Are You Experienced?

4:50pm in Studio A

Are you Experienced? 200 Easy Steps to Becoming and Finding the Next Great Industry Talent

Our Industry is hungry for new talent, the talent out there is hungry for experience. But, are we missing each other? As a Frame:Work education committee member, talent recruiter and full time University educator, Ben has been standing in the middle of this conversation for over three years and will invite us all into the fray via personal stories, observations, and tactics.

Download Transcript

Laura Frank  00:12

Ben Nicholson, framework board member, as well as a member of our education committee, and one of the inspirations for our new talent list. His presentation Are You Experienced 200 Easy Steps to Becoming and finding the next great industry talent. Sounds easy, right? I give you Ben. Thank you.

Ben Nicholson  00:36

Hello. All right. So I’m going to just mix it up a little bit, because I think we’ve all been here for a while. And so I went to this slide. It’s way down in my presentation. I think we’re gonna start out with it real quick. How many people here are educators or have taught adjunct or high school or anything? Anything consistent? Yes. Yes. Where are you taught? Just once, okay, so you’ve been there, right? Yes. Yes. Shout, go ahead said yeah. Fit. Okay, great. So one of the things that I like to say is that we all can be teachers, I teach at a university in Ohio called Miami University. And I didn’t think I could teach because I was a creative director and did all sorts of things that we all know and love, right? So I’m just going to demo something to get us going a little bit. Part of this is also a we’re all friends. And also just getting in touch a little bit with sincerity. Like, sometimes we go these things and we want to be cool. And it’s like, you know, but I’m too old to be cold anymore, right? So the easiest form of teaching is this easiest form of teaching, watch me do what I do, and then do it when I’m not there. Right. So who wants to be my substitute teacher? And I want to say, Michael, is going to be more strategic. Right, Michael? Stand up, please. Okay, great. Now, it’s very important, Michael, to do your job that you have to do exactly as I say, even when I’m not here. Right. Okay, so, ready, follow me. And then you’re gonna just keep doing that over and over again. Now I’m gonna pretend to leave. And then all these other people are going to do it. I taught you how to do it. Ready? Go. And testing you to see if you can get them to move without even talking. I’m going to turn around. I’m going to judge you based on the fact that they’re doing accurately and as a group. I think Michaels gonna be really good at this. 54321 That’s pretty good. Michael, you’re a teacher. There you go. Okay. All right. Now I have to reverse my slides, because I wasn’t gonna do this. So everybody close your eyes. Don’t look, don’t look. Don’t look. Oh, God, this is long. Okay, hold on a second. All right, here we are. Okay. So the title of my, my slideshow here is, Are You Experienced, and or 200 Easy Steps to Becoming and finding the next great industry talent that was meant to be ironic and interesting all at the same time. You’ve sat here, so either you’re waiting for happy hour, or you’re interested in the 200 easy steps that I have in store for you today. By the way, the bars apparently opens when I’m done. When I’m done, when I’m done. And, yeah, but I’m going to distill this a little bit. So there’s a couple things you’re gonna find out. It’s like, Hey, you could be a teacher to what does it mean to be a teacher? But also what does it mean to be a talent and what does it mean to pass that information on out in industry, right, so I’ll try to keep you a little bit on your toes. Be prepared to interact with me, otherwise, it’ll be extremely disappointed. Thank you, Michael. Okay, so anybody know who this is? Behind the behind there? Say it loud. Okay, what is Jimi Hendrix famous for? What say there’s one playing left handed what else? He burned his guitar. Being badass. Yeah, great. What else it has to do with being left handed. Sort of maybe. Sort of, yes. There it is. I just figured this out. So if you look at right there, he’s actually the legend is he’s played upside down backwards, is actually played left handed with a right handed guitar, and he strong his guitar backwards. So the shortest string is actually meant where they usually the long or the is it the he’ll help me out musician pickups reverse so there’s like no way to really play the way he did unless you follow what he did. What you also know about him is his dad was super super into him becoming a musician super into it also, culturally being left handed had this weird kind of mojo stank on it. Like if you were left handed you might be from the devil, or like a deviant. Right? So his dad would stop him from doing that. And then he felt more comfortable because he was ambidextrous. He actually I think he wrote with his right play this way. And so there’s this really interesting mix that I find with students sometimes where there’s a condition in their life or a circumstance that they come from, that actually turns genius as a corner. And there’s also involved with this, he didn’t just wake up one day and be like, I’m gonna be a great guitar player. Actually, it was his dad, that was like, you’re gonna be a great guitar player. So somebody was teaching him those things. So just a little thing to keep. Keep in, keep in mind. Okay, so who am I? Why am I here? Laura gave me a bit of an introduction. I’m not checking my time, I’m actually trying to advance my slides with my phone, which is kind of working. Okay, so And who am I? Why am I here? I’m on the board. We’ll get into that. But what I want to talk about this is where I have biases. And this is a really interesting concept to me as an educator, and somebody who’s interacting with people at different phases in their life is that I have a great lawyer, his name’s Brock. He’s like my person. He’s like my buddy, kind of like if your lawyers your buddy, I think that might be a good thing. But I was talking to him once and I was asking him a question about a contract. And he said, then first, I need to tell you my biases, before I advise you, and I was like, what was that mean? He’s like, Well, if you’re going to weigh what I’m about to say, you need to understand that I have opinions that are either internalized or externalize, that may influence what I’m about to say. I’m like, Oh, okay. So for me, part of who I am really exposes my biases as