Austin Hepp is an Emmy-nominated video creative with twelve years of professional post-production experience reaching a global audience via broadcast television, streaming platforms, marketing campaigns, and social media. After graduating from Ball State in 2010, Austin has gotten to work on many amazing teams and projects including the Ellen Show and new Roku releases. Currently living in California, he is proud to represent Ball State and the Midwest wherever he goes.
Time At Ball State
Austin came to Ball State in 2007, which was also the year the David Letterman Communication and Media Building first opened on campus. Impressed by the school, faculty, and new facilities, Austin decided to pursue a degree in telecommunications. Between the courses he took, his on-campus job, and the internship opportunity he eventually secured, Austin felt like Ball State truly prepared him for the real world and gave him the skills to pursue the career of his dreams.
“Many college curriculums make students wait until they are upperclassmen to take the core classes related to their major and get the experience they need to be successful. At Ball State, there are so many opportunities to get involved even as a freshman that allow students to get a taste for the field they are pursuing.”
Austin’s favorite class during his time at BSU was a course that required students to make a documentary about a music group or musical performance. After deciding to take a unique angle on the assignment, Austin and his team focused their documentary on a local 7th-grade band. This young group was incredible to document as Austin’s team explored what starting a band looked like and captured the excitement and energy of these young people.
“I loved getting to make a keepsake for them. It was fun for us and was really special for them. It was a great learning experience and I would definitely do it again.”
Austin had many wonderful experiences at Ball State, including working as a videographer for the football team. In one of the seasons that he was there, Ball State went undefeated in the regular season. He also got the opportunity to witness the Ball State versus Navy game. The place was packed and it was a huge moment in Ball State history. He was able to stand alongside the ESPN crews and captured amazing pictures of the fully packed stadium. This opportunity gave Austin a lot of incredible experience while also allowing him to have fun along the way.
Another key moment in Austin’s professional development was securing an internship in Los Angeles. With the help of professors and the department chair, Austin received an opportunity to work for Warner Bros on the Ellen Show. During that summer, Austin fell in love with LA and decided to do whatever it would take to get out there again. He believes that without Ball State and the support they provided him, he would not have been able to be as successful during his internship and in securing a job after graduation.
Right out of college, Austin secured a job as a production assistant on the Ellen Show. Including his summer as an intern, Austin worked on the Ellen show for a combined 10 years. Over time, he was able to work his way up to a Senior Editor role. During his time there, he was mentored by many wonderful people who were willing to teach him and help him cultivate his skills in editing and other areas of interest. These first formative years of his career were incredibly influential and he still holds onto many of the lessons he learned while he was there.
During this time he started a family and had two kids, which spurred him to evaluate and look at what else his industry had to offer. That is when he found the technology industry. He took an opportunity to work at Roku and has now been there for four years. Roku did not have a video production team till he got there, so he has had the incredible opportunity to build up an amazing team of people, manage creators, and put out original content for the platform. Austin is excited to see where his career takes him and is proud to continue to represent Ball State in the media industry.
Advice for Current Students
Austin stated that one of the most important things you can do as a student is to build connections with the staff and faculty. He believes this is incredibly important as it is not only a great networking opportunity but also allows faculty to consider becoming a mentor as well as introducing you to new opportunities that you may not have heard of previously. Austin also said that students need to show up to class and do a good job, but that they shouldn’t let their college experience end with their academic performance. He encouraged all students to pursue jobs, clubs, organizations, or anything that builds a variety of skills and gets them connected to as many people as possible.
“The faculty and staff at Ball State are eager to support you in whatever endeavors you want to pursue. You just need to take advantage of that and get as much experience and knowledge as possible.”
He urges students to be curious and become great communicators. Every field requires good communication skills and if mastered, these skills can become a baseline for students to succeed. He has found that he has stood out among other applicants or colleagues due to the way BSU helped him cultivate how he connects with others.