Alumni Profile: Zak Pauls, Motion Graphics Artist at What’s Next Media

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At Seattle Film Institute, our students create films and other digital stories in a number of different media. Our students benefit from a hands on education across the film industry and beyond, in order to succeed in the post-graduation. Today, we’re spotlighting one of our Alumni, Zak Pauls who graduated in 2014 with a Motion Graphics Certification. He is currently  working for What’s Next Media as a Motion Graphics Artist and Graphic Designer. Here are some of his thoughts on working in the field of motion graphics, and how SFI helped him get there.

Why did you choose to attend SFI?

I chose the SFI Motion Graphics Certification program because of it's crash-course structure. I had been working with video and graphics in the news industry and wanted a program that would drop me right into the courses and software that I wanted to learn. My goal was to get back into a full time position as soon as possible, so the Motion Graphics Certification Program was exactly what I was looking for.

What was your experience finding a job after graduation?

Immediately after graduating, I pursued freelance work until I was fortunate to get picked up by What’s Next Media, a local start-up group creating vehicle ads and promotional materials for car dealerships nationwide. My role is to create visual effect and graphics for digital advertising.

What's your favorite part of your current job?

I really enjoy the culture of working at a startup. Because our company is small and in its early stages, I am also tasked with assisting in video editing, file management and content delivery. My favorite part about my job is the flexibility and fun attitude of working in a startup.

What skills did you learn at SFI that help you in your current place of work?

Besides the basic software skills and experience I needed, I learned how to balance multiple projects as well as how to simplify and streamline designs. Working with a team of other students on multiple films with different visions as well as having to manage my own private design projects allowed me the chance to start learning how to be efficient and organized with my work flow.

What was your favorite part about attending SFI?

My favorite part about SFI was the intimate class size. I was able to receive nearly one-on-one training from professionals in the field. The small size also allowed for a lot of flexibility and some professors even taking the time to customize their coursework to focus on refining each student's specific weaknesses.

What's one piece of advice you would give to a prospective student interested in studying film?

I think the best piece of advice I can give is to look at this as the pursuit of a normal job. I think a lot of people go into film wanting to make their masterpiece and have a chance at being a big shot. While you should always find ways to create for yourself, you should first try to find a regular everyday job in the field at a production house or freelancing for crews in your area. You may find that you will need to be an intern and have a side job, but I can't stress enough the importance of the knowledge you gain by working with real professionals, day in and day out.

Seattle Film Institute offers programs for filmmakers, digital artists, actors and more. From summer classes for teens to bachelor's degrees and certificates to MFA’s and more, our goal is to further film education in Seattle and help aspiring filmmakers reach their goals. To learn more about our students and programs, visit our website today!