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Faces of NECC

Creativity and storytelling are essential to success in multimedia says multimedia Professor Brian Knoth.

He fosters both skills in the video, web design, animation, motion graphics, and 3D modeling classes he teaches at Northern Essex.

“My students learn how to create, innovate, tell stories, and deliver information in engaging ways,” he says.

All of which fall within the scope of today’s competitive job market, he says citing a recent Forbes article highlighting the skills employers are really seeking.

“Collaboration, problem solving, planning, communication, and critical thinking were all at the top of the list in addition to technical and software related skills. That’s what we do in our multimedia classes,” he says.

Multimedia students can expect to learn to shoot and edit video, create animations, design web pages, work with 3D graphics, and integrate video, sound, type, and animation for motion graphics productions.

Northern Essex offers an associate degree in General Studies: Art with a focus on a multimedia studies.

Knoth came to multimedia via psychology. After earning a bachelor’s in psychology from State University of New York (SUNY) Geneseo, he worked at a psychological research startup specializing in interactive multimedia programs.

“I immediately got hooked by the creative process,” he says.

This led to a master’s in media arts from Emerson College and eventually a Ph.D. in computer music and multimedia from Brown University, which is when he began teaching. This was the field, he was meant to explore and meant to teach, he says.

“The fact that I can explore elusive skills like creativity, design, composition, and storytelling through different forms of media, makes every day an interesting day,” he says. “For the most part, there are no right and wrong answers in my field, which allows for the cultivation of higher-order thinking and creative/innovative problem solving which keeps things fresh and interesting.”

Outside the classroom Knoth creates and produces digital multimedia art and enjoys music composition and sound design. Teaching has dovetailed nicely with his work as a practicing artist, composer, producer, and researcher, Professor Knoth says.

“I love to learn and I love to share what I learn with other people, so teaching allows me to do both on a regular basis,” he says.

In the classroom Knoth guides students toward projects that allow them to pursue their interests both as individuals and in collaboration with others.

“The goal is to get students motivated intrinsically and to feel connected to their work in a deep and meaningful way,” he says.

He also stresses that a multimedia producer or artist shouldn’t be afraid of failure, as failure often leads to success.

“You should always be willing to experiment with new approaches to your work,” he says. “Learn from your mistakes…you never know when a mistake will lead to your next innovative solution or creative idea.”