Bernier applies life experiences to classroom setting

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Bernier applies life experiences to classroom setting


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Often a life in the media industry appears like a utopia: paparazzi, a large income, celebrities, and fine dining. However this is not reality, at least not at the beginning.

Media teacher Brian Bernier has traveled this rocky trek firsthand – from pulling cable for local radio stations to traveling the nation covering the NFL – Bernier built his career from the bottom-up, gaining both experience and wisdom.

Now in his 14th year in the classroom, and currently the director of Perry Podcast and Puma Nation Live, he tells students when pursuing a career in media to be aware of the not-so-glamorous life that often precedes a desired job.

“You have to take your lumps,” he said. “You are going to be treated like dirt, going to get people coffee, but you have to work your way through all of that.”

Originally from Southern California where he excelled in athletics in high school, Bernier attended Arizona State as well as other colleges and received a degree in broadcast journalism. His career in Phoenix began in radio at KZZP (104.7), where he soon earned a promotion as an associate show producer and felt the intensity of a life in media.

“Once you learn the basics, you are expected to know how to finish from Point A to Point B, there are not a lot of people patting you on the back as you go.”

His career path led him astray from music and back towards his passion: football.

Spending his time working for the Arizona Cardinals and the Univ. of Southern California Trojans as an assistant director of video operations, filming practices and games while traveling with the team.

Throughout this adventure, he discovered what the media industry actually looked like versus the extravagant lifestyle that many assume.

“Working in media is crazy,” Bernier solidifies, “Understanding that you have to pay your dues, move up in the progression of things, start out making six bucks an hour if you want to move to the top of the pyramid.”

The way that Bernier approaches his job as a teacher is largely influenced by his past experiences.

“I am very critical,” he said, “I notice all little mistakes because that is how my work environment was.”

Because of his thirst to excel, he is largely admired by his colleagues. Sculpture teacher Sharon Biemond has worked with Bernier since PHS opened.

“He has worked in the industry, the kids respect him for that,” she explained.

Bernier stresses that his class is a mirror of the broadcast industry. The expectations in the real world are more demanding than school, and the PHS television production programs prepare students for life after school.

“Mistakes don’t go over [well],” he said of real jobs. “You are chewed out at the top of your lungs. School is all like ‘hey, we will give you another chance.’ In that industry there are no chances.”

Senior Adam Farnsworth has been a student in Bernier’s classes for three years, and has earned prominent role of “Perry Podcast.”

“He really makes us challenge ourselves, pointing out the finer details within our projects,” Farnsworth said. “He doesn’t leave any stone unturned.”

“I always wanted to teach, it is awesome seeing kids go to film school,” Bernier said. “You feel like you had a hand in that, helping them along the way. I never thought it would be satisfying just getting a paycheck and working 80 hours a week.”

Bernier continues to guide his students in gaining experience, helping them to achieve success and confidence.