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08-10-10

Alumni Update – Nathan Chase

Nathan Chase
Graduated: 2001
Major: BA in Digital Arts-Art
Website: nathanchase.com/portfolio

Q: What did you do after graduation and what are you doing now?
A: After graduation I moved to Orlando, married fellow Stetson alum Kristin Josephson (’01), and was employed at a video/multimedia production company (Eagle Productions) as a multimedia jack-of-all-trades doing web & print design, Flash development, video editing, voiceover recording sessions, live studio audio, CD-ROM development, VR 360 photography, and on-location production for documentaries, commercials, and other video projects. I then transitioned into a new role at the American Safety Council (also in Orlando) in 2004 – responsible for their graphic design and front-end web development, as well as extensive in-house production of online video.

I also co-founded a web startup with another Stetson alum, Jeremy Thompson (’01), to create our movie-ranking website,Flickchart that’s been featured by MicrosoftMashableLifehackerCinematical, & others, and we’re now nearly 60,000 members strong in less than one year after our launch.

My son Cameron was born in 2008, and in addition to my work with Flickchart I’m now working exclusively as a freelancer doing web design, print design, and social media consulting for several clients in Central Florida – while balancing fatherly duties at home. We’re expecting a baby girl this December.

Oh, and I’m also a drummer in an indie/electronic/rock band called The Pauses, and we’ll be releasing our debut album later this year.

Q: Did you ever see yourself doing what you are doing now when you  took DIGA 101?
A: I knew pretty early on that I wanted to be a professional designer, so I think being in DIGA101 in 1997-1998 was a great time as it was the pioneer days for the Internet. There was no YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook – so it was a different time. It’s hard to say if anyone could have predicted what the Internet would become, but I’ve enjoyed the ride getting to where we are now and finding new ways to constantly innovate. I can recall one of my professors (I won’t name names) who swore Macromedia Director was the future of the Internet. Now, neither Director or Macromedia exist, and even its successor Adobe Flash is on its way out to make way for HTML5 and web standards. The work is still as interesting and innovative as it’s ever been for me, so I certainly feel like I’ve made the right choice for the line of work I’ve settled in to.

Looking back, I do think that DIGA101 was probably one of the most enjoyable classes I took at Stetson. I even have one of my videos from a DIGA101 assignment up on YouTube. Long hours waiting for video effects to render. I remember being in the lab staying awake all night, just to have it finish right before class started. Students today would be baffled by how long the simplest things used to take back then.

Q: What advice do you have for someone taking DIGA101 right now?
A: The best thing anyone can do while in college is to soak up as much information as you can from those around you – especially your classmates and your professors. Find the “best” person in you class, impress them, and collaborate with them. Challenge yourself to not take the easy way out. Constantly ask questions. Experiment. Try to do things that have never been done before. Don’t get caught up with learning specific software, because it will always be changing. Learn how to learn, quickly. Adaptation will be the key to success in a digital media career. The ability to immediately reacclimate yourself to new environments, new platforms, new hardware, new colleagues, new challenges are what will truly set yourself apart once you exit academia and begin your “real life”.

Q: What’s the best thing you learned studying Digital Arts @ Stetson?
A: I really liked the more experimental classes, where we worked in software like Max/MSP and CSound, because it allowed you to focus on what goes into creating sound at both a creative and technical level simultaneously. It’s exciting to be able to dive into the properties of what makes up crazy, warped sounds and figure out the mechanics of why they sound so awesome. I unfortunately don’t get to use that software now in my career, but the structure of those classes – and most of the other Digital Arts classes at Stetson – gave me the confidence to look under the hood. To get beyond the surface level and dig deeper into the reasons behind every decision you make when you’re under the influence of the creative process. I couldn’t have imagined being able to choose a better undergraduate program.

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