Current Nimbus student Jeff Hilman, is studying Post & Game Audio Production (PGAP), and entering his second term as Student Representative here at Nimbus. Kristina Lao, our Community Liaison, caught up with Jeff to gain some insight into what keeps that ever-present smile on his face. Here’s what she found:
Jeff and I have two things in common. Firstly, we both enjoy brownies. I almost stole the last of his (made even more difficult to resist as he offered it!). Secondly, he aspires to never work a day in his life.
That makes us seem like two sugar-loving peas in a musical pod, floating down a lazy river. However, the reality, it turns out, is quite different. From growing up in bands, to attending Community College, University, and Nimbus, Jeff has been ‘not working’ pretty diligently for a long, long, time. And it’s clearly paying off.
Jeff is now in his second term as our Student Representative, and has been championing and cultivating community spirit within the student body since his arrival. I spoke with him about the search for his passion, and what’s important to him on his star-aligned path to success.
What got you thinking about coming to Nimbus?
It was a kind of aligning of the stars. I was going to University of Victoria for music and computer science. I learned a lot about digital audio and the theory and the science behind music and sound which was fascinating, but I never got a chance to really sit down with a band and record something properly. One of my courses involved being on a film set, and I got to do some boom operating and edit dialogue, and I was really into that. So, I let my professors at UVic know and then they recommended Nimbus! I ended up coming over here for a tour. PGAP, which was still new at the time, looked fascinating and exactly what I wanted to do, so I came over to Vancouver, met a lot of the instructors. I ended up applying on the spot!
Did you always want to pursue a career in the music industry?
I always wanted to do something with music. I had a passion for music because I grew up playing in bands, and I knew that was the direction I was headed, I just didn’t know how. I went to college before university as well, finding out the direction of where I wanted to go. I even took some Japanese and Astronomy! Eventually, I discovered what I really was passionate about.
I realized that it was time for a big, overall change. Move to a new city, go to a new school and chase my dream of what I want to do, and actually DO IT!
Did you have any reservations when looking at careers in the music industry?
I know from being in a band myself that it’s a very competitive industry. But Vancouver itself has a hugely booming film industry, and my passion, being in film and sound for film and video games, has so many opportunities in Vancouver.
You’re a natural leader – what drew you to applying to become our Student Representative?
I’ve never done anything like that before, to be perfectly honest. Never been on student council, never been in any leadership position (except maybe at Starbucks). I just decided ‘if I’m changing my life and moving to a new city and giving it 110%, then I’m giving it 110%!!’. Decided to put my name in, make as many friends as I could, meet as many people as I could, and then it happened!
How did you plan your Student Representative campaign?
If there’s one thing I’m good at, it’s writing cheesy posts! I [also] love organizing events. So, I went on a bit of a tangent over Christmas and came up with my own little platform that involved, bringing together all these communities as one.
Note from the author: the last event Jeff planned, “Nimbuds Field Day”, attracted over 60 students and staff, including myself. My badminton skills were much improved by the end of the day, my understanding of Football went from zero to… a little more than zero, and I got a tasty hot dog made by the Rep himself! WIN.
What was a key moment that inspired you in your first days as a Nimbus student?
The small class sizes. Coming in from a University where you have classes upwards of 80 people in a giant lecture hall, to a small class of just myself and seven other people who were instantly best friends… we instantly hit it off. I found out right away there was my own little community – my own little family. And then I started to meet the other ‘families’ – the other groups of eight around the school… we all got to know each other. The thing that sparked me right away was that the community was just incredible.
What kind of music do you play?
I play more of an alternative rock. Since growing up I went from various genres, starting with your typical garage band… all the way to screamo core, then up to super happy bubble gum pop, and now I do chill alternative rock. You have to dabble in everything!
What are your plans after Nimbus?
I have about three months left, which is bittersweet, because I have so much fun every day, but I know that eventually it has to end. My plans, first and foremost, are to keep everyone close that I can. The people that I met, the instructors that I met, keep those connections close.
I’m hoping to join the IATSE film union. We had a guest lecture from Kyle Shields, a sound editor on big budget films. He was showing us the ins and outs of working on film sets, which is what I moved here for essentially, and it looks incredible, so I hope to get into that. Alternatively… I don’t know very much about doing sound for video games, but I know that’s going to be covered in PGAP, so I’m excited about that. I am a massive gamer, huge nerd. I’ve played too much Super Smash Brothers!
Console of choice?
What are you doing now to prepare for working in the music industry?
I’m meeting as many people as possible. Every person I meet, I’m making sure to keep up with them, and I’m making sure to make them a valuable contact, make them someone who I can ask for advice, someone I can perhaps work with on their projects. Both that, and having the drive. Just waking up every day knowing this is what I want to do, and getting up and doing it.
What advice would you give to someone who isn’t sure what they want to do yet, but has a passion?
Take your time. It doesn’t have to happen tomorrow. Find what you love and pursue it any way that you can. It’s not work if you love what you do.
Favourite way to spend a day off?
Exploring Vancouver. Rode the seawall once, went on a couple of hikes recently – it’s just a beautiful city, so I like to explore and know every nook and cranny, basically.
Any dream jobs?
Long term goal/dream – head down to the States, somewhere in L.A. or something – who knows! Dream job: working in Japan as a dialogue editor, or something for a video game company over there – that would be pretty cool.
It’s pretty clear that Jeff doesn’t want to work a day in his life… and I couldn’t think of a better piece of advice to follow! I’m confident that with Jeff’s clear passion for finding his dream job, and determination to get up, get involved, and make his future, he’s on a blazing path to a work-free existence. Now, let’s talk about what you’re going to do with that last bite of the brownie, Jeff…
For more information about Jeff’s music, visit: