With an increase interest in video production and media careers, area schools are expanding programs to prepare students for a highly-competitive field.

Those leaving college to enter the media field in Grayson County will find a tight, competitive jobs market according to several in the industry.

Workforce Solutions Texoma Executive Director Janie Bates said there aren't a large number of jobs in the media field in the area outside a few specialty firms. The largest sector of jobs are in the radio, television and the news-media business. Bates said RadioVision is in Denison as well as a number of school districts, city governments and other companies that employ in-house marketing people who often do all the video and social media work for those employers.

Bates said while the jobs are scarce and highly competitive, they are out there. She also said the media jobs in this area tend to pay lower wages than their counterparts in other parts of the country. Not just for entry-level positions, Bates said the trend continues even when you get into the more specialized technical positions.

“We are looking at a five-year forecast in Grayson County of media jobs to be less than one percent,” Bates said. “What I see there is just not that many employers that specialize in that field are in our area. We know there are school districts and cities who have media people. Those are smaller opportunities.”

Bates said she wouldn't turn someone away from the field entirely though.

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“I would say if that is something you are totally passionate about and always wanted to do, go for it,” she said. But, you have to know you will have to move where the jobs are.”

Or, creating the job for yourself is always an option.

Nate Essin, founder of Undaunted Agency, is a graduate of Austin College who started his own marketing agency that utilizes video production, graphic design and photography along with emerging technologies such as virtual reality and augmented reality to produce marketing products for clients in the area. .

Essin started out in 3D graphics which helped spark his interest in storytelling.

“It showed me the importance of planning every detail before you start a project,” Essin said. “Now if we are doing motion graphics for social media posts or lower thirds in videos, all that is stuff I am doing based on my experience in 3D and 2D animation.”

His advice for a budding student looking to get into the media field is to just do it.

“I would tell any kid who has an interest in any type of art to fully explore it,” Essin said. “If it is something you are truly passionate about opportunities will open up to you. You don't have to be a doctor to be successful. If you really want to be creative give it everything you have and you will definitely see results.”

Essin is from Sherman and attended Sherman High School before attending Austin College. He left to get experience and returned to the area to start his own business. He said that's the way to get into the field here.

“The best thing would be to leave Sherman,” Essin said. “Go to the Metroplex or the West Coast. If you want to stay here. you will have to hustle.”

Lindsey Manley also runs an advertising agency in the area called CBC Creative. Her agency works with clients to produce a wide range of media works, including audio and video productions.

Her goal was to bring the big city agency culture to smaller Sherman.

“My goal is to allow people who want to pursue a career in media, and especially advertising, they don't have to travel to Dallas,” Manley said. “They can live here and work here. I started out in advertising for a big agency in Dallas. I lived in the Metroplex. I had plenty of agencies to choose from. We have two kids and moved away from the Dallas area. When I was ready to go back to work I couldn't image driving to downtown Dallas every day while living in Sherman.”

She purchased the existing agency as a way to stay here local while continuing to do the work she loves.

“I am from a small town. Sherman is the perfect fit for me,” Manley said. “Having a career here is a major bonus. There are options if you are considering a media career. We are not a large agency but we do hope to expand over the years. We do have a need for graphic designers , video editors, content producers. I get resumes every month of people looking for something. Photography is a great thing for people to pursue. Most agencies need photographers whether it is lifestyle or product photography. A lot of companies need graphic design people.”

Manley echoed Essin's sentiments on how there are opportunities but they require someone to put in the effort. Manley said she works with outside firms of all sizes from individuals who do it all to firms with small teams.

“My recommendation would be if you are looking for a career reach out to agencies,” Manley said. “You get to work as a team. If that is not an option, if there is no availability then look at larger companies that need marketing people. If people who have that skill set look hard enough they can find work. If you can do photography and graphic design that can take you a lot further.”

Austin College is one site that prepares students for a media production career, and the college offers a program in media studies as well as courses in video game design and an internship devoted to media production.

Nick Chaviers is a student who majors in media studies and minors in creative writing at Austin College. His career goal is to work in video production.

“I have been doing media production since high school,” Chaviers said. “I was on my schools media production team. We did a weekly newscast there. I got a feel for production and editing. Now I get to fine tune those skills while working with other people who have the same interests as me.”

Chaviers is one of a small number of students who participate in the college's media internship. Those students create promotional material for the college by filming the events that happen on campus and then putting together short videos that go to the college's website and social media accounts.