July 24, 2008

Black Turtle 101: Interview with Dr. Douglas Lawrence

Please describe your current position.

I am the Chair of the Communication Arts Department at Marywood University and the Owner of Bright Day International Productions.

What schools did you attend and what were your areas of focus?

I studied Mass Communications at Antioch College, Advanced Directing at HB Studios, NYC and Communication Arts at Marywood University. I also received a Ph.D. in Health Communication from Union Graduate School.

Please describe your work experience in advertising, media and/or film?

As a Documentary Producer my projects included work for The Department. of Education, commercial clients and my latest Documentary shot on HD, titled “Sacred Rituals” .

I'm also a music composer and producer. I received a Grammy nomination for Music in the Spoken Word Category. I've also completed numerous scores and compositions.

What are some of the best lessons you’ve learned about the industry?

Make sure to meet as many people as you can. Always, maintain a high level of quality to every piece of work you do. Take a business class.

Please name one person in the field who has influenced your career and why.
Miles Davis. He was a personal mentor and shared a great deal of experience with me.

What direction do you see the industry moving in the next decade?

Faster and more accessible ways of delivering product to consumers including virtual three D programming.

What are the major changes that have impacted the industry in your opinion?

Without question the access to affordable production equipment.

What classes do you teach at your university?

Advanced video as film production. Audio production, Media scripting, Leadership in Communication, Media Performance and Media Management.

What are the most important things that students must do to be a success in the field?

Present themselves as professional and maintain a sense of honesty and integrity. Practice interviewing and gain good communication skills. Do good work that is competitive and marketable.

What are your opinion on user-generated advertising and film? How do you advise your students on this trend?

Any where messages can be created using media is an opportunity for another voice to be heard. However, research is an important part of creating user generated productions. It is important to develop the story-lines and make sure the message is clear.

What advice do you give to students who are looking to break into the field?

Network, Network, Network. Join groups such as Black Turtle and create a honest representation or your skills. Never promise something you cannot deliver. Stick to what you know for know and do it well.

What kind of projects do you encourage your students to pursue outside of the classroom?

I am a big advocate of research.

What is the most important thing someone should know if they decide to pursue a career in the field.

The competition is growing but there is always work. People choose this industry not only for the money but for the passion it delivers to the human spirit. It is exciting and engaging. Hang in there, work will come soon.