Full Sail

Just Launched: Digital Arts & Design Grad Mike Russo

In FSBlog’s Just Launched feature, we talk to brand new Full Sail grads, right out the door from graduation, about what’s next for them as they head out into the workforce. This month’s Just Launched graduate is Mike Russo.

Degree Program : Digital Arts & Design

Graduation Date: February 6, 2015

First Job: My first internship was at Cybis Communications in downtown Orlando. I worked alongside the creative director there for 5 months creating show graphics and 12 screen edits for the Mall of Millenia. It was my first time ever working in a production studio and I knew from there it's what I was going to be doing the rest of my life.

Towards the end of my degree, some friends and I decided to combine our talents and open up a digital creative agency called White Ibis. We represented the Web Design, Recording Arts, and Digital Arts & Design programs, and we wanted to show other students what was possible while still in school. We had the opportunity to work with some great clients, and along the way we learned how to manage a company. One of the partners got a job in another city, so we put White Ibis on hold last year. But it remains a passion and a goal of ours, and we intend on keeping it alive in different ways. The video below is from our demo reel.

How You Got Your Foot in the Door: I always knew that I wanted to have a job lined up for myself prior to graduating. While visiting my hometown about six months back, something clicked and I knew that I wanted to work in the New York City area. I was still six months away from graduating from Full Sail, but I went ahead an applied to some studios out of curiosity. I worked on perfecting my resume; I made a new demo reel, and I tried to sell myself to potential employers. One of the companies I heard back from was Eyeview, and after a handful of interviews I decided to act on the amazing opportunity in front of me. Even though Digital Arts & Design is a campus program, my advisors and instructors worked with me to figure out a solution for completing my final classes remotely. I’ve been working at Eyeview as a Motion Designer ever since. I’ve been able to create spots for Fortune 500 companies including Walgreens, Staples, Best Buy, CVS, and many more. Each day is filled with creative challenges and opportunities.

Short-Term Goals: I still see myself working as a motion designer in NYC. Most importantly, I want these next couple years to be focused on perfecting my craft in animation and making myself known in the industry.

Down the Road: This is a tough one to nail down, mostly because I feel like the opportunities in front of me are endless. I’d love to work in another market like L.A. at some point. Maybe I’ll own my own studio one day, or my buddies and I will resurrect White Ibis. One thing I do know is that I’ll never stop learning and growing in this industry. I’ve had an amazing 3 years, and Full Sail has helped me grow as an artist. Ultimately, I’ll always love what I do, whatever shape that takes.

Check out Mike's latest demo reel.

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