Jordan Campagna is a freelance camera operator and director of photography who in only a few years out of school has amassed an impressive resume that includes local and national video productions. Jordan met with two different ICB Chicago classes recently to discuss how he got his start in the business and how he continues to develop a very promising career.
Jordan stressed the importance of networking and how immediately upon graduation from high school, prior to any post-secondary education, got a job at a small CBS affiliate in Michigan. He was the youngest person on the crew who was given an opportunity to serve as a studio camera operator. Jordan worked his way up to a floor director position and that of an audio technician in the control room. However, Jordan was convinced that without further post-secondary education was essential to fully develop his creative side as a photographer. And so, he traveled to Chicago to further his education.
Through an instructor, Frank Partipilo, Jordan made connections with broadcast professionals including the Regional Executive Director of Public Affairs for the Illinois Center for Broadcasting. That connection eventually leads to work on a national PBS documentary, “Water Pressures,” featuring Adrian Grenier of HBO Entourage and shot in part in India. Jordan shared with the students that sometimes a connection or job becomes part of a family tree of opportunities that leads to exciting challenges and adventures that builds a productive career. So by making friends with your colleagues on various shoots and jobs, it often leads to other opportunities.
Campagna noted that each student could possibly be sitting next to a future employer, and encouraged all to build a network base that would lead to one being successful in a very competitive business.
Jordan worked on a HISTORY CHANNEL series regarding tugboat captains. That job lead to a connection that lead to another series that dealt with an opportunity to fly to Ireland to be the DP (director of photography) for a series about travel. As a DP, Jordan has to also sometimes serve as a producer and strongly suggested that ICB students learn as many aspects of the business as possible.
According to Jordan, Chicago is a great town to work as a camera operator for sporting events that not only include professional matches but also collegiate contests.
Jordan has worked on reality shows, sports programming, travel shows and has had his share of 18 and 19 hour days, but he loves what he does and suggested that ICB students to continue to not only develop their professional skills but also their inter-personal skills in working with others.