an instructor, as somebody that you might run into every day because my experiences like it or not color, how I talk to you, right? How I interact with you how I may advise you, right? So that’s something that I like to do with my students is that make them aware, kind of like where I come from. Okay, so here’s what I’m not. I’m not an abstract modernist art fans, if you’ve been at the Tate, there’s a painting there by a guy named Ben Nicholson. That’s it. That’s not me. But that’s me with the painting that I never made. This is him. That guy right there, like 1912, or something like that. Okay, so what am I, I’m an animator by training. So I started in motion design, After Effects cinema 4d. All the things a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, there was a place called fuel down on Pico in Maine. And I was, I got my first job there. Because the first engineer that they had had, or their technical guy, had nervous breakdown and moved to a yurt in the middle of Montana, the day before I walked in. And the guy said to me, can you fix Macs? And I was like, Well, I can fix my girlfriend’s computer. He’s like, great, you’re hired. That was literally it. And that’s how I got into motion design. It started learning after effects in the middle of that. I’m a creative director by ego. So anybody who has seen the creative directors in the business that we, we delve in, if you’ve been around and been an animator, you’re like, I want to be that guy. He gets to come in and go make everything pink, and then walks out. And that as a young person seemed really attractive as an older person. That seems super annoying. So I’m a producer. By necessity, I started a business and then I had to figure out how to do an Excel spreadsheet. And now I’m kind of good at it, which is really weird. I was laughing yes, we’re good at spreadsheets. And I’m a consultant by experience. So like, my life has made me valuable to people that want me to help them fix things or that my advice and, and I get paid to do it. I’m a teacher by accident. We’ll get into that a second. But I want you to know that I’m willing, and I might not be the best. And that’s okay. But I’ll work hard. Right? So I love basketball, right? When I was in high school, I was six to when I was in sixth grade. Not a good combo if you want to be great at sports, right? But what I determined is like, I’m just gonna do this the hardest possible, and that’s kind of how I got into the business. We’re in because I just worked really hard, and I wasn’t necessarily the best. Okay, here’s things I don’t like keyframing rendering, or doing anything that’s normal on a screen. Hence why we’re all together. Right? I think there’s some people in Hear that don’t like keyframing. And they don’t watch like watching render bars. I determined a long time ago that if I never, I’ve seen too many render bars and had too many conversations with my wife. Where she goes, Is it done rendering yet? Mike? I don’t know. Okay, well, we home in the morning, I don’t know. But now, but now through the magic of science. I don’t have to render some days. I think that’s amazing. So I like those things. This is like my very professional CV title card. I’m an assistant teaching professor at Miami University in the Department of emerging Technology and business and design that’s really long or ETB, D for short, which is kind of sounds like some sort of disorder, but I didn’t market it. I’m an MFA candidate at the Lighting Design and Technology Division at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, and creative producer, experience director and a framework board member. These are some of my more. I don’t know, I guess proud moments of my professional career was producing screen Content for you two for two tours. And running the teams there with some friends, a guy named Sam Pattinson, who runs a place in London called treatment, and also a bunch of stuff that I did while I worked at Lightboard. So I know Ryan, and I just I met JT, and Cincinnati, Ohio. And we did all sorts of fun things at the beginnings of media servers, like Mbox was awesome, a new and huge and then d3 came along and you could Projection map a car. And so I’ve been with you, around you, in this field kind of developing these tools. I don’t know how they work all the time. Like sometimes I have to like call JT or something and be like, what do you what do you do with this thing that I don’t know what it’s called. And then he tells me what it is right? It’s worth noting that JT might have banned me from touching power strips at on sites. Like so. It’s really scary that I actually kind of know what I’m doing now, which is a miracle in itself. Okay, some other stuff. Right? Okay, framework Board of Directors, I put this picture up here, because some of them are here, and you should see them and go, Oh, wait, you’re on the board of directors. They’re around. Most of them are here. Some of them are not. But all of these people do this, not because they get paid. But because they believe that this is worth something that’s worth giving their time to. Okay, let’s start here. Miami University. It’s not in Florida. It’s actually 90, 90 minutes on a bad day, 50 minutes north of Cincinnati, Ohio. If you go to Cincinnati, Ohio, you have to fly into the northern Kentucky International Airport, which makes absolutely no sense if you’ve never been there, and you cross the bridge and you go to Cincinnati, and then you drive north. And it’s here. It’s idyllic. It’s beautiful. It was supposed to be where they filmed Animal House, but they wouldn’t let them. Because it looks like college. Like I teach at a college that looks like a college. I was tricked. I mean, kinda I was tricked. I was tricked. Because I was like, I need to spend more time at home, I really value my family, I got three teenagers I want to be around, I can’t run a company and go all over the place and do on sites. I was like, I just go there and you know, teach a class and creativity or something that has nothing to do with like, plugging computers in and watching render bars. And because they don’t really teach that there. Suddenly, I realized that the students actually learned what I knew how to do. And they’re like, why don’t you teach that? Or my my colleagues were like, Why don’t you teach that? Why don’t you show him how to do that? We could do that here. And I was like, oh, no, we can do it here. It’s an Oxford, Ohio. Now, you should try to do that. So we made kind of an audacious plan for a track of classes. These are example of them, I won’t go into huge detail. But