The annual Ferris Media Festival returned in person on Friday, April 8th after the two years off due to the pandemic.
The event, now in its 21st year was canceled in 2020 and in 2021 it was online only. This year the festival was co-sponsored by Ferris State University College of Business and Media Communications Association (MCA).
Six media industry professionals came to speak at the festival which took place in the University Center. Kim Rozner, Mary Wall and Eric Wojtanik all spoke to the festival attendees, sharing their experiences and advice. Colby Wittman, Robert Evans and Matthew Vaughn are three Ferris graduates working in media and entertainment who spoke at the event.
Glen Okonoski, the Coordinator for the School of Digital Media explained that this event is open to anyone. High school students who may be interested in a media career were also invited.
“It’s a great opportunity for students to hear from professionals in the industry. Some of the professionals are from outside of Ferris, but sometimes, some of our speakers are alumni from the program,” Okonoski said.
Okonoski added that as a professor and program coordinator it’s exciting to have former students come back to share what they are doing within the industry.
Jessica Osmun, a senior in the digital animation and game design program has been coming to the Ferris Media Festival since high school. Now, she is the social media chair of MCA, and she promoted the festival on social media for the RSO.
“It’s been special for me because it’s finally back to what I knew it could be whereas the last two years it’s been so sad because it was something I loved coming to as a high schooler. That’s why I’m involved with MCA because I knew that that was such a cool event,” Osmun said.
Caroline Jasin, a junior in digital animation and game design, and the President of MCA explained that the goal of this event is to get students excited about their futures by talking to people who are currently working towards their dream job.
She also noted that due to COVID-19 it’s been harder than ever to network with peers. Because of this, the festival is great not only for connecting with the speakers but also for connecting with peers in digital media programs.
Robert Evans is a graduate of the digital animation and game design program and one of three alumni to speak at the festival. Today he is a senior character artist at Crystal Dynamics, where he makes video game characters.
He explained that Ferris has helped his career both through the content taught as well as the networking connections he was able to form.
“[Ferris] gave me experience with adjacent disciplines as opposed to just character art, I also had to learn effects, lighting, modeling, rendering, and all of those other things which are infinitely beneficial in a pipeline because that means I can help my fellow co-workers as well,” Evans said.
Evans also added that if he could give one piece of advice to students it would be to try new things.