Broadcasting projects can lead anywhere. One took Ray Kalas, an independent producer before he started teaching at County College of Morris, into the world of film noir.
â€śOur client, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, came to us with a challenge: show their cargo agents how the airlines moved packages from point A to point B worldwide,â€ť recalls Kalas, professor of communication at County College of Morris. The solution: follow a Sam Spade character tracking a package from New York to Casablanca.
â€śWe shot the film in black and white, hinted about what was in the package and turned it into a contest. The cargo agent who guessed the package contents would win a trip around the world.â€ť Participants had to watch the videos repeatedly for hints. The film increased the airlineâ€™s cargo tonnage by millions of dollars.
â€śIt was like making a full-length movie except we did it all in a 10-minute video,â€ť says Kalas. The film won a CLIO, ORCA (Dutch award) and International Television Association Award. Kalas wrote and produced the video on a modest $300,000 budget.
He says his entry into broadcasting was inspired by the times. â€śIâ€™m part of the first TV generation. I remember the tiny square box in the big cabinet and wanted to be part of it.â€ť
First he served in the Air Force and was discharged near San Francisco. â€śCoincidentally, that was the location of one of the largest broadcasting schools in the world â€“ San Francisco State University,â€ť he recalls.
â€śTo work in the entertainment industry is not working; itâ€™s fun. And not doing the same thing every day â€“ perhaps thatâ€™s the most exciting thing.â€ť
After decades in the field, he decided to take on a new challenge: teaching what he learned to a new generation of broadcast professionals.
â€śI found that I enjoyed teaching more than being in the field,â€ť says Kalas. â€śI love seeing students get excited about what they do. Knowing youâ€™ve really reached someone is gratifying. I donâ€™t know of any other job where you come home at night and feel as much a sense of accomplishment as that. I love working with students. They keep me going. I have not had a bad
day in 14 years.â€ť
day in 14 years.â€ť