Julia Mechler Olivares

Major: Art
Year of Graduation: 2009
Current Position:  Multimedia/Graphic Designer, NIS America, Santa Ana, CA

Please give a brief description of your current position.
My position involves authoring and menu design for Blu-ray and DVD for Japanese Anime. I create streaming videos for Hulu and other online streaming sites as well as create advertising trailer videos for anime and tutorial videos for Japanese video games for PlayStation and other game consoles. 

What path did you follow to arrive to this position?
I've always wanted to work in the industry where I could use the digital video skills I learned from CSB/ SJU, but it was difficult initially when I graduated due to the bad economy.  I worked at a couple of different jobs both full time and part time, and registered with a staffing agency who introduced me to a Japanese video game/anime company to work as a translator.  When I went for an interview, the manager saw my video editing skills on my resume and asked if I would be interested in working with the Motion Graphics department.  I showed them my video portfolio on YouTube and was granted a job as a Motion Graphics designer.

What advice/suggestions would you have for students who might be interested in your career?
Keep all your past works. Whether it was just an experimental video you made in class, or a video you made on your own time.  Do not be afraid to post them on YouTube, so they are always readily available to show to the employer who is interested in you. Most companies will not accept CD or DVD formatted portfolio now a days.  Make sure you have an online portfolio. 

What skills are important in your field?
Make sure to keep up to date on software skills such as Final Cut Pro, After Effects, Premier, and Photoshop.  Writing and verbal skills will also be necessary to explain the videos you create and when you interact with a third party company.  Organizational skills will be important to keep all the assets needed to create videos since the amount of data you'll handle will be 100 times more than the projects you do in college.

What are the most challenging and satisfying parts of your job?
The challenging part is multi-tasking; you will have many projects to work on.  This is especially true before summer, since most video games and anime will be published during summer time for teenagers on summer vacation. The satisfying parts are when you hear or read positive customer reviews online after the projects you've worked on are published, or when the sales of the projects you've worked on are high.

What activities/experiences were helpful at CSB/SJU (and elsewhere) in preparation for your current career?
All of the classes related to video and critique done in all art classes.  Critiques were helpful because I had to explain my artwork verbally to the audience; this is what I always need to do when creating advertisement trailer videos.  Also, my senior thesis class prepared me to be a professional artist with the creation of portfolios and essays.