it basically takes you from how do you edit all the way to a stage like this. And it does it and tries to do it in four classes. Believe it or not, we tried to do it and to and all the students almost died. I do like there’s TouchDesigner notch and breaking unreal, like so like everything that we do in an interactive Immersive tool basically just makes unreal break. So I like that. Here’s some stuff we’ve been doing. Out in the in the in outside. We’ve been doing Projection mapping Architecture, some TouchDesigner stuff. We do Projection mapping every year in this big chapel there. That’s a TouchDesigner. They’re being being used. We do Projection mapping on buildings. We have some Daft Punk fans, even though they’re younger. They listened to Daft Punk. It’s amazing. Actually, the student who delivered this just delivered it and we put it into the media server and I was like, you listen to Daft Punk and like all the time. I’m like great. That’s great. Keep listening to Daft Punk. We do Projection mapping. We do some other fun projects around the city. This is on a video blade system on the stadium there. And then we’ll talk about this little setup in a Second, but we have a little playground that’s very modest. And we do touch design or look at the frustum. We. Okay, so here I am standing in this gap of industry, people and students, and I’m trying to make connections because I know, I’ll get phone calls from people and like, Do you have any good people, I can remember getting a phone call, like at the beginning of the, say, verse production craze from somebody that we all know and love, and was like, Do you have anybody that owns unreal? And I was like, Yeah, but they haven’t graduated from school. It’s like, I don’t care. I’m like, Well, okay, and here’s their name and their number. It’s kind of calmed down a little bit. But that was kind of this beginning of connections and students who are like, I want to be relevant. I want to be qualified. In my department. It was actually started as a web design thing during, boom, and then transitioned that UI UX. And now they have a games program, and I teach alongside students that are designing video games, going, hey, you know what else you can do? You can do this with what you can do with your video game engines. And it seems to be working pretty good. Oh, let’s see. I did his talk for five minutes. No longer. All right. Warning, this presentation contains hyperbolic exhortation, I made that up. I may have put those two words together, but I thought was pretty clever. So meaning hyperbolic may or may not be true. I might have inflated it a little bit hot air, and exhortation. Meaning I want to get you interested in moving, right. It’s not a dissertation or paper. I’m not smart enough to do that. I’m not really a professor, but I play one at a university. So it’s a reminder of sorts. Okay, so here’s the struggle. I need people like that phone call. And then the students are like, or people who want to relearn out there, I need a job. I need people I need a job. Okay. I’m in as part of my consulting, I also do recruitment. So I’m interviewing lots of people. And so I watch and read resumes and see how they’re qualified, or unqualified, and how the expectations of employers can sometimes be unrealistic. I’m kind of a people person. So it’s hard for me to admit that, like people have unrealistic expectations, but they do too, right. So there’s a journey, that’s my son as oh, by the way, eating a sandwich is the student or the seeker and they want to go over there where the employer is, right, somewhere yonder. And it’s basically reversed. And the employer is like, Are there any good people? Do you know any good people? And these positions are, can be, I’m gonna say, typified by something like this, right? Can I have in my way, I want great pay benefits, positive work environment, lots of vacation. It must be an outlet for my creativity, my total personality? Definitely, I need unlimited upward mobility. Can I bring my pet iguana, I’ve chosen the guano because I didn’t want to offend the dog or cat people. Right? Like, so. I figured I’d go on to save but it might happen, right? Somebody wants to bring they’re going to work might happen. Employers, well, future employee, I need a mature well trained personnel and must, must be hard working with zero drama, definitely zero drag. When I say drag, I mean, no personal responsibilities and get on an airplane in five minutes and fly to Hong Kong. That’s what I mean, kind of thing. No drag, fly. We have no training program and anemic org structure, very limited budgets. And by the way, production is super hard, and will break you in half. Have you seen the ping pong table? I say ping pong table because there’s a cool factor. Right? So I thought were cool would be cool. Right? And are they really saying they want a robot or they want a person. So in this, we have this experience gap. And this is Red River Gorge. And in Kentucky, if you’ve never been you should go it’s like the Grand Canyon with trees. It’s not perfectly mirrored. I did that to illustrate the point. All right, so the employer is over there. The student workers over here in this gap. There’s things that are missing, or things that we want, right. And in that gap, there’s massive problems. And there’s massive opportunities. We’ve heard from some of them today about what those possibly could be. But in that gap, someone has to step in and provide the training. Right now the current environment, I would say there are exceptions. Some of them are here. I’m going to mention them in a second, that corporations aren’t super interested in robust training programs. It doesn’t show up on the bottom line, right? individuals want a way to get trained, but they also want it to feel quote unquote, real right. All right, so we need education and time to get across this gap. Like if I don’t, I can’t get there. I need tools. I’m gonna go that direction. Alright, so traditionally, there’s been ways to get those tools to get the experience that you want, right. apprenticeship, Does anybody understand how an apprenticeship work? Looks just shout it out. Yes, say it, what’s an apprenticeship? I thought it was free to wrong. It’s supposed to be in medieval times, I could like, at least see those kids down there. Those parents are there. I think they’re about to drop them off at the blacksmith shop and go, Hey, teach my kid how to become a blacksmith. And they would pay the blacksmith money to teach them how to do their thing. Because the blacksmith like, you know what me and Bob