About a decade ago, Mike Flanagan was running his own printing
company when he first discovered the power of video as a means of
communication. He then realized he was in the wrong business.
“I saw video being the next frontier of communication,” he said.
“Sometimes, it’s even better than face-to-face interaction.”
It was 1994, and Flanagan noticed that the entertainment industry
needed well-trained editors because video wasn’t as accessible then
as it is today. So he founded Video Symphony, a TV, film and video
training center based in Burbank.
The center’s mission, he said, is to provide the best training and
student placement in entertainment and media post-production jobs.
The center trains between 800 and 1,000 students annually on the
five essential areas of postproduction: video editing; audio editing;
DVD authoring and design; 3-D animation; and visual effects. Two of
the most well-known editing programs it teaches are Avid and Final
What Flanagan enjoys the most about his job is watching his
“I’m always intrigued by how people learn, and especially by how
quickly they can learn something,” he said.
To expand its enrollment, the center was recently permitted by the
Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services to grant visas so
foreign students can take courses. Flanagan said he has already
received numerous requests from prospective students in Asia and
Africa, but said Video Symphony won’t see a huge influx from those
continents until next year.
Courses, which range in price from $300 for a one-day seminar to
$20,000 for a 14-month semester, are taught by industry
professionals. Students include working editors seeking to brush up
on technological advancements in the field to novices seeking a new
David Billingsley, a 48-year-old student of the Avid editing
program, is an amateur animator who enrolled at Video Symphony to
learn the ins and outs of editing. What he likes most about the
program is the direct technical training.
“Having spent the better part of a year checking out all the
available schools in the United States, I came to the conclusion that
[Video Symphony] is the one I could seriously invest my time and
money in because it removes the theory and gives training from the
front line,” he said. “The instructors are extremely enthusiastic and
love to teach, which is remarkable because they are training their