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New Education Group

Aaron Ly

02 Apr 2017

Digital Video Lead, MediaWorks Radio

"Creative people are notoriously the slowest to adopt new technology. If you’re creative and technical, you're unstoppable"
- Robert Rodriguez


I’d graduated from Victoria University in film and media, and was freelancing as a camera op/editor shooting music videos, short films and web video for corporate/event coverage. I’m always looking to improve as a filmmaker, and felt I could really benefit from up-skilling in post-production and design. I did my research, checked out work from past Yoobee graduates, and felt like this was the right place for me. Funnily enough the first Yoobee course I did was Web Development, as I saw it as the way of the future and a desirable skill to have, and I thought maybe I could incorporate that skill set into my own career. I enjoyed the new challenge but it wasn’t for me and straight after I jumped onto the Digital Video and Animation course and then the Digital Filmmaking course.

I really grew as a filmmaker during my time at ACG Yoobee. I developed a lot more confidence in my technical abilities, and became more resourceful and patient in the development of my ideas. I enjoyed going back to school and having the time to focus on just studying and practicing new skills. In a class, you’re given specific projects with specific deadlines. You also get instruction, access to equipment and feedback from classmates. It’s a great environment to practice – you are free to make mistakes and test your ideas. There was also a lot of variety in the courses which I really enjoyed, because it meant developing new skills and studying a little bit of everything. I never thought I’d have the opportunity to design a sea creature in Maya, or composite a scene in Nuke. As a filmmaker the greatest asset you have is your creativity, so if you have the confidence in your ideas and technical skills to see it through, that’s incredibly valuable.

“The highlights of my Yoobee studies were making two short films in the Digital Filmmaking course – The Comedian and Plane Spotting. I got to execute what I’d learnt at Yoobee, and make two shorts that were quite personal to me. I won the ACG Yoobee Excellence Awards 2014 (Motion Individual Award) for The Comedian. It’s the first film prize I’ve ever won! The film still needs some work but I’m stoked it got recognised. The lasting friendships I made were another big highlight. Nobody makes a film alone.

During my studies I freelanced as a cinematographer for several low budget music videos and short films, and I also had the chance to be involved in occasional freelance projects like the Hope Project NZ. After graduating, I worked as a Junior VFX artist at Park Road Post and then landed a job with MediaWorks (TV3) in the new digital/TV content team. I got an email from an old Yoobee classmate from web development about the role. He was working at MediaWorks as a front end developer and suggested I apply for it. MediaWorks was serious about growing its digital presence, so the role was newly established. I realised my varied skill set was suited to it, and there was an opportunity to make the role my own. After completing a few tasks to prove my worth, MediaWorks offered me the job, so I moved up to Auckland.

As online video editor/producer I was responsible for producing, shooting and editing video content to help promote our local productions, specifically for the web -social media and our fan-zones (mini websites for each show). There were two main tasks of the role – curating the best content from the show, and producing shareable and entertaining videos, inspired by fans and content from the show. It meant working closely with the online editors, marketing and TV producers to execute the digital strategy for each show.  It was a lot of fun! I learnt a lot about how the television industry works and how social media can affect us, and I got to work across shows like The Bachelor NZ, The Block NZ, Dancing with the Stars, Family Feud and 7 Days.

Now 18 months down the track I’ve moved into a new role and am now the digital video lead for MediaWorks Radio, producing ideas for both brand and client videos and leading the digital content producers to develop highly engaging and shareable digital video content. This means working across some of the most popular stations in NZ – The Edge, The Rock, Mai FM, More FM, The Sound, The Breeze and Magic.

As for the future? This industry is so volatile, who knows where I’ll end up! Film is where I began, and I didn’t expect to be working in TV and radio. But as long as I have the opportunity to produce content that connects with a lot of people – without compromising who I am as a creative – I’ll be fulfilled. It doesn’t matter what the platform is, feature films, TV, online…I’ve always been a storyteller at heart. It’s all the same to me! In saying that, there’s a lot of awesome video content being produced online so that’s another avenue I will continue to explore. That could include a move overseas, which is definitely on the cards!”

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