here got a pretty good rhythm going on banging on this piece of metal. So it’s gonna slow us down. Great, here’s $30,000 We’ll take care of it and they go away. I think that’s actually kind of cool. I mean, I think I think parents should give me $150,000. And I’ll turn their person into a fully realized human in about four years. Maybe they had to pay me a little bit more. All right, training programs certifications, NASA’s classic, right because this is deep, it’s new. It’s hard. It’s dangerous. And they go, we better make a training program where we can spin guys around in a centrifuge and make sure they can actually do this job. I don’t think they’re outsourcing that. Veterans earn while you can on the job on the job training. That’s a thing in a market, which generally has a lot of labor that needs retraining. Because a certain division wants a type of worker that’s not really available or trained for that job. YouTube’s thank God for YouTube’s or I would be screwed as a teacher. Okay, so you know, this is our buddy I think I don’t think he would mind us, you know, Mark rover if you don’t know who it is. Or, well, Mark Rober. So cute, smart, free and prolific. Why the EFF Am I standing in front of my class right now? That’s a good question. I have a lot of students, I’ve had a couple students that will learn how to do like cinema, online on YouTube. And they come in and destroy the planet. I’m like, Oh, my God, what can I do for you? Unfortunately, they don’t show up to class on time. So I’m like, you probably need to learn a work ethic, right? Technical School. I’m a huge fan of technical school. My son actually my daughter is a fine arts major as a paint painting major. In college, my son actually just graduated from technical school as a diesel mechanic. Because he loves working with his hands and he likes machines. And he was like, I just want to do that on work on machines. I’m like, great. Go do that. So we went to technical school is a great job fixing stuff all day long. Most of the time, that’s can be a two year program, I can actually go all the way down to high school too. So I think there’s something there with technical school. I think micros write about it actually, that I think our nation could use to have a large majority of people just go learn how to do something to make a living. I teach here, the Field of Dreams. Look at that. Like, I can’t wait to give this place my money so that my kid can go to school there. It’s amazing. It’s beautiful. There’s beautiful people. There’s kind of people like me that teach there, right? Oh, how much do I have? It’s probably when we see what’s Filling in the gap. We and the tech industry have relied on this four year college model for a long time to bring up that waterline of training, right? It’s filled in the gap in the high end jobs. It’s not going to stay around and tell you that there’s too expensive, people can’t afford it. Enrollment goes is going down pandemic taught us a lot of important things about this that I think we’re just beginning to realize maybe it will have a revival, but the university system is hurting, hurting for money and net new revenue. Ah, college is not efficient. Okay. Can you see what’s going on here? This is an actual Projection map marriage proposal. I saw it happen. So the young man to the left wanted to propose to the young woman on the right who was one of my students, and she’s been in my classes. She’s now graduated from the beginning. She’s like, I love Projection mapping. I want to go do all the tech things. I love everything about this. I love touch designer. And her boyfriend knew nothing about any of these things. And he called us up one day and was like, hey, I want to propose using all that stuff on the side of a building. We’re like, okay, so shenanigans ensued. And she said, Yes, I think that’s those are tears of joy, right? But that’s not efficient. They’re in the way of our project. Right, like, the other way of our project, but that’s what happens at college. It’s like, what do you think the math is? For me? It was like, I don’t know. 30% of the time I was doing something. Something that was valuable, I was learning how to be a human maybe being too angry. I don’t know, 50 50% of that time, could it be shortened if we’re really training people? All right, and we’ve got college and crisis. And I mean that in a good way, which is, well, not a good way, but pretty consistent way. College has always been in crisis. And I say it’s a super efficient, but they wants to be super efficient and quicker of surrogate for the industry training, and also being centers of genuine intellectual thought and research. I’ve vacillated on what this is supposed to be. I just like I just want to train people and get them out the job market. And then my friend Garrison, who’s like a super smart prof guy, where’s he actually wears, like elbow pad things on his on his coat. And he’s like, these sort of places where people just need to get together and think about problems that you don’t have to come up with a result then. And like I used to argue with him, I’m like, I think he’s kind of right. I think they’re actually needs to be places where people think about big problems like, dark, dark matter, right, like plowing the dark of things. These are some interesting stats from Gallup, what you’ll notice here, if you’d scan it very quickly, is people want a good job or career in college or to go to grad school 72% are doing that to advance their career. In grad school, it says, according to Gallup, 18% of their just to learn. So what that tells me is there’s a little bit of something going on there that isn’t just about raw learning, they want some sort of validation of validation of their skill that they can show somebody as an employer, here’s the concern. I’m concerned that there could be a myth happening that’s being exploited through the validity of institution colleges or others. Not to mention, I’m 100% certain industry does not value the degree like they used to. When I look at people’s resumes, and I go through hundreds of them. Do you know, often I look at where they went to college. Maybe one out of 300. Right, it’s top line, where have you worked? What have you done? Where are your skills, and if I’m going through them quickly, that’s just honest. This also keeps me up at night. Because when I go into my classroom, I’m looking at people I’m going like, this person is paying $1,500, I’ve calculated this to sit in my class for a semester. Shoot, I better do something that’s meaningful here. And not just like, read something, or