Josh Wiese, 2012 alumnus of the Department of Mass Communication, talks about his work as a director and producer for both Northwest Lineman College (NLC) Productions and Windrider Institute, and how his NNU education helped prepare him for success.
Q. Hey Josh, tell me a bit about yourself as an NNU student.
A. I graduated in 2012 with a BA in Mass Communication. Hands down, Arnie (Dr. Ytreeide) was the faculty member who influenced me most during my time at NNU, and on what I have done since. It’s not an uncommon occurrence for me to be sitting in a production meeting and have my mind jump back to specific moments and things I learned in his classes.
Q. How did you end up working as director and producer for Northwest Lineman College Productions and Windrider Institute?
A. I did an internship during my senior year with NLC making training videos in Swahili as part of an initiative to electrify rural Tanzania (random, right?). Fortunately, that opened the door to a full-time job and I started the day after graduation. I now focus primarily on marketing and commercial work.
I began working as a freelance producer/director for Windrider three years ago doing primarily short-form web documentaries in addition to my job at NLC. I actually got the initial contact through Troy Watters, another mass comm graduate, and together we created a series called “The Refuge”, telling stories of refugee women going through a job readiness program developed by a local non-profit called Full Circle Exchange. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to work on several projects, including directing and producing “The New Copernicans”—a 20-part web series. You can check those out online→
Q. Will you tell us about what you do as a producer and director and what you love about your job?
A. I enjoy the whole process of creating and telling stories. When people think about mass communication they often think about Hollywood and making big movies. That’s a viable career option, but that industry is highly specialized, and you often can only focus on one job role. What I love about what I do is being able to be a part of everything from the initial concept, all the way through production, to the final edit and delivery. Every day is something different. It’s extremely rewarding to be able to see a final product that was once just a vision in my head, and it’s equal parts exhilarating and terrifying being able to share those stories with others and see how they impact viewers.
Q. How did your time at NNU prepare you for your current position?
A. It really set the foundation for me. There is so much I learned—not just in my mass comm classes but throughout the whole liberal arts experience—that has helped me develop skills that I use all the time. I feel a little bad sometimes when I remember classes that I told myself were a waste of time because now I am using the things those classes taught me and it makes me better at what I do.
Q. Are there other NNU experiences that have contributed to your success in the mass communication field?
A. It was also extremely helpful to have professors who didn’t just care about you passing their class, but who wanted to set you up for a successful future. Sometimes that meant arranging to miss a class in order to take a freelance job that would be a great addition to my resume. They were willing to work with me through that to not miss an opportunity, and I was able to take some pretty amazing jobs because of it.
Q. What advice would you give to prospective students looking at NNU and considering future careers in mass communication?
A. Spend every free moment you have making yourself better and meeting new people, and take every freelance job you can get to give you more experience. And when you are ready to apply for a job, put everything you have into it. There are too many mediocre people out there looking for a job. Don’t be one of them.
photos courtesy of Jeremy Wiese // NLC Productions