Film Connection student Michael Jessop goes full-time in Colorado Springs

Film Connection student Michael Jessop reflects on the challenges he faced in trying to break into film production through the traditional school channels in his hometown of Colorado Springs, Colorado.

“Through the traditional system, the problem was that all of the businesses were looking for work experience,” he says. “I mean, about two to four years of production experience. And you really couldn’t get that through a normal college system like what I went through.”

So when he discovered the Film Connection offered an on-the-job training program in his local area, he felt this was the answer he was looking for.

“I decided to go ahead and try it out,” he says. “Within a week of contacting Film Connection—I was amazed at how quickly I was able to get into an apprenticeship with a local company.”

Placed with Film Connection mentor John Lancaster of Castland Productions in Colorado Springs, CO, Michael decided early on to use his apprenticeship as a gateway to possibly working himself into a job. He had a little prior experience, so he picked up quickly, particularly in the area of video editing. It didn’t take long for Michael’s mentor to view him seriously as an asset to the company.

“In terms of the curriculum, he wanted to help speed that process,” says Michael. “When I completed that objective, he was expecting it, but he was also pretty glad that I was able to quickly learn the things that he wanted me to learn.”

Under his mentor’s advice, Michael set up his own production company, Multimedia AMDG, and work with him as a subcontractor, rather than hiring him as an employee, so he would be free to expand his work to other clients. “He wanted me to start my own little business, just so I can also promote myself in the process,” says Michael.

Within three months of starting with the Film Connection, Michael then had his own production company and had a full-time workload of projects, not just with video editing, but with other graphic related work. “It’s 80% video editing and 20% production work or other,” he says. “Even though I’m the video editor, in my spare time, when they don’t have clients currently on the list, they assign me to do web design for them for helping build up their websites, or help create more projects to promote Castland Productions.

Before finding the Film Connection, Michael had learned some skills in the traditional college system, but had zero connection to the actual production industry. Now through his apprenticeship at Castland, Michael is working full-time doing what he loves.

“It worked out more than I ever imagined,” he says. “It has been a great blessing for me, because if I had not found out about the Film Connection, I couldn’t imagine what I would be doing right now.”


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