Perspective Online

Former International Student Credits UWG with Video Production Career

by Taylor Bryant and Joy Esiemokhai

When Poland native Agnieszka Bryk first arrived at then West Georgia College she had no idea what she wanted to study. After majoring in English at a university in Poland, Agnieszka realized that she was not pursuing English because of her interest in English, American literature or history, but because it was a “safe choice.”

Former International Student Credits UWG with Video Production Career In her first semester at West Georgia, she enrolled in a variety of classes from economics to French to mass communications. “I thought it was the right thing to do, to know about business and stuff,” she says. “Economics was a mistake, but mass communications was fun!”

This enjoyment soon led to Agnieszka taking more courses in communications. It was while taking a video production class that she found her life’s joy. “I loved it! I now knew what I wanted to do - something in film and TV production.”

Coming from a freshly post-communist country, Agnieszka did not have a lot of money and living in the U.S. became quite expensive. In desperate need of a job, she decided to search for work on campus. “I applied with the university theatre, but did not get the position,” she recalls. “I also applied with the campus TV studio which was run by Jim Hurt at the time. He hired me and that was the best thing that could have happened to me then.”

So magnetically drawn to television production, she often found herself staying beyond her scheduled time to learn how to edit and create graphics for the news. “The equipment was practically derelict, but I felt like a rocket scientist being able to operate it,” she says. “Moreover my host father was a TV producer. He took me to his studio with a real commercial editing suite. That was also a big ‘wow’ for me.”

After a year at West Georgia, Agnieszka returned to Poland and she completed her English degree but still had a burning passion for television production. Post undergraduate, she applied and was accepted into Lodz Film School, the most prestigious film and media arts school in Poland. A few years later she graduated with a degree in production and began her career as a TV producer at the prestigious worldwide advertising agency, BBDO.

In 2009 during the economic crisis, Agnieszka left the firm to set up her own production company. “It wasn't easy at first, not because of the workload or difficult tasks, but because I did not know if I would make it- if I would be able to get by,” she recalls. “And I did not for 2 years. The future in front of me wasn’t bright or easy, but I kept to it because I was doing what I loved.”

Hard work eventually paid off for Agnieszka. “I have a new problem now because I have so many ideas of what to do and where to go next. I am beginning to expand to other countries in Eastern Europe. I am taking up new staff. I feel like there are so many opportunities but I can only choose some of them. The idea is to choose the right ones. It is difficult, but it is also inspiring.”

Now years later, Agnieszka still credits her love of production to West Georgia College. “From the very beginning, I got a hands-on experience with the real stuff - professional cameras, lights, a TV studio, an editing suite,” she says. “That was most exciting.”

Even with her busy schedule, Agnieszka remains connected to the University of West Georgia. She is planning the next UWG international alumni reunion in Warsaw, Poland, in 2015. “No specific plans yet, but I think I would like to make it so that everyone enjoys it and has some relaxing time in Warsaw,” she shares. “No matter what we do it will be great! I’m looking forward to it.”

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