read or do a lecture, right? I might want to be a little entertaining. I wasn’t talking about entertainment, I was talking about meaning, right? Like, what do you want to do? Alright, so cost someone has to pay it, someone always does. There’s no getting around this, if students aren’t are paying $150,000 For for your education, and they’re not getting what they want out of it. Right? They’re eating that cost and they’re going into debt. They’re going into job markets where they may not be trained. And that job, that employer is going to have to do the training that they want anyway. So there’s something going on here and this gap. This is an obvious thing. The other nice thing about being a college teacher is you can say things like this, like, Hey, guys, time equals money. Wow. And there’s something about really about sincerity that I love about college students because I forget it, and I’ll get jaded, and then I won’t say things that I think they need to hear. Without investment, this personal highways collapsing. Great. I’m gonna I added this this morning, because you could say, there’s not as much urgency because we’re all these strikes, and the industry is panicking. And I don’t know what I think now’s the time, we got to figure it out. Like if you’re trying to get yourself retrained, now’s the time to do it. Right. And if you want to learn something new, now’s the time to do it, because it’s gonna come back. If you don’t figure it out. Now we’re gonna pay the price. Later, we don’t have enough virtual production people that are in the top 5% or XR people or great technical EACs. Now sitting on it isn’t going to help. Right? I say there’s like, you know, a 5% of people who are who are rock star level. And then there’s a big gap in the medium, right? And we’ve got to get over we’ve got to get into that. Okay, with this, there’s two things that are sort of free. One is passion. Does anybody know what that is? Or could look like? Not gonna stop Michael, if he was going to answer. The passion for it. No, it actually it’s a fruit of passion. Right, this? This is, this is a homemade version of an OP one from Teenage engineering. And I was like, what this this guy showed up on my house, graduated from high school, sat down on my dinner table. We just met him. And I was like, what do you do? And he’s like, I like to make circuits. When you make to make circuits, well, I made this one to my pocket, and I was like, I don’t even understand what’s happening right now. It’s like I work at a place that makes you PC backup systems. and Forest Park. I’m like, Okay. And I started talking to him more. And I was like, What do you like musical instruments? Because my kids like musical instruments. And he said, he said, Oh, yeah, you know, there’s Opie ones are too expensive. So I’m making my own. I was like, it’s in my car. He goes and pulls this sucker out. And I was like, Why is yours different? And I don’t know that much about music. But I guess it’s a big deal. How many notes of polyphonic you can do on a synth? He’s like, this one’s going to do 12. The to engineering one can only do six. Sounds like you’re crazy, and a great way and I love you. But he’s putting this passion he’s got here doesn’t do this. He’s not in high school. They don’t teach him this. He’s doing this himself. Okay, let me tell you a story about the giving of time and involve some people around here and people that will be here tomorrow. Does anyone know what this is? Yellow? Yeah, rear Projection, Immersive cube built in like 2005. Right? This is stashed in a room on the floor of the university I teach at this is old tracking, like little white balls and things like that where you could do motion tracking on it. It had like 3k, Projectors rear projecting on these things. And it was dark. Also, the times were dark. This is like right at COVID. And when I sort of poked at this thing, and there were students that needed a capstone experience, which if you don’t know what that is, they it’s to partner with industry, to industry to learn skills, and like kind of work on the job. They have to engage with them and build something that was like, wow, this is kind of like that stuff that those guys are doing virtual production is except it’s like not it was actually square. And so I got a bunch of students and we pushed it out. And then I actually called JT who is there starting up XR studios. And I was like, What do you guys think about doing a capstone experience during COVID, which a bunch of students in Ohio and he was like, sounds great. I’m paraphrasing. But a bunch of people got involved. And other people like Scott Miller, and I’ll list some other ones in a minute, an old thing was brought back to life. So we hooked up some computers that we had in the lab to the back of it, we actually wrestled and display when it when it sucked more than it does right now, which I don’t even know what they did to make and display work at that time over a network. But it happened. They actually made an extended like, they did a XR across the top, that’s a notch file back there. We got touches on running it on there, too. These guys are crazy, because they decided to make a 3d 3d First Person Shooter version of Pong that was competitive. I was like, that’s kind of a mic drop moment in that class. I was like, whoa, okay. Sounds great. And there was a generosity of time, at their, at their studio, they dropped in a notch file that students built, they couldn’t travel. So they just filmed it and sent it back to me. And so they invested time, with the students probably like two hours, twice a week, they were online with five, six students, just asking questions and telling them how to fix things. I will say also, there in this setup. There was a we had no media server, there is a touch designer program that we nicknamed, not disguise. And it actually did it. I mean, it doesn’t do it reliably. It was crashing like crazy. But there was a TouchDesigner project that ran this whole thing with the Vive tracker before they came up with the Mars system. Okay, so fast forward two years. This is a room that’s being built right now at the university, I teach in the middle of nowhere, Ohio. And not because I pushed for funding, not because I filled out a grant. But because some Provost guy walked into a bunch of presentations at in that room, and was like, this is pretty cool, we should probably put this as a feature in the new building that we’re doing. We’re like, okay, and so we’re gonna get like a nice little wall there and some Projection and it’s like a little Immersive