Alumnus Spotlight: Herbert Willis, producer and company owner

Across all our SAE Institute campuses, talented individuals graduate with an education that helps them to take a step towards a career in the creative media and entertainment industry.

We spoke to Herbert Willis, founder of Major Vision Productions and SAE Institute Atlanta Alumnus, about his successful career and why he decided to enroll in our Audio program. Here are some key takeaways from our chat.

Who or what inspired you to pursue a career in audio?

It really wasn’t the case of “who” inspired me as opposed to “what” inspired me. And what inspired me was technology. From analog to digital, from workstations to DAWs, and from understanding signal flow down to producing, mixing,and marketing it all yourself straight from the computer. I was hooked and I felt I just had to learn all of this somehow.

I knew that an audio school would teach me all of these things as opposed to asking someone who would only give me the shortcut version. I knew that ultimately school would be a better choice.

Tell us about a highlight of your career so far.

The highlight of my career in the audio world was buying my own studio equipment, forming my own production company, Cash Spot $tudios, and booking my first of many clients.

In the video world the highlight was getting hired by Morehouse School of Medicine to work on several projects for their school’s website. That client allowed us to expand and buy more, newer equipment and uniforms as well as spend capital on several other business associated investments and marketing.

What do you think are the benefits of formal education in this field?

Some of the benefits of formal education in this field are being able to network with people you wouldn’t normally meet as well as learning how to get the job done properly and professionally.

What are some common misconceptions about working in this industry?

Some of the common misconceptions you get from working in this industry is that you will work long hours for minimum pay or not be able to find work in this field.

What advice do you have for others who might be interested in this line of work?

One of my biggest pieces of advice for anyone interested in this line of work would be to focus more on the business side rather than the technical side.

If you master gaining clients you can always find talent to hire or subcontract out the work, but It really depends on what you’re in it for. Is it the money that drives you? Or is being a professional skilled artist in your craft more important?

I definitely would go into this line of work with a business mentality and focus on the financial aspect first, and only then focus on the gear, technique and skills.

What are your “failures” and regrets, if any?

Most of my failures were starting out without a niche and a true target audience, which are key to know how to add value to your work. I also didn’t have my systems and processes set up and missed important branding and marketing opportunities like having my own website.

That’s why I tell everyone to please find your own niche. This will help you to know where and who your target audience is, which will allow you to know what type of products to produce and earn both a true customer and a dollar at the same time.