallace and the media program at TCD run by Jeff Heise.”
I feel very lucky that COD accelerated me into my professional career with both traditional education and on-the-job experience.
After transferring and earning his bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago, O’Malley immediately began putting his skills to use. He started an internship at Current TV, a startup cable channel co-founded by former Vice President Al Gore. After the internship, he was hired for Current TV’s topical comedy show, infoMania. He held the job titles of production assistant, associate producer, segment producer and producer/editor, and he won a Webby award for his work on the Viral Video Film School series.
While at infoMania, he worked with Doug Karo, another fellow COD alumni. When Karo went back to work at the Conan O’Brien show on TBS, he let O’Malley know about a part-time assistant video editor position open on the burgeoning Team Coco Digital team. O’Malley was hired for that job which, over the next eight years, evolved into a full-time assistant editor, video editor, post-production supervisor, new technology initiatives and lead solutions architect.
“This was a wonderful experience where I was able to be a part of the behind-the-scenes of a daily talk show, and our digital team won two Primetime Emmy Awards,” he said. “I also learned and utilized Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud computing for media workflows, including an ambitious project to digitize all 2,725 episodes of ‘Late Night with Conan O’Brien’ and store them in the AWS cloud.”
During the pandemic, O’Malley joined former colleagues to start a new virtual production department for Media.Monks, a global advertising and production company that uses AWS cloud virtual computers. This allowed them to produce live events from the safety of their living rooms. Most recently, he became the senior partner solutions architect at AWS, where he advises and consults a global systems integrator on media and sustainability projects.
“My next career goal is to harness my media and technology experience to refactor workflows and operations to become more sustainable through more efficient technologies, such as cloud computing,” he said.
O’Malley would recommend COD to any students looking for a solid foundation for their careers.
“If you are looking at a certificate, an associate degree or an eventual transfer to another school, make sure to consider the courses and programs at COD to see how they can factor into your bigger journey,” he said. “I feel very lucky that COD accelerated me into my professional career with both traditional education and on-the-job experience and did so in an affordable way that gave me increased flexibility after graduation.”
Learn more about the Motion Picture/TV program at College of DuPage