Kirsten Mitchell, 2014
January 2014 - Kirsten Mitchell is living a dream thanks to what she described as an opportunity of a lifetime that came her way after earning her Associate of Science in Music Production Technology at Daytona State College (DSC).
At 21 years old, the December 2011 graduate now works as a production assistant on Bravo Network’s newest reality show “Thicker than Water,” which premiered in November. At the same time, she’s pursuing her bachelor’s degree at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) in Nashville.
“Kirsten is a great example of what you can do with the proper training and passion,” said Jake Niceley, assistant chair of DSC’s Music Production Technology program. “She has really taken advantage of the doors that have opened for her so far.”
Mitchell recently spoke via Skype to second-year music production students gathered in recording studio B at Daytona State’s News-Journal Center, encouraging the students to savor every experience the program offers.
“DSC was like the North Star for me,” she told the group. “Honestly, I enrolled in the music production program because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I just wanted to be around music. But the environment drew me in, the teachers were so personable. I learned a lot about my craft, the industry and about life.”
“Thicker than Water” follows Ben and Jewel Tankard (Mitchell’s aunt and uncle) and their adult children as they navigate the joys and pitfalls of their lives, coalescing their strong religious conviction and their pursuit of the finer things in life.
Kirsten Mitchell shared her work during a recent visit with Daytona State students in the Music Production Technology program.
In addition to delving into the complexities of how the production company, Sirens Media, pitched the show to the networks, Mitchell’s talk with the students covered a range of topics, including how she transitioned from school into the entertainment business, the technical aspects of television and sound production, and what it takes to start a career in the highly competitive entertainment industry.
“Networking is the most important thing,” she told the group. “You have to go out there and get involved. Go to the events, the conferences, just go all in and do it, even if it means (doing menial tasks). Do anything you have to do to get your foot in the door.”
The students were impressed that Mitchell has been able to find work so quickly upon graduating from Daytona State. Among them was Mike Corcoran: “I’ve heard several sources tell me that even though Daytona State’s music production program is inexpensive, the tools we use and our teachers are more advanced than some of the more expensive programs. That’s good to hear from a former DSC student who is working in the profession.”
Most of all, Mitchell encouraged the students to make the most of their college experience.
“DSC helped me figure out what I liked,” she said. “I wish I could go back sometimes, because you can get lost in the numbers up here at MTSU. Appreciate your time at DSC and take advantage of the freedom to roam from studio to studio. Check out what the other classes are doing, and take advantage of the hands-on instruction you get from the very start. You don’t get that at other institutions until you’re well into the upper-level courses. To me, that has been a priceless benefit. You can’t buy that kind of experience.”