Question: What do the states of New Mexico and Georgia have in common?
Answer: Barton Bond and film technician training programs.
Bond has come to Georgia and Clayton State University from New Mexico with 45 years of experience working in electronic media – the last 25 of which focused on teaching at community colleges. In 2003 he developed and taught the first, and only, film technician training program in the country. However, that will change when the Bond-designed continuing education (CE) program at Clayton State kicks off in February 2014.
The two-part CE (as opposed to an academic program) Digital Film Technician Certificate program is designed to introduce students to the production of digital media and film. Digital Film Tech Training I, scheduled to launch on Feb. 18, 2014 for the evening course and Mar. 3, 2014 for the day course, is designed for students with no background in digital media, as well as those students with some experience or coursework in the field. Digital Film Tech II, which will start in the summer of 2014, is a follow-up course designed to help students achieve a level of film/media production skills that will promote employability and/or the ability to become independent contractors.
The program mirrors the academic, credit course designed by Bond and implemented with much success in New Mexico. According to Bond, that program was created in response to a pressing need for qualified crew members to staff the numerous Hollywood-based films being shot in New Mexico – and it serves as a basis for the Digital Film Technician Training Program at Clayton State.
Bond points out that the unique part of his New Mexico coursework was the opportunity for students to work on actual productions… a feature that helped lead to a remarkable success story, and will be duplicated at Clayton State.
“It was the hallmark of what we did in New Mexico,” he says. “The students got to work on productions all the way to full blown feature films. After five years, there was not a single piece shot in New Mexico that hadn’t had hired some of our students.
“Our biggest success was `Breaking Bad.’ In its last season, we counted 40 percent of the below line crew were our former or current students.”
Although New Mexico was the first state to have a loan package as part of its incentive package to attract films from Hollywood, creating what Bond terms “instant interest” in films coming to New Mexico, he also says that Georgia’s present involvement in the film industry already surpasses New Mexico’s.
“I’m regularly taken aback by how many parallels there are between New Mexico and Georgia,” he says. “But I sincerely believe Georgia is ahead of New Mexico in several aspects of its growth in the film and media industry. Georgia is further ahead in the development of its industry at this point.
“The film industry follows the dollar. There’s no two ways about it, Georgia is way ahead in terms of infrastructure for the film industry. Other states have had plans, but they haven’t done anything. Georgia is well-positioned to be a leader in the development of infotainment world, including feature films, TV, cable, all internet, gaming, the use of digital media for training, medically-related and industrial-related training projects.”
Further, Bond says that Clayton State is positioned to be a leader, not just in the state, but in the nation.
“The picture at Clayton State is that enlightened, forward thinking is likely to make Clayton State a leader, if not the leader in the country, in the type of training we are doing,” he predicts, noting the efforts of both Executive Director of Continuing Education Janet Winkler, and Clayton State President Dr. Thomas Hynes.
Bond relates the series of events that now brings him to Georgia. Hynes originally met with Bobby Vazquez, former president of Local 479 of IATSE, who shared with him a description of the New Mexico courses and requested that Clayton State provide training for the union members and to create a training program for people interested in a career as a technical crew member.
Hynes then asked Winkler to respond to Vazquez’ request and made the introduction to the president of Central New Mexico Community College, who introduced Winkler to Bond. Over the course of the past year, Bond has provided guidance for launching the program. Winkler is also introducing him to large network of professionals in Georgia who have expressed interest in collaborating with Clayton State to ensure the success of the program.
Bond began his media career at the tender age of 15 at a little radio station in Taos, N.M., and worked in production and management at public radio and television stations in New Mexico, central California and Idaho. Those stations won several national and regional awards for programming, fund-raising and audience development.
He began his teaching career in 1987 at Santa Fe Community College, where he developed academic programs in electronic media production and digital media. He holds B.A. in Communication from New Mexico State University and also had more than 50 hours of graduate credits in communication and business administration.
He has served on numerous local, state and national media and technology advisory groups and has made presentations at several national conferences.
Although not directly related to his film training credentials, it is also worth noting that Bond and his wife Joyce have a lot of hands-on experience in training – they have six-year-old triplets.