CommLeader Spotlight|Andrew Mitrak, Cohort 13

10658698_886471241393161_2683089286410255723_oGraduation date or expected graduation date: Spring 2015

What exactly do you do professionally or what are your professional goals?

I’m a filmmaker. My short documentaries and narratives have screened internationally and at local film festivals. My advertising work won a Seattle ADDY award. I’m a full-time video producer and photographer at Russell Investments, where I create brand marketing videos and imagery.
My goal is to tell better stories, and to bring these stories to audiences.

How are you directly applying knowledge from the MCDM or MCCN program in your daily life?

My production partner and I are developing a marketing/production company. Rick McPherson’s Business Fundamentals course has been ridiculously useful in guiding me through this process. Rick’s course demystified business plan development, and empowered me with the tools to make this happen.

As a full-time or part-time student, how have classes worked into your schedule?

Classes and course workload force me to budget my time more wisely. The time has to come from somewhere. Sometimes, it means course readings on my bus commutes. Other times, it means I don’t sleep as much as I’d like. But I’m here because I want to be here. It’s worthwhile because it’s mentally stimulating and it’s a fun challenge. Each class is consistently a highlight of my week.

Which classes have had the most impact on you personally and professionally?

Rob Salkowitz’s Visual Narrative & Communication course had a massive impact on me, and it directly led to an amazing professional experience. I created and presented a detailed transmedia project for the course’s final deliverable. Rob responded to my project, and suggested I continue to develop it as part of an independent study over the summer. I took him up on the offer, and Rob continued to mentor me as I developed the story, characters, and universe to package it into a transmedia bible. Rob graciously offered me a ticket to San Diego Comic-Con, where he connected me with a few of his friends in the comics industry. Pretty awesome, right? Well it gets even awesomer.
One morning, I boarded a train en route to the convention. The stranger next to me noticed my Comic-Con badge, and we struck up conversation. It just so happens that this stranger is a development executive at a Hollywood studio. She told me this studio specializes in transmedia experiences. She was attending Comic-Con with her team to strike a transmedia development deal with a sci-fi author. I was thinking, “Whoa! What are the odds??”
I told her about my project, and she was intrigued. We exchanged cards and arranged a time for me to visit the studio so I could make my pitch.
I prepared a script treatment, a pitch deck, and finalized my transmedia bible. I flew down to LA last October to make my pitch. It was one of the most exciting, nerve-wracking experiences of my life.
It actually went well. No, I didn’t make a deal. But the meeting lasted over an hour. It was full of great conversation and feedback. There were moments that my pitch genuinely impressed them. I learned more about what works and what doesn’t. I made a few cool contacts. It was an insanely valuable growth experience, and I’m incredibly lucky it happened.
Now I’m more prepared for the next pitch.

What’s your favorite Comm Lead experience?

Every experience with CommLeaders is a joy. The students, staff, faculty– everyone’s amazing. You’re hard-pressed to find a more talented, motivated, life-loving group.

Career-wise, what is your ultimate digital media goal?

I couldn’t tell you about my “ultimate” goal. In the words of Indiana Jones, “I don’t know, I’m making this up as I go!”
My next goal is to form a production/marketing company. I’m uniquely positioned as well connected to Seattle’s amazingly talented film community, and to many Seattle-based marketers and advertisers. This company will bridge these connections to benefit all parties.
I want to create meaningful work. I want to create it with talented people that I care about.

What digital trends are you most intrigued by right now?

The democratization of everything.

What’s the strangest food you’ve eaten and under what circumstances?

I love burritos with lengua and cabeza. Stick pretty much anything in a burrito, and I’ll eat it with glee.


Ilona IdlisCommLeader Spotlight|Andrew Mitrak, Cohort 13
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