playground. Again, this isn’t an initiative other than steamrolled off of an investment of time by a bunch of people. So there’s a bunch of people that are engaged with those students in different projects. And some of them are here. There’s JT There’s Nick, there’s Albert’s elbers, just like helped roll out a whole touch designer program that helped my students get up to speed. I didn’t even know how to use touch designer two years ago, right. And there’s other people on here that you should really know. And these are some of the students that jumped in with that. And again, I’m grateful and it’s kind of amazing, but part of it is it made a difference to a bunch of students that in that moment, that it meant the world to them, they had nothing, they literally had nothing, they had no skills, and they got jobs out of this right. And it didn’t cost anybody a lot of money. It just costs a cost and time now we all don’t have to to two hours twice a week anymore, but it could be a lot less than that. Where we did that already. That’s great. Okay. At the end of the day, though, I’m just a guide we can all be maybe it’s actually not about finding talent, but guiding them, maybe talent, you need a guide. So we’re gonna do a little thing here. Oh, before I forget, there’s a bunch of people here that I will not, you know, the thing about giving credit to others, there’s a fear that I’m not going to give credit to enough people. And I’m sorry if I’ve missed you in that list that you’ve helped me out so you can come yell at me later. But there are people here also trying to think about education in a different way. So we got Immersive HQ elbers, is here you can find him. There’s an interesting thing going on illiterates Academy of live Technology, formally, backstage is moving into LIS, they broke ground, and they’re doing a four year accredited college that does all the things meaning, stage lighting, Technology. And all those wonderful things. If you need to know more about that you can see me or fill out this form that I put a I’ll give you in a minute. This is Mars Academy, David Bates deal. And you already heard from the pixoto, folks that they’ve kind of doubled down on training and investing, you can go and see and talk to them. Framework education is here. And I help lead that I guess it’s a committee or a committee or a committee. And we’re trying to find different ways to sort of fill this gap. If you want to scan that QR code. If you hit your records, don’t scan it. But if you scan it, it will just take you to a place that you want to click things to know more about any of those things that I mentioned. Or tell us, hey, I’ve got a thing that I think can help with educating the next generation of people. Okay, I can’t do this because I’m running out of time. But I do have a fun joke, which is no one likes pogo sticks, pogo sticks are the mines of transportation. There is a whole setup about three legged stool, but you you took it anyway, we’ll just keep going. When are we getting into 200 steps? Well, there was no never 200 There’s like two things. It’s much harder to navigate this gap. If we’re lost. I’m an advisor to people that need that needed advice. The hardest advising for college students are the ones that sit down in my office and they just stare at me. Like, why are you here? I don’t know. Okay, what are we talking about? And they’re like, Well, I want to get a job. What kind of job do you want? I don’t know. Great. We’ll just we’ll, we’ll try to work on sort of some of your goals. But for us, as professionals, we can get kind of lost and forget what our goals are or forget where we are. And we get spun out sometimes. And so I just wanted to do a little thing, if I may. Oh, warning, incoming cheese. Okay, so this is this a skyline chili that she’s on top. Scotland. Chili is just weird. Spaghetti with meat sauce on it. That doesn’t taste like meat sauce until you put cheese on it. Everything’s better. So cheese means for me, sincerity, right? So I’d like you to sort of take off your jadedness and put some cheese cheese on top and be like, Okay, I’m gonna trust and just try to a couple of these things that Ben is going to ask. I’m going to talk about getting a compass. I’m gonna talk about getting a map. And I’m going to talk about companies or people not in the same way. Not another way, you might think I don’t mean an illegal standing thing. I mean, companies are run by people who also can get lost need a map and need a compass. All right. So compass exercise. Can I get? Where’s my guys? There we go. Can you pass these pieces of paper out? You don’t need to use a piece of paper. If you don’t want to the right there at the final stage. Go quick, quick, quick. All right. You can also use a computer, you could also use the theater of your mind. Right? Maybe that’s better for you to close your eyes. Sometimes when you lost, you need a compass and a compass needs a true north, write a place that you can return to to get yourself settled and out of every jam. For me, it’s I guess you could call it an ethos, a mantra. Maybe it’s definitely like not a slogan. It’s just something that feels like true, like beautiful and true to you. Right? And for me, I can do this. And I have students do this. How do you want to be remembered your biggest regret and your biggest win and in the middle is a word or a phrase or a sentence? So I’ll say and I’ll take you through my process for this. My biggest regret. I’m not going to talk about all the instances, but it’s when I act out of arrogance, ego or entitlement. Right? My biggest wins come when I feel like I’m helping people and I’m taking care of and taking care of people. When I had a moment where I felt like I wanted How do I want my kids to remember me when I’m gone? I don’t want to be morbid, but like you think about these things when you’re 47 and you’ve got three teenagers, you’re like how do you want to be remembered? At first it was like well, they’re gonna remember because I’m not out there, because I’m on tour and doing business. So I tried to fix that. So for me, it was kindness. Like, I want to be the kindest dad, person that they know, I take that into my classroom, I try to do this. It also means I’ve absolutely failed at this horrifically damaged people. But it doesn’t mean like, well, I guess I’m a jerk, right? I say, actually, I want to be kinder, I’m going to be kind. So that’s my true north. There’s another example here. This is my son, Ezra is sworn in here. I don’t think he is. He, my son, Ezra, his, he’s a helper, like he really gets satisfied. That’s