In 2017, Michelle House graduated from Ohio University’s School of Media Arts and Studies (MDIA) and immediately started an amazing new chapter in her life. After graduation, House moved to Los Angeles and began working towards her dream job. In this interview, House gives details on her path to success, how she made it happen, and advice for those wishing to go down a similar path.
House started as a media production coordinator for theme parks at Disney. She worked with projects for Disney, National Geographic, and Marvel. After this role, House started working with animatronics and had to adapt to a more hands-on job.
“I brushed up on skills and started looking into old projects that they had done,” she said. “I started taking lunch meetings with people. As many engineering people as I could get to talk to me. I didn't know what I wanted, so I wanted someone to describe what they did so I could figure that out.”
When COVID-19 hit, House was let go from Disney, but this didn’t stop her from pursuing that dream role. A few months later she landed a visual effects (VFX) coordinator role on Falcon and The Winter Soldier at Marvel. This job led her to her next role at Amazon as a VFX coordinator. Months later she moved on to work with Netflix as a VFX Operations Coordinator to get more experience on the company side of VFX. This trail of jobs lead House to her dream role in virtual reality (VR).
House currently works as a Technical Coordinator for a virtual reality lab doing hardware and software applications for Universal and Netflix. One of her current projects is a VR truck called “Army of The Dead.”
“We put you in a truck, you put on your VR headset, and you get a gun. You get to shoot zombies that come right up to the truck in the game… you feel like you’re actually there.”
Along with the role of technical coordinator, House starts and finishes her day working as a production coordinator for the company. Her team has plans to work on additional projects, similar to Army of the Dead, with Netflix and Universal. With a background in animation and mechanical engineering in tech, House knew what qualities she wanted in a job, but not exactly what that job was. Her previous roles helped her understand the role she was truly seeking, and she made it happen.
House believes MDIA gave her “the most tangible path to get into Hollywood and the industry.” The path was made realistic for her when it was broken down into the things that really needed to be done to succeed. When asked for advice for students who hope to follow in her footsteps, House emphasized the importance of confidence.
“It’s all of those pushes that you have to do personally that are really hard. You are your best cheerleader; you have to be. Its super important to not be super precious about things… I promise they don’t care that much. Don’t put all this weight on stuff then tell yourself you can't do it. What are they going to say, no? Who cares! Everybody is human, everyone falls. Read the room as soon as you get to a place. I had a lot of anxiety at my first job, I didn't push myself to advance… Impostor syndrome? Throw it out the window! You got the job, they want you here, you got it so start acting like you got it.”