AMES, Iowa--Tyler Brinegar doesn’t remember a time when he wasn’t interested in films and television. That interest eventually led him to Iowa State University, but “the real education for me began when I started working for Extension,” he said.
It all goes back to him growing up in Udell, Iowa, and seeing “the great spectacle movies of the 1980s.” He credits his family with taking him to see Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Back to the Future, Goonies, E.T. and Batman.
“As I matured, so did my interest in film, and to this day, if a period of history or a political scenario from the past interests me, I search for a movie on the topic,” he said. Eventually that love for film and electronic media would lead to a career.
He performed in drama productions and musicals during high school, but found the idea of the motion picture business to be “daunting and insurmountable.” He also didn’t want to move to Los Angeles. At Iowa State, he chose broadcasting and electronic media courses that best reflected his love for movies. That’s how he became aware of career options in broadcast and film.
But Iowa State wasn’t really on his radar screen at first. He attended Indian Hills Community College at Ottumwa for one year and was preparing for a move to Denver, Colo., where his brother lived. He never made it.
Two good friends had decided to attend Iowa State and they needed a third roommate. That, and a girlfriend, kept him in Iowa and guided him to ISU.
He credits his college classes and experience as a student employee at Iowa State University Extension Communications and Marketing as the biggest helps in his career. He almost didn’t get the job.
He looked on an Iowa State job board, found the Extension job notice and applied for it. He also told one of his best friends about the job. His friend applied and was called back, but Brinegar wasn’t. Not one to give up, he e-mailed Extension again and was granted an interview the day after his friend’s interview. Perseverance paid off and Brinegar got the job. “We joke about it to this day and he still regrets telling me about his call back.”
Extension gave him a chance “to work with video in a broadcast-standard environment. I learned shooting, editing, graphics and effects, as well as some producing. The Extension video unit prepared me in a way that no college course could. I probably would not have pursued the video/film field if not for Extension.”
Following graduation in fall 2004, Brinegar worked at Championship Productions in Ames, which a faculty member had brought to his attention. “My editing skills were quite primitive at that point, but Championship allowed me to work at my own pace,” he said. His five months there allowed him to develop his skills further and decide what type of job he would pursue.
Brinegar now is an assistant editor for Chicago-based Pie Town Productions, which edits Chicago versions of Design on a Dime and Designed to Sell, seen on HGTV. Brinegar digitizes and transfers media between hard drives and editors. He edits the radio cut (A Roll) of each show before the editors layer it with B Roll and dress it with effects.
He’s not really certain where the future will take him, and views college as “sort of a taste test.” In addition to his Journalism and Mass Communication (JLMC) major, he minored in English. He said, “Being exposed to so many different ideas, practices and fields, a person gets the opportunity to see what sticks.”
Brinegar’s advice to undergrads seeking student employment is “to get a job within your field, a job that allows you to do actual work alongside professionals, and do it as long as you can.”
He also believes charting a course through a career involves some risk. “I came to Chicago without a job and worked some horrible part-time shifts for four or five months. Though a counselor will rarely recommend that course of action, it has done wonders for me personally. Leaving my comfortable college setting was essential to my personal growth, and I don’t believe I would have been as interested in this field, nor had the variety of opportunities without the change of scenery.”
Wherever Brinegar’s career path takes him, his interest in broadcast and electronic media will always be a part of the journey.
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