DIGITAL BUSINESS: Film Guy Vs Accounting Guy

As a graduate of Boston College who attempted to make sense of an Accounting and Film degree, I began by playing a bit of word association when it came to “Digital Business:”  

The film guy in me immediately thought, “Facebook Videos,” the Accounting guy in me thought, “Paid Social,” but the combination of the two often thinks – how do I make a living out of this?

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In the form of many different blog posts, that’s the crux of the various topics I explore this semester will all have the underlying question: what is the future of digital advertising, and what is my place in it?  What will jobs in marketing and filmmaking look like in the future?  Should I keep playing with my camera or would I have better luck sticking to debits and credits?

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Although I likely have a very marketing/video biased view of digital business, these are the questions I’m bringing into this class, knowing they’ll probably seem either insignificant, irrelevant, or poorly phrased by the end:

  1. Are videos effective marketing tools, or flashy media with view counts that’s easy for marketers to hang their hat on?
  2. What are the success factors of digital videos and commercials?  Is it story, length, style, or even song choice?  Is it time of posting and number of Facebook followers?  Are we all victim to Facebook’s algorithms, can we cheat the system, and is it really all about “pay to play”?
  3. What is the key to digital ad buying and social campaigns?  How do you spend the right amount to really add value?
  4. What will the ad agency of the future look like, if at all?  Will large agencies still rule, or will small creative shops and freelance content creators seize the day?
  5. What elements of marketing and branding will be immune to changes in platform and technology?
  6. What skills do I need to learn to stay relevant and be effective in marketing?
  7. Will a BC MBA offer me that skillset, or is experience, networking, and creative risk-taking a much better endeavor?

Clearly, when I think of digital business, I think of digital advertising.  And though I’ve been exposed to other “digital business” things like IT databases, big data, information systems, data-driven manufacturing, cloud computing – it all sounded not only daunting, but outright boring.  And that’s why I decided to play with cameras instead of audit IT systems, even if I’ll end up making half the money doing it!

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When it comes to this class, I really hope to push myself with the blogs, and make them opportunities to actually research things I’ve wanted to learn, instead of saying, “that’s my new year’s resolution to learn” and never actually getting around to doing it.  I could procrastinate with video tutorials and compare specs on cameras and lenses for hours on end, but I often need to force myself to do the marketing, analytics, and business-minded legwork I aspire to learn – and that’s what I hope this class will force me to do.  I want to develop the skills of a digital entrepreneur, and even better, try to align to future digital trends.

I also really hope to be proven totally wrong by this class.  I hope I leave thinking that my “digital business = digital marketing” was pathetically narrow, and that the possibilities for the kinds of jobs, livelihoods, and companies that might exist in the future are radically different than I might have expected.  And though it might prove to be the total opposite, I’m hoping this class might provide some reassurance for the path I decided to take after graduation.  With a choice between Risk Advisory Accounting and Filmmaking for an alma mater I love, I opted to play with cameras.  The question will be, how do I make this sustainable?  How can this choice make not only a difference for myself, but others too?

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Lastly, I hope to form not just a network, but friendships, from this class.  Since putting myself out there in the video and digital world, I’ve been blown away be people’s creativity and passion – often realizing it’s quite a ground for friendship and exciting collaborations.  I think the upside and ceiling for this class is infinite if I can put in the time and effort, but it’ll be a complete waste of time if my blog posts meet the same fate as overpriced gym membership purchases in January.  Most importantly, I hope this class will challenge me, make me more aware of the world around me, change the way I think about the world, my career, my passions, and open my eyes to how they all intersect.

 

4 comments

  1. roarkword · ·

    I totally agree with wanting this class to reorient the common view that digital business = digital marketing; it’s an opinion I can admit to having subscribed to early on in my business school experience and only two classes in I can tell it will be proven false handily. I also hope that common passions and creativity will interact for great networking and creating new friendships; putting yourself out there seems to be a focal point of this class so it would be a waste to not go out on a limb and make new relationships.

  2. mariaknoerr · ·

    I am excited to hear about your experience working so directly with specific aspects of digital business. Combining a film and accounting academic background seems unconventional but just crazy enough to work in a really cool way. I am always impressed by people who can skillfully use both the left and right sides of their brain so well! While I am sure there is more to learn beyond digital marketing, your personal insights are sure to be more relevant since you are actually doing this outside of the classroom. Like you, I’m sure that there are boundaries I am placing on my expectations that will soon be blown away.

  3. realjakejordon · ·

    Great post John. I think I definitely share your narrow mindset on digital business. I’m excited to see how my own perspective changes in this class, but as someone who’s been sort of following you transition from accounting to filmmaking I am excited to see how adding a deeper understanding of digital business to your arsenal effects your filmmaking down the line. I also appreciate you highlighting the relationship based side of this class. I think as a junior I am especially looking forward to getting outside the bubble of only hanging out with and talking to other twenty year olds.

  4. Nice post. Students have told me that they get to know students in this class better than in their other ones, because of the interactive component. I also think you’re REALLY going to like the guest speaker next week. She’s going to speak your language.

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