Video producer recommends hands-on experience
By Jessica Turco

"Cut!" the director yells from upon a chair behind the camera. "OK, that's a wrap." If you thought there were a lot of extras in Titanic, multiply that number by 10, and you'll have the number of college students with hopes of shouting those words someday. At least for now, they can run around working as gofers for free and answer to the title of intern.

The hardest part of breaking into the competitive world of music videos, says Alfredo Hernandez the producer/general manager for AV1 Productions in Houston, is "to get in the door -- and once you are in the door, you better go. You better run 100 miles an hour."

Hernandez advises students who are interested in entering the business to be persistent and network. He says the best way to network is to rub elbows with people in the biz at local events such as film festivals or music mixers. "That is a great way to meet people and make connections."

Hernandez is a college student himself at Houston Community College. The 24-year-old has studied all mediums of communication from print journalism to radio to video production -- his preference. He says it takes trial and error for communication majors to find the field in which they'll be most productive and satisfied. "Get an internship in all of them," he says.

"Oh, they'll know what they like then," he says. "Being an intern, you will sit back and see how everything works."


AV1 just finished production with the group Juvenile, under Cash Money Records, whose newest hit, "Back That Azz Up" has hit the top of the charts.

Hernandez says AV1 has worked with many multi-platinum names and has produced videos for BET. The interns are involved in every step of the way he says.

"I don't play around; I put them out there. There is no point in putting them in the office."

And sometimes an internship might not be that involved but he suggests that students stick it out. "Stay positive. You got to see what happens because you never know what's going to happen next."

Although the budding producer is extremely satisfied in this line of work, he doesn't deny the challenges.

"Dealing with clients can be very challenging, because you never know what to expect. They could be nice one day, and the next day you can get a real handful," he says.

In the music business, he says, it's not uncommon for clients to show up to work drunk, high or running behind schedule. He says students need exposure to these situations, as well as hands-on technical skills, for a well-rounded education.

"Dealing with clients is one of the best hands-on skills that interns learn here that they don't learn in the classroom," Hernandez says.

Unfortunately that "good experience" is not exactly pleasant. Last week, Hernandez says, one of the company's female interns was verbally harassed by a male artist. "He was being vulgar, and she got upset," he says, "but we tell them ahead of time that these people can unfortunately be like that."

A taste of the business, bitter or sweet, is always positive though. "From what I've heard and seen, kids aren't learning enough in the classroom," he says.