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Audio version

Having veteran industry professors doesn’t hurt either.

Producing creative professionals

“You can’t throw a stick down the hall of Bell Media without hitting a Seneca grad,” says Michael Nunan, Bell’s Senior Manager, Broadcast Audio and Post Productions.

Michael has been hiring Bell Media employees for 20 years and has taught audio production part-time at Seneca for 13. He custom-built the sound-editing suite at Seneca@York to mirror those found in the workplace.

This Canadian Screen Award winner (for his work on the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Olympic Games) lives in Guelph and commutes more than 1,000 kilometres a week, but he isn’t complaining. Michael wants to prepare Seneca graduates to be successful in the creative economy—not just as proficient engineers and editors, but as creators of content, with a professional mindset that distinguishes them.

Michael understands that everyone has access to the tools and technology and can take the time to master them. Professionals possess something else.

“It’s not about the toys or tools,” says Michael. “It’s about becoming a professional with a philosophical approach to the work, discipline and mindset that says, ‘failure is not an option.’”

Michael’s domain is live television, where there isn’t the luxury to fix mistakes after the fact and failure comes in real time before thousands of viewers. He tries to instill in his students the importance of having a backup plan for every moment and the awareness to self-correct on the fly. This approach is resonating with employers, like Bell, and has been part of Michael’s plan from the beginning.

Through his work in the classroom he can “influence the workforce before it becomes the workforce,” producing grads who can play various roles in the creation of meaningful content for all kinds of media.

“I keep track of the employees from different schools,” says Michael. “Schools with similar programs should have equal impact, but they don’t. There is a disproportionately high number of Seneca grads.”

Thanks to the professional guidance of professors like Michael, alumni like Doreen and Guillermo, and countless others, Seneca is contributing to industries that, according to the Ontario government, are growing at double the rate of those in other sectors. More than one million Canadians owe their jobs (directly or indirectly) to creative industries, which represents roughly seven per cent of Canada’s total workforce.

Yet success takes more than technical proficiency. According to Michael Maynard, these grads are making a difference because they are creative thinkers, who are willing to diversify their talents, market themselves and embrace new challenges.

“In order to create something, you have to have a pretty good sense of yourself and of what you can bring to the table in any discipline,” says Michael. “It’s part of the creative process to be a problem-solver and, hopefully, a creative one.”


Entertainment and creative industries support more than 300,000 jobs.

The province is home to approximately 1,000 interactive digital media companies, employing 16,000 people and generating almost $1.2 billion in revenue.

Film and television production accounted for close to 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and contributes billions to Ontario’s economy.

Many television series are sold in more than 100 international markets.

The creative industries generate $12.2 billion in GDP for Ontario's economy annually and are number one in Canada by GDP.

Creative industry GDP is now larger than Ontario's energy industry, is approaching 70 per cent of the auto manufacturing sector and surpasses those of agriculture, forestry and mining sectors combined.

Ontario is among North America's top entertainment and media economies, ranking third in employment (behind California and New York).


20 RED 2016