Meet the Jury – Patrick Jager

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IES Abroad
July 24, 2019

We're excited to welcome a new member to our Film Festival jury in 2019—Patrick Jager! An award-winning veteran of the media industry, Patrick has held leadership and creative positions in broadcast, cable, and digital media outlets throughout his career, and he now serves as a member of both the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and the Producer's Guild of America.

Read on to learn how study abroad impacted his career, how his career has evolved over time, and what advice he has for young filmmakers.

Patrick Jager

CEO of CORE Innovation Group
IES Abroad Vienna 1988-89

IES Abroad: Why did you choose to study abroad in Vienna, and for a full year?

Patrick Jager (PJ): I have family roots in Germanic areas, but Vienna is all about culture and a sense of historic elegance that a kid from Colorado had never experienced. I chose a year because I didn’t want to feel pressured to be away touring every weekend. Rather, I wanted to truly immerse myself in the culture and community in a way I didn’t think I could in a semester.

IES Abroad: What are your most memorable study abroad experiences?

PJ: (That I can write down?) I spent a lot of time in Croatia (then part of [former] Yugoslavia) with friends—to  the point that I’ve now traveled there for both fun and work many times. I also spent spring break on a trip to Poland with IES Abroad that helped shape my college thesis and political science focus. I also loved spending lazy Sundays relaxing in Grinzing or Prater Park. (And, yes, I did get in some great trips across Europe, as well.)

IES Abroad: What impact did study abroad have on your career?

PJ: Study abroad was truly the most important thing I have ever done—both personally and professionally. It showed me the interconnected nature of our world in ways I wouldn’t have gotten just from school. I have spent a great deal of time traveling as an adult—for  work and with my family—and I have always credited IES Abroad for my passions and point of view.

IES Abroad: What is your most favorite project you’ve worked on and why?

PJ: I have so many…One for travel is a series of specials I developed with Travel Channel, which allowed me to develop custom, high-end international travel concepts, and then go produce and direct the series. Right now my “claim to fame” is that I was one of the people behind Fixer Upper. While not international by any means (Waco, TX), it is a series that’s turned into quite the juggernaut.

IES Abroad: Why did you choose a career in multi-discipline media?

PJ: I’ve had a very circuitous career, having been in non-profit work, marketing, public relations, and media. Throughout my career I’ve looked for ways to fill roles that hadn’t been developed. I’ve worked outside my field of study for most of my career and have allowed opportunity to help shape my path. So in production, as the landscape has changed, I’ve used opportunity to help me change along with it, which means that today I focus not only on what you see on your TV, computer, phone, and headset, but also where we will be receiving content in the future. This keeps me engaged and excited, to help think up “what’s next.”

IES Abroad: What is it like working with such well-known networks like MTV, NBC, Bravo, Travel Channel, and HGTV?

PJ: People are all the same—so are networks. Some are a pleasure, some are arrogant. Overall, I’ve been incredibly fortunate—with some great perks along the way!

IES Abroad: What does it mean to you to be on this year’s Study Abroad Film Fest Jury? And what are you most looking forward to?

PJ: I’m truly honored. Not to date myself, but when I was [a student with] IES Abroad, you didn’t see many with cameras because they were just too big. Now you can make a stunning film on your phone or a GoPro. To see students embrace the stories that are all around you when you live and travel, and to be able to see humanity through another’s eyes is awesome! I’m most excited to see the diversity of content.

IES Abroad: What advice would you give to young filmmakers today?

PJ: Four things:

  • Shape stories that you know and feel comfortable telling.
  • Authenticity and depth trump gimmick any day.
  • Have/grow thick skin because if you don’t you cannot make it in an industry that is all about critique.
  • Don’t ride other’s coat tails; learn how to zig and zag through it yourself so that you are truly armed with the talent and experience you need to do this as a career.

Feeling inspired? Learn more about how our Film Festival works, and get involved!

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