Specs Howard Blog

Specs Grad Story: Austin Peltier

Posted on Fri, May 3, 2013


Austin Petleir, Specs Howard, Graduate

By Austin Peltier I had a curious 'guiding' if you will into having a passion for film. All events occurred during my High School career. As a youngin' I had an immense imagination and would always be creating new worlds and scenarios in my mind and watch them play out in the clouds, while laying on the grass in my backyard. Per my creativity and also fascination/love for video games I supposed I would become some level of animator, graphics designer that I might have an unlimited medium in which to fill with my creativity. I pursued every computer class my school had to offer and learned all sorts of invaluable skills with electronics and programming.  

In High School I also began to write a lot. I'm not sure how it started exactly, but I began writing short stories and poems. I was encouraged by my teachers and I really enjoyed the positive reinforcement. In the same period of time, I was assigned many video projects in my classes including in science, literature, and creative writing. Soon enough I began getting a lot of positive reinforcement on my video projects and when new projects came up, other kids in the class were always wanting to be in my group.  Thus the decision was made within me that I could do film and still fulfill my cravings for unlimited creativity. 

So I began pursuing a career in film. Many of people I talked to had no idea how to begin doing this type of thing, they gave me the simple "move to hollywood" answer as no one knew better. So I kept talking to people and devising how I might find this secret society of filmmakers, surely I couldn't be the only one in town. 

In the mean time I attended community college, figuring I would transfer to a university with a film program. Turns out I couldn't stand school any longer, I felt like I was lied to about how college was supposed to work. So I dropped out, to the utmost discouragement of my parents, and again got back to wondering how I could make a career out of film making. Then along came Specs Howard School.

I was delivering sandwiches down the road from Specs Howard. I had heard about them before and was curious about their program but was honestly skeptical about enrolling because it wasn't a 'traditional' college and I worried what people would think of me going to a vocational school rather than a university. 

I decided to talk to some people in admissions about the logistics of attending, including financial aid, career placement and tried to wrap my mind around making the decision to go to Specs. In the midst of these conversations, before I knew it I was enrolled and attending!

After attending Specs Howard, I began working at a studio and I was painting walls for approximately 12 hours a day.  I was spending all my time, not sure what would come of this opportunity, not making any money at the moment while all my money was drying up rapidly. Having barely survived that stint of work I got back to delivering sandwiches. During this time I got looped in with a company, training to shoot corporate videos in Cleveland. I worked with them for about 4 months before they no longer needed my services. During this period I was also fortunate to start getting into the indie film scene a bit and worked on a few cool, small projects. 

Then finally I got my make it or break it opportunity, at least it felt that way at the time! I was standing on a ladder painting the side of a house when I got a call from MTV to work on a new TV show in the Detroit area, boooooyaaaaaa! I left the side of the house half painted and started packing my things to go do an MTV job!

On the MTV gig I was a production assistant, I was initially adopted by the audio department and was getting taught how to put microphones on people and how to hang a boom, etc. I then got pulled into the camera department which was really where I wanted to be and I started learning the tricks of the trade in camera world!  I was breaking my back to impress the higher ups and luckily I accomplished just that. I was invited by one of the producers of the show to work on another show in New York, which is ultimately where I wanted to live. So now here I am, a nobody from nowhere, getting an invitation from a producer to work on his show in New York! 

From there I would say the rest is history. I got to New York, I worked hard, always trying to impress people, doing an amazing job and striving always to learn more and do better. Certainly I went through a lot of trials trying to literally SURVIVE New York, going through a period of time where I couldn't find any work so I sold my camera and lenses to pay rent. I barely ate any food and if I was eating it was ramen, rice, or beans.

Eventually the film/ TV season picked back up, I was back on the grind and working as much as possible. Now I hold regular jobs as a Lead Assistant Camera for major TV Network shows and I am on the brink of becoming a camera operator.

I plan on using the money I make in the industry to start producing my own films and videos, enter those into film festivals and have them screened at galleries or whatever may come of them. Living the dream, and pushing the dream further still.

For more graduate stories click here

Topics: Career Service, Grad Stories, Specs Howard, Specs Grads, Broadcast Media Arts

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