Founder and Owner
“I was in the media program at Dale Jackson Career Center in Lewisville and came to North Lake for the Tech Prep program.
Greg Ruuska recommended the program to me, and I came over and Andy Chiles showed me around the studio.
“I love the hands-on aspect of my education as compared to what my friends who went to four-year universities experienced. At North Lake, there was always lab time and equipment available when I needed it, and the one-on-one attention from instructors was amazing. That was compared to the horror stories my friends at the universities would tell me. They would have to sleep in the hallway to get lab time, and sometimes didn’t even touch a camera until their third year. We also had quite a bit of freedom with projects, like writing our own scripts and choosing our topics. It’s nice to leave college with more than just the degree; we actually got the experience.
“One year, about 10 of us from the Video Technology program entered and won the student division of the Video Association of Dallas 24-Hour Video Race. The next year, I formed a team of my own with people from North Lake’s program, and we entered the professional category and came in third overall. We even beat out the professional teams from Channel 8 and Fox 4.
“There are three main parts of video work: pre-production, production and post-production, and North Lake really gave me a jump on understanding how important good pre-production is. It’s that Boy Scout thing — being prepared for shooting and every situation that might arise during the shoot. Andy would throw us curve balls in our classes to prepare us for the unplanned. Today, if something goes wrong — and something always will in this industry — I don’t get all flustered; I just deal with it.
“The first year I attended North Lake, 2000, was also the first year the Video Technology program went digital, and we began to use computers for nonlinear editing. It was a big plus to have that kind of equipment to work with; it was the way the industry was going, and North Lake was keeping current with an industry that moves at lightning-fast speed. You need to stay on top of your game to keep working in this business.
“Andy always had a lot of extra resources available to us students, like a small library of industry magazines. It’s a habit I still continue today, something as simple as reading magazines to see where the industry is headed, and it all started at North Lake.
“Andy hooked me up with an internship at the Irving Community TV Network (ICTN) while I was still a student at North Lake. NBC 5 offered me an internship, but they said I’d be stapling scripts and filling coffee cups while working my way up from the ground up. At ICTN, I got to shoot, edit and even direct — I really got my feet wet in the video business, and it allowed me to move forward much faster.
“I have had an amazing career since then, seen amazing things, met amazing people and traveled to some amazing places. I’m much happier with my associate degree and internship experience than I would be with a four-year degree — on top of the fact that I didn’t spend $30,000 on my education!
“I was, unfortunately, part of a big layoff at a production company where I worked as a managing producer; at the time I was producing two highly rated real estate shows on major networks in Austin and San Antonio. I packed up and moved back to Dallas to start my own production company in January 2007, and it's gone amazingly well. I’ve enjoyed working for myself far more than when I worked full time for someone else.
“I do a little bit of everything, from rodeos to concerts to corporate events and commercials. One of my primary clients is the National Spirit Group, which includes all of the major organizations coordinating cheerleading and dance events across the country. We do the majority of their online videos and editing and capture their live performances for the Internet. This coming year, I’ll travel to Disney World quite a few times for their events.”
Tom Post, a graduate of Lewisville ISD’s media program, has taken all of North Lake’s Video Technology classes and lacks only one math class to finish his associate degree.