why he’s a mechanic. He like I want to help you fix things. And I help you fix things. And so he gets down on his hands and knees and gets grimy and helps people with their cars, he loves it, he will bring their cars to my house. And they’re just assembled in the driveway. And he’s doing it for free. Because not because he likes machines. I think he likes machines, but I think he actually likes helping people more. So I would just ask you, you can use the paper if you want, or you can just think of in your mind. But I would just encourage you to think about this sort of like TrueNorth thing for yourself. It’s gotten me out of a lot of jams. And then I want to ask you about a map. And I kind of illustrated a map demonstration for me, which was I’m gonna just fast forward to here on this, this is a demonstration of my relational map. Now, this isn’t like my pyramid scheme, or my LinkedIn, or whatever these are. These are people that mean something to me, because they were kind to me, or I was kind to them. And I’ll go back. And also, it occurs to me that a lot of us have forgotten what a map is. So I have on here. And we think maps or like, take me to In and Out Burger. Turn right turn left, turn right, turn left. And we’ve forgotten that there’s like things that are written down that are landmarks that you can navigate and get oriented to figure out where you want to go. So if I say I’ve got this XR stage thing, sorry, a rear Projection screen device that’s broken, but I think we could try to do something about it. How do I get there? I’ll make it on my map. Okay, here’s JT. Here’s Scott Miller. Here’s Nick Rivera. Okay, I’m going to call them the here’s Matt Ward, I don’t know what to do about getting Projectors. Matt’s gonna listen to me talk about things I don’t know about. But he’s still gonna give me advice. And I can orient my problem on this map. And so the thing I’d ask you is like, what’s your relational map look like? And again, framework does not want to be a networking society event, what I think we want to be as a friendship society based on helping and based on taking care of people. So if you need a little theater of your mind or your paper, just write down framework, you know, and write that down on your thing. And go, how did I get here? Who did I know to get here? How do I get to know them? Did they mean anything to me? So for me, I wrote down my example here. I know Laura, I know JT, I know Nick Rivero, he’ll be here tomorrow. And who do they know? Well, they know, I think I met Laura through the VMAs. But maybe through the sky, Lee Lodge, but then JT knows Ryan, and you could make a really big freaking map for some of you. Right? And I think it’d be really beautiful thing to hang on your wall and be like, this is this is my, these are my people. This is my, this is my LinkedIn. I don’t mean like LinkedIn. I mean, like LinkedIn, right? Like LinkedIn. Like, these are the people I can call if I can’t do a gig, or if I’m in trouble, or I need advice in my life, right? Those are my, those are my people. Okay, yeah, friendship, friendship. That’s me. That’s what I think it is. Again, we talked about studying course. So if you’ve got this map, and you’ve got like your TrueNorth, you can kind of navigate and get to a job that maybe fits where you can find the employees that you might imagine, but you got to orient yourself first. Right, you got to orient yourself first. And those other things start to come into view as you’re trying to do it. All right. Yeah, it’s kind of like a relational lattice for growth. That’s a very catchy phrase that I thought up late last night. And it’s immensely valuable to those who are guiding letting someone use your map as generosity. Like, not everybody gets to use my map. Right? I have to maybe trust you a little bit after maybe be vulnerable a little bit, right. But I do have it. And so when I see a student that’s like, Oh, my God, they reverse engineer and op one. Yeah, check this guy out. I think there’s something interesting here, right or they don’t have enough money to go to Back to school, I think they needed a job. Those are the things I’m talking about. Again, we talked about that, Oh Ha, gratitude is worth a lot. One more exercise for you that you may or may not participate in. But it might involve some peer pressure on this one. This is a card I actually got from a real human, a real student. And I like to read it out loud. And I also like the fact that they misspelled grateful. Thank you for letting me use the notch dongles. And taking me in as one of your students this semester, I’ve learned an immense amount from you, and very grateful to have met you have a great summer and I hope to continue to stay in touch. Sorry, I suck at writing cards, he doesn’t really mean I suck at writing cards, what is he saying he likes it. He says I suck at being sincere, I think is what he’s really saying. I think we could all be better about that. All right, times too short to be cool. And more and more convinced of this, I’m really concerned, coming out of COVID When you were like hunker down, and you call your friend be like, I don’t know, if I can, like get up tomorrow, or like, somebody I know, like, passed away. That we kind of got rid of all the pretense, I’m worried that we’re not keeping that, right. Like there’s something that we have to stay with, it’s a heart matter. Tell someone what you mean to what, what you mean to them. On that map in the theater of your mind, there’s somebody in there and we’re gonna do it, I’m just gonna do a little bit of peer pressure. Look at the person next to you. Say, I’m not gonna go get a beer until I do what Ben tells me to do. You’re laughing you’re not doing it. I’m watching you. Oh, that’s Thank you. I didn’t do my drill on your map, get your phone out. Think of a person that you have in your contacts that’s meant something to you that’s on that map and just say, hey, thanks. Thanks for what you did for me. It could be it was a relational thing. It was a professional thing. It was that they were your teacher? I don’t know. Don’t I don’t need any more cards don’t if you’re out there, don’t send me a message, send it to somebody else. Right. And if you’re even more daring, there’s probably wanting to lay up like it’s like, oh, it’s so and so. There’s a second layer to that is like, they think I was stupid. If I reached out and was sincere, do that one. That’s like the next level right? And see what happens. That’s all. So that’s all I got today. And hopefully, yeah, I’m going to just leave it at Laura, thank you very much.

