Late last month, I had the privilege of interviewing 2002 TEC alum Andrew Keegan.
Currently, Andrew is a Lighting Director and Producer for film and television in New York City.
At only thirty years old, he is a respected professional and has worked with NBC, CNN, MTV,
Sesame Street, and Nickelodeon to produce over forty shows. Andrew even went to the Beijing
Olympics and was awarded an Emmy nomination for his work.
In 2006, not one week after graduating from college, Andrew began lighting national
television. Only four years prior, he was with TEC on a television set in Los Angeles looking at
thousands of lights in the rig, thinking, "people must have to wait decades to be a part of this."
Andrew's career really began back in high school with our very own Westlake Technical
Entertainment Crew, working every show he could from rentals to Zenith. Andrew collaborated
with Mr. Poole to create a balanced life with school work, lacrosse, and TEC. Mr. Poole was
always accommodating and remains, to this day, "a good friend and mentor" to Andrew. In
retrospect, Andrew "wishes he could have been more involved," but still, TEC helped him pave
his way to success by teaching him the necessity of "persistence, hard work, and understanding
the bigger picture."
Andrew was accepted into many college programs. He chose to continue his studies at
Sonoma State University. He went in looking to major in lighting design, but ultimately became
a "BA in theater as opposed to just lighting." His education provided a method for him to really
grasp a real world sense of productions: "No one understands a deadline like a theater major.
You can't push back deadlines. You have to get it done."
It takes more than being aware of deadlines to become successful. It takes this kind of
passion or drive that sets you apart from everyone else. For Andrew, this was creating content.
In the theater world, you can take internships, but in the end "you are only as good as your
portfolio." Employers "only look at your resume for five seconds. What does your content say
Andrew is naturally a producer. It's his job to find ideas and make them a reality. This
seems like a lot of work, but in actuality all he had to do was go to the English,
Communications, and Theater departments to find other students and create any kind of film.
No matter the size or success level of the production, everyone involved has not only made
connections and gained experience, but has also built up credibility. This may not seem
like "usual" work for a lighting designer, but this work set Andrew apart. He always asked "What
can I do for you?" and continually opened himself up to new opportunities.
Andrew's final advice: "Never stop creating content. Never stop. The more content you
make, the better your skills will get. Keep learning new devices and software that come out.
Never ever ever stop. Go make a short film. It's easy. Use your software. It doesn't matter
where you go to school. Your content is you. Your reel is who you are. If you have a great reel,
people will be climbing over themselves trying to get you. Never stop creating."