Last year, on this very weekend, my life changed.
I attended the 2015 APTRA Academy in Malibu, CA. The weekend afforded me a great deal of experience that I have carried with me since.
I worked alongside, and learned from, the best in the industry. I also made some friends and met some fantastic folks.
Props to Monica Petruzzelli for being an amazing teammate.
I worked in a state-of-the-art production facility alongside some of the industry's best talent, all on the beautiful campus of Pepperdine University. Here are the results from the weekend:
Our team was proud to learn that we placed first among the anchor teams.
Hal Eisner and the APTRA Academy watching our video.
Throughout the weekend, I was able to learn from a host of amazingly talented professionals, including, Ross Becker, Hal Eisner, Sid Garcia, Jim Holcomb, Tracy Lehr, Bob Tarlau and Michael Murrie. The weekend proved to be a crash course of mentoring that I have carried with me since.
I also met Heather and Holly Yako, who are involved in sports media in Arizona.
If you follow any Phoenix area sports teams, you will most certainly recognize the Yako's. Here is a screen capture from Amazon's All or Nothing, that is Holly Yako in the end zone of the University of Phoenix Stadium chatting up the 'Honey Badger', Tyrann Mathieu
The Yako sisters imparted some fantastic suggestions on how to get my foot into the highly competitive sports media world, which is my passion. I took their advice to heart and independently produced a video covering the American Football without Barriers visit to Cairo, Egypt.
Cleveland Browns Pro-Bowl tight end Gary Barnidge and New York Jets offensive lineman Breno Giacomini - founders of AFWB. Also on the trip were Marshawn Lynch, DeAngelo Williams, Jordan Cameron, Jordan Badimosi and others. Thank you all for being so gracious during your visit.
The video I produced was picked up by the Seattle Seahawks website.
I believe that video gave me a leg up on my competition, which resulted in my winning a coveted intern spot at USA Football as a content creator. I have been writing and editing a ton of content for the past few months and further adding to my vault of experience. I also produced a video for USA Football, which was played on the Cleveland Browns scoreboard during home games this season.
I had scant experience in-front of the camera, or behind the camera, prior to attending APTRA last year. I had never independently shot or edited a video in my life. I had NO experience in sports media.
APTRA sparked my passion.
Since APTRA, I earned certifications in Adobe Premiere and Photoshop as well as AVID Pro Tools. I have also shot and produced numerous videos, while finishing my masters degree in Journalism and Mass Communication at the American University in Cairo..
If anyone is currently attending APTRA, or considering attending, I would highly recommend it. Soak up all of the information you can during your brief time there, it will fly by quickly. Remember, you are rubbing shoulders with those who defined the industry that you are pursuing as a profession. Make sure you ask questions and do even more listening.
As 2016 winds down, I want to take the time to reflect on the amazing journey my last year has been. I especially want to THANK ALL OF YOU who took the time out to impart your experience and help me along my path.
Bob Tarlau, Professor Michael Murrie and Hal Eisner.