NEW LONDON -- A 2005 New London-Spicer graduate, who received a regional Emmy Award on Saturday in Minneapolis for an education video he shot and edited, is giving credit to his high school video production instructor for teaching him the skills that have now landed him a plum job in the high-profile video gaming world.
Ben Hanson, who grew up in rural New London, was the recipient of an Emmy from the Upper Midwest Regional chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
He won for a video produced for the Roseville community about recycling in schools called "Boxes, Bottles and Banana Peels" that he worked on while employed by CTV North Suburbs, a local cable access channel.
Saying the video was not perhaps his best work, Hanson nonetheless acknowledged that winning the coveted award and hobnobbing with Minneapolis TV news stars at the gala event was very exciting.
His category was about midway through the nearly four-hour-long awards event, giving him a "nice roller coaster ride" of emotions on whether the video would win or not. He was up against special education videos produced by WCCO and KARE television stations.
Hanson shared the Emmy with the video's writer, Tim Pratt. Because the Academy gives only one statuette per category, the duo agreed to share the cost to purchase another one. "I thought maybe I could just remember the moment," said Hanson with a laugh, when he found out the Emmy cost $275. Engraving is extra.
Hanson said what he learned from his high school video instructor, Aric Harrier, put him in a position to eventually win his Emmy.
"I definitely learned how to edit and how to shoot in Mr. Harrier's class," said Hanson. "I can't thank him enough for getting the ball rolling."
Hanson said the video class is "one of the coolest things" offered by NLS and the skills he learned there were crucial to his career, which included a college internship, and later employment, with the community TV station where he worked when the winning video was made.
Hanson graduated from the University of Minnesota with a long string of degrees, including majors in cultural studies and comparative literature and cinema and media culture, as well as a minor in art.
While those classes "flirt with the idea of video production," his college major wasn't video production. Those skills were learned in high school, he said.
His education, combined with a deep passion and hours of free time spent honing his talents, led him to his current job producing videos for one of the largest magazines in the United States called Game Informer.
With 6 million subscribers, the glossy magazine -- which is based in Minneapolis -- caters to people who eat videogames for breakfast.
"I love videogames as much as I love video production," said Hanson, who has had a steady diet of playing videogames since he was a kid.
He now interviews the top game developers from around the world for videos that are featured on the magazine's website, www.gameinformer.com.
Within minutes of posting videos to the website, his productions have "thousands of viewers" and generate hundred of comments, he said, making the job very satisfying.
After nearly a year working at Game Informer, Hanson said he's yet to be bored talking about videogames every day. "It's consistently creative and always fascinating," he said.
Hanson said he had dreamed of working at Game Informer for years and closely followed the Twitter feed of the magazine's editor. When he saw a Tweet announcing the launch of their website video program, he quickly sent off a resume and a video trailer he had worked on in his spare time that landed him the job.
While cautioning that there aren't a lot of jobs in the video gaming world, Hanson encourages kids to follow their passion, take advantage of internships and invest personal time in a field when seeking a career.
So far, Hanson said he's only found one downfall with his current job: "You have a job that everyone wants."