JMC double degree alumni gives his advice for students

Chris Jackson studied not one but 2 degrees here at JMC Academy; Audio Engineering and Sound Production and Contemporary Music Performance, and he obviously loved the place so much, he has gone on to work for the company for nearly a decade!

Chris! Tell us about your time since graduating from JMC Academy?

Since graduating JMC Academy I have been working as an independent audio engineer as well as working as a Facilities assistant for JMC. 

I have been working for JMC for almost a decade, in which most of that time was spent educating audio students as a practical studio lecturer. This role not only allowed me to educated future audio engineers, but also a chance to practice my audio skills daily. At current I now hold the position of Digital Content Producer for the JMC Academy national marketing team. This role sees me creating content for online use, which ranges from music videos, to stories about our lecturers, as well as being able to showcase our talented students.

Check out one of my videos here: 

As well as working at JMC, I have been spending the last decade on my own independent audio career, where I started following my passion of recording bands in the studio and on location, focusing a lot on the jazz and soul scene in Sydney. Since starting I have also increased my work areas to include post-production audio, working on small films and ads, and forensic audio, working for the police on problematic audio that has been captured on cctv footage, or bad bugs in cars, etc

Before becoming the digital content producer for JMC, I also started OpenNAT Gaming. This is an online social community for gamers where we produce content for YouTube such as lets plays, weekly updates, and the occasional shorts. The point of this online business was not directed at making money, or becoming famous, but to practice all the skills I would need to produce content on a grander scale. These included video shooting and editing, YouTube channel management and marketing, website design and development as well as important time and content management skills. 

How did you get some of the positions when you graduated?

For my positions at JMC I have been lucky enough to have been approached by the academy. However, my independent work has come from going to gigs and introducing myself to bands, and meeting with clients to then meet contacts through them. Basically when any opportunity arrived I would take it and let my work speak for itself. Also having a website with a portfolio of your work is an absolute must. 

What is one of your favourite things about working in the audio/music industry?

There is a double-edged sword in the creative industry, and that is creative people. One of the greatest things is how passionate people get about their work. It really inspires me to keep working for them and to produce the best content possible. However, the downside is that these people are so passionate that sometimes they can’t step back to see the bigger picture. When you get a client or artist who comes to you because they know you have their best interests in mind, and trusts you to be flexible with their creative direction, is amazing.  And for those projects, the product is always something to be proud of. 

What have you learnt that you weren’t aware of before working in the industry?

For me specifically I now see myself as a facilitator. I want to be able to come into a project to help the person with the vision make it a reality. I started out trying to create projects or direct them, and that usually ended in clashing ideas, or lack of follow through due to frustration. I learnt very quickly that when working with creative and passionate people you really need to click with them. If there is no vibe, then you can’t fully commit to a bigger idea. Openly loving what you do, and allowing others to see your passion, can be so much more important than knowing how a piece of gear works inside and out. You don’t have to swallow your pride, but keep a lid on it until you completely understand where your client is coming from.

What advice would you give to current students currently studying AUD and/ or MUSC and wanting to get an opportunity like this?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is simply just start. Stop talking about it and do it. People can get caught up in talking about an idea and that makes them feel like they are contributing to it, but until you physically start, you haven’t actually done anything and you can’t get anywhere with nothing. 
Just remember any step in a direction, is a step. It may be in the right direction, or off to the side, but that experience is vital learning, so it’s never a step backwards.

To find out more about studying Audio Engineering and Sound Production click here, or for Contemporary Music and Performance, click here. 

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