Published Nov 01, 2018
This Grad is Helping the Next Generation of Digital Media Producers
Media Design MFA grad Karen Snyder founded Trans/Seven Studio to help burgeoning professionals build experience.
If you’ve got a problem, Karen Snyder wants to solve it. She has over a decade’s worth of experience in digital media marketing, and her newest venture is focused on helping young professionals navigate one of the industry’s biggest hurdles: Building a portfolio through paid internships. That’s why she founded Trans/Seven Studio, an internship studio focused on pairing students with mentors (and jobs) in the digital media industry.
Karen is also the executive behind KYS Realm, a digital production studio aimed at providing clients with tools to market their products across different media platforms. In her spare time, she lectures at the University of Houston. It’s a lot of work, but Karen says it’s all part of the hustle and growth of a modern media professional.
“I started in graphic design. Over the years, clients would ask for work outside the scope of what I was hired to do — marketing, radio, video production, websites, etc. Eventually, someone asked me to produce a video game. And then I realized there was a term for what I was doing, which was acting as a transmedia producer,” she says.
Transmedia, the process of telling a story over different media platforms, is a vital component of digital marketing, and Karen’s portfolio is a good case study in how marketers are taking a multifaceted approach to promoting games. After graduating from Full Sail’s Media Design MFA program in 2016, she turned her focus toward the gaming industry, where she developed The Elements Club, a full-motion video romance game. She also produced content for Gamers of Houston, an organization working to actively support gaming industry infrastructure in Houston, as well as promote the growth of esports as a viable economic engine.
“Video games are extremely powerful because they’re kinesthetic, visual, and auditory,” she says. “And because you don’t consume them passively like video or print, they can have a positive impact on families. I see esports as a natural extension of that. I wanted to tap into the global mentality of enjoying something together, and show parents that this could be a viable career path for many young people.”
As an educator, Karen wants her students to embrace emerging technologies as they navigate the world of digital media. She started Trans/Seven Studio to provide them with more opportunities to build experience. The company, which is still in its start-up phase, provides a link between small businesses that need extra help but don’t have the infrastructure to support an internship program and young people looking for personalized mentorship.
“Most of the technology-based jobs are in Austin or Dallas. That’s where the big tech companies are. In Houston, there’s a need for interns, but the companies are smaller. We work with companies to handle the grading, the rubrics, and the paperwork that comes with bringing on interns. That way, they can just hire them without a lot of added weight,” she explains.
Holding multiple positions and keeping all of her clients happy is a balancing act, but Karen says the key is to be detail-oriented and, above all, strategic in your approach to building out multiple brands. If you do it right, each new thing will complement the other.
“It’s that’s type of strategic thinking that takes average to above-average,” she says. “It all comes down to owning the execution strategy, and then making sure you follow through.”