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DRIVEN: Recent ACU graduate lands job at MTV

By Sienna Miller



Driven-to be urged onward; impelled: The creative individual is a driven man. He has an inner compulsion to bring something new into the world . Few words can be found to describe an individual like Gary Hamilton. Originally from Houston Texas, Hamilton graduated from Abilene Christian University in May of 2004. With his eyes focused on a degree in Broadcast Journalism, the skies have been the limit for Mr. Hamilton.When asked {{more}} how he became interested in his present profession, he tells about this revelation. Hamilton shares that he has always been interested in television as well as music. “I got my first taste when I was in the fourth grade. I did a commercial on Endangered Species…kind of like a public service announcement that aired on a local paramount t.v. Station, now called UPN.” says Hamilton. He tells that he read from a teleprompter at the time. “Not knowing that years later I would actually be involved in TV production!” Once this seed had been planted, there was no stopping his young mind as he moved on through junior high and then high school. It was there, in high school that a true impression was made “I was the lead reporter for a little high school journalism program. I was doing the announcements everyday and it kind of stuck.” Hamilton adds. After that he says he could not see himself doing anything else except television. Abilene Christian University helped to further his pursuit of success. While an undergraduate student there…Hamilton was the President of the National Black Actors Society for the ACU Chapter. “I was on the Student Advisory Council, which was on the national board.” Adds Hamilton. Here he helped to make decisions that would affect all of the chapters around the US. He hosted a variety of segments on both the Fox and UPN stations here in Abilene. “I did everything from Sports to Entertainment”, says Hamilton. He appreciates the opportunities at ACU that gave him direct hands on experience. “If you want to do something…no matter what it is, the opportunities are there, you just have to take advantage of them. I’ve always been a self-starter and a go-getter…and ACU is great for that.” Hamilton talks about the size of ACU and feels that it gave him a greater advantage over some of the bigger schools. “It’s a small university, so you get to do a lot more. At ACU I was already on the editing machines, my freshman year!” He is especially thankful to ACU Professor J.R. Kessler who taught him how to edit as soon as he got there, so that he could edit his own packages. Hamilton mentions how this helped him to excel by the time that he took the actual classes for these skills. Suzanne Kessler a member of the National Advisory Counsel and Dr. Larry Bradshaw who also work for ACU, were instrumental in helping make this ambition of Hamilton’s become real! While an undergrad at Abilene Christian University, Hamilton did not take his summers lightly. He used those times to complete internships with reputable companies and powerful media sources. “I interned with Channel 2 in Houston which is an NBC affiliate. I also interned with Black Entertainment Television with 106 & Park in New York. In addition to some of the television stations that he interned with, Hamilton also worked with radio stations. These included stations in and around the Houston Area such as Magic 102 and 97.9 the BOX which is a hip hop and R&B station. With such an ambition and his sights set on higher things, Hamilton relentlessly took one opportunity after another in order to reach his present career status. Hamilton considers all of his success to be a blessing to him, but it has not come easy. He reminisced on the speech given during his commencement ceremony remembering that the speaker said that many there believed that they had their lives all figured out and planned. The speaker then said that it is not going to all go just like you planned. It won’t all be ABCD and E. Hamilton said that at that point he kind-of tuned the speaker out. After all, in his own mind, he had his own thoughts concerning his future. “I said you’re not talking to me, because I know exactly what’s going to happen, I was going to go work for a major company…” says Hamilton. “The day came and I had nothing.” He states. Hamilton speaks of the several months following his graduation. “I’d send out tapes and I’d apply and still…I had nothing.” He says how disheartening this time in his life was. According to him, he was supposed to have a job right after school. “I see it now…it was God humbling me.”Hamilton adds. He said that for about six months he did not have a job in the field he had gone to school for. With all of the honors and experience he had, the thought of him with no job was a rude awakening. “I ended up having to substitute teach to pay bills and then work at Wal- mart overnight.” Hamilton said that he’d work at Wal-mart from 10PM until around 6:30AM in the morning. After leaving that job, he’d put on another hat in order to be ready to meet kids between 7 and 8 AM for substitute teaching. He would leave that job around 4:00PM to run errands, sleep until 10PM and then repeat. Hamilton did this for approximately 4 months. He now sees that during that time, God was getting him ready for his blessing at NBC while humbling him in the process. He makes mention that this is important for others to know. While he would like to still encourage confidence in one’s self…he cautions boasting about what you think you’re going to do. Hamilton reiterates that God has a way of humbling us, and that he still feels humbled to this day. Not forgetting those days behind him, he realizes that they were all a part of his journey to his present success.Hamilton says that his first job after college in the business itself, was with NBC. He tells of the pursuit of this dream and the things that he has experienced while pursuing it. Hamilton began working for NBC as a Page which is a position that lasts for a year. As a page he and others were given two-month assignments in the field of journalism that could later help them to get in a higher position. The program is highly competitive and very distinguished in the television industry. “The program is only open to about 50 or 60 workers at a time,” says Hamilton. He goes on to mention this…“The idea is that NBC is investing in you to be the future of NBC.” Hamilton says that while the program caps at 60, those people later leave in order to make room for new Pages. With the high competition here, Hamilton tells that you can leave any time that you want during the program, but once you do leave…you can’t come back. Hamilton adds, “It’s like once you’re out, you’re out.” As Hamilton explains the page opportunity, he makes it clear that a person in the position of a page must show dedication in his or her character. In every great achievement, there is a process. “97% of all Pages get a