Laura Frank  47:47

Thank you.

Ben Nicholson  47:49

You can do whatever you want. You can do Q&A We can get out of here. It doesn’t matter.

Laura Frank  47:52

No, I think everybody can hold out on happy hour. If there are any questions. For Ben, of course, he will be the first one at the bar. If we check this out properly. And you can ask them questions there.

Ben Nicholson  48:06

don’t not send you a text message. Did you hold your accountability partner accountable? Michael? Did you do it? Alright.

J.T. Rooney  48:19

Yeah. QUESTION question. Sorry. Thank you. For the education stuff. Is there any information for anyone here? I mean, you’ve shown all of your passion and all of your interest in this but for framework, is there a way for people to help? Or is that for drink conversations? Yes,

Ben Nicholson  48:36

I don’t want to put it back up. For framework, I would say there is a initiative which is centered around, I’m gonna let you talk about this. About with me. So for framework, we do a new student showcase, which Eric all about, so graciously kind of talked about, that has really mattered. And we’re trying to grow that. And we don’t totally know all the things about it, or what it really means. But we know, we want to bring more people of a younger generation into sort of the fold, so to speak. So to take this organic thing that’s becoming official and trying to get another generation involved. And I think it’s safe to say we’re open to ideas.

Laura Frank  49:14

Yes. So initially, I’ll just say, This fall, we do outreach to educational institutions, we’ve been growing our list. We’ve expanded our list into the UK and Europe. We want to grow internationally. There is talent that needs us and a way to meet us. And so we try and make those introductions possible. We have the students apply. We put together the list and do mixers with companies in the US and Europe in the spring. So when we start outreach, we are looking for more educational institutions to bring in so we can meet more students and then reduce them to this wonderful community. I have a question. Yes. I wanted, I wanted to ask you if you would make a comment or share your thoughts about the difference between training, education and mentorship.

Ben Nicholson  50:22

I think it goes back to Mark Rober. Anybody can go home right now and learn anything they want to. I think the hardest thing is to curate that well and show people what’s relevant. I think it’s a challenge as an instructor, so I do a mix of things. I’ll say, like for my TouchDesigner course, I give them Albert’s his platform, I’m just like, ours, does it better. Go do those tutorials, but bring your projects back. And we’re gonna talk about them. And we’ll work on those projects in the room. I don’t lecture. That’s one of the things I’m I don’t I question that sometimes. But for me, I like to engage and hear what they’re doing and talk about their process and why they’re doing it. Rather than stand up here and be like, okay, to do a Bezier keyframe, hit this button, and then render like that. That’s the beauty of where we all right now as those skills can be created, those skills can be created at home in the dark, or on a weekend. But what they can’t get is how to navigate a problem. I think you talked about this too, which is a huge deal for any of us that our education is getting them into co working in team environments quickly. Because if they’re just at home doing things on YouTube, they don’t know how to work with other people. That’s feedback I’ve gotten from industry, but students that have come out to be like their, their dead ones, somebody else’s in the room. And they have to figure out how to do this together. Right. That’s a great use of the four year degree, I think, is to figure that part out.

Laura Frank  51:49

It’s kind of a leading question too, because I think part of our new talent program is we are taking students who have been through an education, we see all of our colleagues creating these incredible focus training programs. And I think framework wants to position itself as a springboard for mentorship. We have a lot of experience in this room that can be shared that you don’t always know the impact you have on someone just getting started in a quick conversation, or participating in what you guys created during the pin your project.

Ben Nicholson  52:24

I mean, most of those people don’t I would say most a lot of those people don’t even understand that by telling me something or giving me advice on like a simple problem. Like I don’t know, if Matt Ward knew that I was subbing out those Projectors, and he hooked me up with somebody at Epson. And that that turned into a thing that then brought the other thing. And so that was I don’t know, a 30 minute conversation. Yeah. So there are that it’s that kind of impact that I really want you to be aware of is that those interactions are important with one another or with also with students or people that want to be retrained, it could be just directing them. Hey, you know what, this, this platform is really good. You should go use this, right?

Laura Frank  53:06

Yeah, and it’s not just for the students, right? It’s for each other. This this cross disciplinary interaction that we create are the lightbulb moments that allow us to see a new way we do our own work. So I think this is the point, we invite everyone to the bar and have some conversation time so that we can have those exchanges. Tomorrow. We’ll start just before 10am JT and I will be back to tell you a little bit about the day, similar program structure as what you experienced today, and thank you all very much.

Ben Nicholson  53:44



people, students, talk, map, great, jt, framework, teach, gap, college, keyframing, training, job, meant, projection mapping, good, handed, person, learn, talent


J.T. Rooney, Laura Frank, Ben Nicholson