Commercial Success – Adam Corey, ’91

When Adam Corey was a student at Cortland High School he discovered what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. “My junior year I took a course in our video production program and loved it. A student who was a year ahead of me in the program, Mike Kaminski, decided to attend OCC and got me interested in it. I came up to OCC, checked it out and the rest is history!”

In the fall of 1989 Corey enrolled in OCC’s Radio and TV major. “The leaders within Radio and TV; Cathy Hawkins, Vinny Spadafora, Tony Vadala and Nancy Licata created a great environment. It was very professional but felt like a family.” We all hung out together and helped each other with our projects. There was a lot of hands-on learning and it was fun. Everyone was looking out for everyone else.”

One of Corey’s professors, Tony Vadala, hired Corey as a production assistant with SUper Sports which produced telecasts of Syracuse University sports. Corey would do whatever was needed to assist with football and basketball productions. He would get more meaningful opportunities with SU’s olympic sports broadcasts running camera, directing or working on graphics. “I was very fortunate Tony opened up that door for me. We were all working 20 or 30 hours on weekends but it didn’t feel like work. It was fun and exposed me to a lot. It helped me choose the direction I wanted to go in.”

Corey earned his degree from OCC in 1991 and transferred to SUNY Oswego. He kept working weekends with SUper Sports. After graduating from SUNY Oswego he was hired by Syracuse University to work on a monthly TV show and recruiting videos. In 1997 Corey got a video editing job in Boston and also began freelancing regularly with ESPN, running their graphics on college football and MLB telecasts.

Corey oversees a shoot outside the White House.
Corey oversees a shoot outside the White House.

Corey would go from Boston to Washington, DC for a job editing network promos and commercials with Team Sound & Vision. He worked his way up to creative director where he was in charge of the graphics division. Corey worked on projects for the History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel,TLC and Travel Channel. He continued to freelance with ESPN covering the X Games, Women’s Final Four, Tennis, U.S. Open Golf and the British Open.

In 2010 Corey and a colleague whom he worked with at Team Sound & Vision started their own company, “dc collective.” They specialize in live action commercial production, motion graphic design and post-production. Five years later they have offices in Washington, Providence, Rhode Island and Charlotte, North Carolina. Their work is of the highest quality. The entire team has been nominated for every major industry award. “We have a unique philosophy. We don’t have titles for people. We believe in hiring the best people, letting them do their jobs and not micromanaging them. Our goal was to do things different and put the creative process first. We’ve accomplished that.”

Corey loves what he does and regularly works 60 to 70 hours a week. His tireless work ethic which began when he was a student at OCC have paid off. As he reflects on the route of his career path he has advice for today’s students:

  • Try everything. I thought I would enjoy covering live sports and I did, but I discovered I enjoyed creative directing and editing network promos and commercials. I still enjoy working on sports but in a different capacity.
  • Let your career evolve and put the time in. There’s going to be a lot of times when you friends are going out for the weekend and you can’t because you need to work. You have to put in your time.
  • If you’re not passionate about what you are doing find what you are passionate about. It’s such a broad industry now with production on the web.
  • You have to do things to learn. You will make mistakes. Don’t make excuses for your mistakes, learn from them.
  • Learn how to work together. 80% of what we do in this business is working with people. The technology part is important but you need to know how to deal with personalities.
  • Get as much as you can from your time at OCC. My experiences there continue to be key in helping me obtain my career ambitions as they evolve.
Corey says the EMC Department is in good hands with skilled broadcasting professionals (left to right) Brad Kaminski, Tond Vadala and Mark Ballard instructing students.
Corey says the EMC Department is in good hands with skilled broadcast professionals (left to right) Mike Kaminski, Tond Vadala and Mark Ballard instructing students.

Corey maintains regular contact with the people running OCC’s Electronic Media Communications (EMC) major, formerly known as Radio & TV when he was a student. The high school friend who he followed to OCC, Mike Kaminski, is now co-chair of the department. The other co-chair is Tony Vadala who helped Corey get his start with SUper Sports. “OCC is really in a great position with Tony, Mike and (professor) Mark Ballard there. They are great instructors who also continue to work in the industry at a high level and are respected for what they do. They know what it’s like in the real world. It’s great that today’s students are learning from them.”