OMAHA, NE — Erica Johnson’s passion for video began at age 14, when her father became a pastor, and needed her help building his ministry.
“My brother, sister and I all got separate sections, and I got media,” she remembers.
Her assignments included setting up microphones, running cameras and mixing audio levels during church services.
“That’s where I really got my first taste in it, and realized this is something I love to do, but didn’t make the connection that I could make this a career,” she says.
She thought her calling was to work with children as a pediatrician, so she headed off to a large out-of-town university.
Two years of pre-med studies later, she made a change of plans and returned home.
“I stuck with the program for about two years, and then was like, I don’t think I’m –this- interested,” she says.
Erica jumped right back into her audio-visual duties at her father’s ministry, and expanded her responsibilities along the way. She eventually began editing videos of services, and built a website for the church.
Word spread of her newly-minted skills. Soon, Erica was not only developing sites for around a dozen churches, she was managing their social media as well.
A big project brings a clearer path into focus
But she was still mainly drawn to working with video.
After dabbling in some shorter-form stories, Erica produced an hour-long documentary featuring women struggling with fertility issues. The response she received showed her passion for video was putting her on the right path.
Now, she owns and runs her own video production company, EBE Films, and she says her coding skills have been crucial.
“I remember sitting there amazed. For some reason, I never put the two together. For some reason, when I see animation, I don’t think, ‘you can make that with code.’ I didn’t connect the two,” she said.
Now, she says she can go into editing systems like After Effects and Adobe Premiere, and use them more efficiently.
She says it helps to think like a coder to edit various effects.
“So you aren’t necessarily typing a line of code, but the parameters it gives you that it can change make sense more quickly if you understand what code looks like, and how you would adjust it,” she says.
Beyond that, she says any video producer has to know enough to get their work online.
“You do, to a certain extent, need to know code to code your videos to embed them into websites. Yes, there’s YouTube and things like that, but even if you put it up on YouTube, you can get an embed code, but…sometimes you have to alter that code,” she says.
Erica says she often spreads the word that web development is a sought-after skill.
“It’s worth it. It’s a skill that can be adapted to so many different things that it will almost always be in demand. It’s definitely not a waste of time. You’re going to use it eventually,” she says.
“I don’t foresee coding becoming obsolete, because even if the world gets taken over by robots – someone has to code the robots.”
So who should consider web development classes?
“If a person likes to work with their hands, if they are a visual learner, it would be perfect for them, because it’s visual. You input certain specifics and literally see what happens,” she says.
Erica Johnson is the owner of EBE Films, where she wears several hats, including Director, Filmmaker, Video Editor and Videographer. You can connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn, and also browse her work on YouTube.
Interface Web School offers part-time, evening web development classes. For information on upcoming courses, click here.