job in the industry!” says Hamilton. He mentions that a lot of Pages stay at NBC, but some go on to work with other forms of media. “Pages are all over.” Hamilton adds. Knowing this information can give one hope for all of the hard work they put in as a Page. Hamilton says that many “greats” have traveled the road of being a Page “Regis Fillman, from Regis & Kelly, he was an NBC Page back in the day. Michael Eisner- President of Disney, he was a Page.” Hamilton shares. “They get about 10,000 applications a year…they can only hold 60 people. It’s a highly competitive job.”As a Page Hamilton has taken on many assignments all of which would make anyone feel honored. Some of those assignments have included Dateline NBC w/ Anne Curry and the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While at NBC, Hamilton also worked with N D Promotions, a music video making company. This company represented a lot of reggae artists, southern hip hop artists along with a few R&B artists as well. Some of the artists he worked with in this capacity included Mike Jones, Paul Wall, Jaheim, and Sean Paul.Simply “driven” is how many would describe Hamilton. With all that he has done so far I asked him what he feels has been his greatest accomplishment. Without hesitation, he mentions one of the mission statements that is closely associated with ACU. Serving others is major focus at ACU, and this young man has gotten that message quite well. “My biggest accomplishment has been being able to help others,” Says Hamilton. He has enjoyed being able to help others get job interviews… or being able to provide some type of insight or motivation. Hamilton enjoys that he is in a position now where he can help to bring others up, because he himself has been helped. This same type of spirit for service is sure to take anyone a long way in life. Mentioning that the idea of the Page position was to help you get a job, Hamilton talks about his position right before the one he recently took. This page position helped to propel Hamilton to the next level before he took his present position with MTV. “I left the Page Program after 9 months and I went to work for the NBC Agency. We did all “on Air” promos for the network on the East Coast as well as Special Projects” this position allowed Hamilton and his crew to be the “go-to” people when anyone from the CEO to the project Manager for the Olympics needed a special type of entity produced, they were the ones who produced it. “It’s a very multi-tasked department”, says Hamilton. “We’ll help the “Today Show” with different contests they’d have, behind the scenes stuff. It’s very diverse and that’s what I loved about that. There, I really grew! I was a P.A. a Production Assistant with the NBC Nightly News Group of the Agency.” Hamilton also worked as a part of the Digital Team, which created different digital initiatives for the company. “I was also the Assistant to the Vice President of the NBC Agency at the time and got to see a lot of things.” Hamilton adds. With all of the hard work and not giving up, Hamilton has most recently, beginning of Feb 2007, landed a job working for MTV . This gives Hamilton an opportunity to combine both his love for television and music as well. “I work with the MTV Music Group under Standards and Practices. So in a nutshell, nothing can go on to any of the MTV network channels or anything owned by MTV, without first going through us.” Says Hamilton. He has a specialization in this department and it is Music Videos. “I’m the liaison between the music and talent department with MTV, which deals directly with the music labels.” Hamilton adds. When asked what Hamilton considers to be his inspiration. He says “God is my number one inspiration, but as far as now…my mom is a very big inspiration as well as my grandmother, who actually passed away a couple of years ago. One of her big dreams was to see me actually graduate college, and she didn’t get a chance to do that. But I thank my mom and my Grandmother; they’ve been my biggest inspirations.” Hamilton mentions that he has always been a self-starter. Many know that a little bit of family can always help you go a long way.Future and upcoming projects for Gary Hamilton include some of the following.Presently Hamilton is working on pitching a pilot show to MTV called “Houston High”, where they follow up and coming aspiring Houston rappers documenting their struggle and their grind. The premise would be what it takes to make it in the music industry. They have already done the taping and casting and it is in its prelim stages. Hamilton is also currently acting in a couple of promos they run on NBC at the end of the Nightly News. Hamilton mentions that even though this is not reporting, it is what he considers “on camera” time and that is something he is thankful for. In his down time, you can catch Hamilton doing several of his hobbies, like writing. He is the former assistant publicist for Mike Jones and even though he no longer writes for them, they do still keep in touch. “I love to read BLOGS.” Hamilton adds. He feels that blogs in general are such a big source of information and another way to find out things. He also has a love for music. “It’s always been a love for me…I think it’s probably hereditary, my parents love music. I started playing the trumpet in the 3rd grade and all the way up to the 12th grade.” Hamilton speaks with passion about his love for music. “Music has always been a very, very big part of my life” says Hamilton. What better place for a music lover to be, than to be working for a television channel like MTV. Hamilton considers himself very blessed. He has learned several things through his experiences. He mentioned that when you go to school to be on camera, there are only a about 5 or 6 jobs that you learn about…for example, you can be a reporter, a producer, an editor, an anchor, director or either a camera man. Those are the only jobs you learn about he says. “In college that’s all I saw myself doing. Once you actually get into the business and start working for a network, no matter what you do, you’ll find out that there’s a million other jobs out there.” adds Hamilton. He gives the example of Promos and says that he did not even know what promos were in college. In other words, to say the least…Hamilton has learned and would like for us to know that there are so many opportunities in the field of journalism/television and production. The sky is the limit! “There are so many other jobs other than what people teach you in college and so I think that’s a beautiful thing! Once you graduate and start working, you’ll see that maybe you would be happier doing something else than reporting. Maybe you want to be a writer. There are a million other jobs out there and unfortunately many don’t see that until they actually do start working,” Says Hamilton. He encourages everyone to broaden their horizons; after all you never know where your journey may take you!

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