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Erin Callihoo: From RATV student to RATV instructor.

By Jeanette Dube on December 9, 2020

Erin Callihoo has made a full circle in her life and a lot has happened before coming back to NAIT as an instructor. I interviewed her and she told me how she got to where she is today.

Q: When did you go to NAIT?

A: I went to NAIT from 2004 to 2005 for the RTA program and I returned in 2018 to try out the graphic communications program as well.

Q: What inspired you to take both programs?

A: In high school we didn’t really have too much of a media arts program. I come from a small town outside of Edmonton, but I was fascinated with film making. I took to video editing pretty quickly. I would take out cameras and make little films about my friends, edit them with iMovie and I thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool to have this for a career?”

Q: Where did you go for practicum?

A: I did my practicum initially with a small production company here in Edmonton. I switched halfway through to do news. The production company was good. There were some communication issues with that company, so I figured, “Maybe I’ll try a different placement for my practicum.” So I ended up going to Shaw Communications for the latter half of my practicum to do camera work.

Q: How did you feel about taking the step from practicum to the working world?

A: I found that step to be both scary and tricky. At the time, I was still living out at my hometown with my mom and my grandparents. We didn’t have an internet connection out there, so I would have to go my friend’s house to hop onto their dial-up to try to do some job searching and work on my resume. I remember submitting demo reels on VHS tape to different companies. It was intimidating because you gather all these skills in college and there’s so much learning involved, but then once you graduate, you’re on your own trying to make your way into the industry.

Q: What advice would you give to students going into practicum?

A: Be open to different opportunities. You might come out of college wanting to be one thing like a camera person and then you discover this completely new love for motion graphics or video editing. Be open to learning because you never know where your career is going to go. Be open to criticism and feedback. If someone’s critiquing you, they’re not trying to come down on you. They want to see you improve on your work. When you’re in your practicum, try to get as many skills as you can. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes because you are there to learn.

Q:What jobs have you worked before becoming an instructor at NAIT?

A: I did some freelance work for some different companies. I went to City TV for a couple of years, I worked on Breakfast Television. I ended up getting a job at CBC for a few years, then I made the jump over to Global News. I was at Global News for a few years and then I decided to transition back to CBC to have those part-time hours in order to go back to college for graphic communications. I worked at multiple places, but my main job function has been video editor.

Erin at CBC
Erin (Left) on set at CBC

Q: Out of all of those jobs, which one was your favourite?

A: That’s a tricky question. I guess my favourite position was probably at CBC because even though I’m a video editor, my job title there is associate producer. On top of video editing, I’m writing scripts for the news show, I’m helping out in the control room doing quality control. I used to be a switcher director at CBC as well until they got rid of the control room. The nice thing about that job is- again, I’m a video editor, but I have all of these other opportunities within my job role where I’m working in the studio or I’m working on writing scripts.

Erin also occasionally takes time out of her day to swing by the TV studio at NAIT to watch students put together weekly episodes of NAIT NewsWatch.



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