Focused: Bohan in director’s chair on college audio-visual needs

With professional experience in many relevant areas, he comes to Vermont from Wesleyan, excited to help develop a new media creation studio and produce high-level projects across campus

January 20, 2022
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Bohan headshot

Patrick Bohan

As a man whose life and passions long have pivoted on the interplay of narratives and images, the veteran videographer and story-teller Patrick Bohan didn’t take long to get the big picture about the almost magical allure of the Saint Michael’s community, along with its audio-visual needs and his potential role in telling its story.

Bohan describes varied personal life and career experiences that seem in retrospect to have destined him for this particular challenge — including as a key driver of a planned new media creation studio  — at this particular time, at Saint Michael’s.  He is off and running with a semester under his belt as the College’s new Director of Media Creation after working most recently at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. Part of his work with students will be guiding student workers in the Marketing/Communications office where he has a prescribed role doing media production for admission, enrollment and academic departments as well.

As through most of his life’s varied enterprises, he just wishes he had more hours in a day to do all the things he loves, consonant with his long-demonstrated go-the-extra-mile nature in matters both personal and professional.

Jack-of-all-trades, master of most

In 2007, Bohan graduated with a rare double concentration in both film and video production from a strong, practical-experience-oriented Fitchburg State (MA) program. Since then, successively, he has worked in TV news in Springfield, MA, and Providence, RI, doing camera, audio, lighting, editing and other studio work, and as a producer of corporate videos. Later he was a technician installing broadcast production studios across New England similar to the one he will be part of overseeing at Saint Michael’s.

Pat shoots

Videographer Patrick Bohan on a shoot earlier in his career. The large photo behind the headline shows Pat working with student Peyton Edwards ’23 on a St. Mike’s video project during the recent fall semester.

Following his earlier studio installation job, Bohan was a freelance video producer for schools and businesses and, most recently since 2017, a video producer at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. A lifelong storyteller from a family of film buffs and campfire yarn-spinners, Bohan has enthusiasms that run both wide and deep, particularly when it comes to the latest technologies in his field. He is a living example of experience being the best teacher and says he wants to bring similar exciting practical opportunities to Saint Michael’s students.

“When I started working for Wesleyan I realized the potential for such a fascinating variety of projects working at a college, which is great for somebody like me who is interested in so many things,” he said, acknowledging his genuine enthusiasm for everything from art and music to science, philosophy and social sciences and even athletics. “I saw the Saint Mike’s job posted and said, ‘wow, this is a pretty unique opportunity to do all thing things I loved doing at Wesleyan, but also with the gigantic opportunity from my standpoint of building this new studio that will be open next fall.”

Vermont itself attracted him and his wife too — Bohan spent younger childhood years in Hartford, VT, before moving to Western Massachusetts when his mom moved there before middle and high school. “When I was in Vermont I can remember we’d grab our milk and get a VHS movie for the family from the general store, and that’s where my love for movies started,” he said. “We’re all film nerds.”

As a young teen he became an enthusiastic skateboarder, and, with his best friend, began shooting skating videos, which helped advance his skills. Early jobs at Radio Shack in younger years furthered his interest and knowledge concerning anything electronic, and demonstrated his natural gifts in all matters technical.

He said he chose Fitchburg for college since he could study both film and video, which were very distinct tracks in those days of the early 2000s. “In 2004 the digital revolution came out with high-tech video cameras, so we would shoot movies without the celluloid film, but approximating film very closely.” That revolution made him pivot in his career upon realizing that “video was just as important as film since HD was just coming out.”

Such flexibility and curiosity have become a theme through his career. “Whenever I see something interesting or coming out that could be a new possibility or just neat, I gravitate toward that — the new tools and exciting new things –and try to learn them as quickly as possible to know what the capabilities are,” Bohan said.

What can students expect?

Beyond his vast technical knowledge and interests, Bohan deeply values the human and academic sides of his work when meeting faculty and staff and particularly when helping students.

coppola

Saint Michael’s student Will Coppola ’23 works on a video this recent fall semester, part of his collaborative efforts with Patrick Bohan.

“I’m pretty passionate about my work with the students since I can relate it to myself as a student,” Bohan said. “I was one myself 15 years ago — not that long ago — so I know where they are in their lives and can relate to the pressures of being a student and juggling so many things, trying to prepare themselves for the real world and life.”

Bohan today moves comfortably in real-world life as well, as the married father of two young children. He said once he visited the St. Mike’s campus late in the interview process and got such a strong positive feeling about the community, he talked it over with his family “and we decided to just go for it — I’ve found sometimes you just have to jump off the cliff and find wings.”

Bohan said he makes a point of treating the students he works with like adults – “because, guess what? They are adults!” He strives for interactions that feel like professional mentoring and are never condescending.

As one who looks young for his age, Bohan said, he sometimes struggled to be taken seriously early in his work career until he showed people what he could do.  “We’re all trying to figure out our path in this crazy world, so I always approach it with a sense of respect and openness so students feel comfortable approaching people who have knowledge in technical or daunting things,” he said.

A natural synergy

Bohan thinks the liberal arts and the studio world he is helping create amount to a match made in Heaven. “In many ways media production is the ultimate liberal arts – you have to learn so many things to become an effective producer,” he said. “What I do is really a liberal arts approach to production because I’ve done marketing, shot films, run audio for friends on projects, taken photos for magazines and picked up all different kinds of little skills. That’s what is great about having a studio like this in a liberal arts college.”

podcast

Producing a fun podcast with an old friend about their shared entertainment interests is one of many outside hobbies for the versatile Patrick Bohan (left).

His own life outside work testifies to his genuine curiosity beyond the simply technical. “I’m a massive movie fan and have about 1,000 blue rays on my wall at home so I’m constantly watching films and trying to keep up with TV shows,” he said. “I also just got into collecting LPs and records and might start skateboarding again soon, with my son. I also have a podcast with an old friend based on our commenting about our viewing interests, and I’ve done so many passion projects through the years, including being cinematographer for films with some fairly well-known actors.”

The College already has benefitted considerably from Bohan’s skill and speed at producing professional quality videos: He has done several for the admission and president’s offices, along with marketing/communications projects — all well received.

Since his main challenge is time, Bohan said, he already has recruited a few motivated and talented students fall semester who sought him out to do important projects under his guidance, with several learning fast and creating videos already. “My one prerequisite is be interested,” he said. “I’ll teach you everything you want to know.”

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