Ben Kozuch, a onetime Israeli fighter pilot, emigrated to the U.S. and started a business producing management training videos in New Jersey in the '80s. Nine years ago, hoping to make his editing life easier, he was one of the first to own an Avid nonlinear editing system. "Avid was looking to outsource the training, and I got the contract to open the Avid school in the New York market," he explains. "I knew this could be a good business, but I had no idea it would be where it is today."
Where it is today is Future Media Concepts, a digital media training center that Kozuch and co-principal Jeff Rothberg, a former account guy at Kenyon & Eckhardt, opened in New York in 1993. The school has since sprouted branches in Boston and Philadelphia, as well as a Website at fmctraining.com. Besides Avid, FMC offers manufacturer-authorized instruction for Adobe, Softimage, NewTek, Macromedia, Discreet, Digidesign and Fast products. Moreover, in a new collaboration with Apple, FMC has introduced a training program for Final Cut Pro, which is fast becoming the ultra-affordable editing system of choice in both the amateur and pro ranks.
Thanks to the sheer immensity of the digital revolution, business is booming. FMC clients include CBS, CNN, MTV and CNBC, but kids who have yet to break into the industry are clamoring for classes too. "Now it's about the Internet and digital video; it's gone way beyond basic training," says Kozuch. "Everybody wants to be a Web designer today. In the old days, the output was always Beta SP. Now the output can be CD-ROM, DVD or it goes straight to the Web as streaming video. It's a whole new industry, and there's all kinds of software for it."
Avid is still an FMC mainstay, of course; a complete Avid training program is 108 hours, but a typical program, according to Kozuch, is two-full days of class for $850. Are there any competitors in the field? Yes, says Kozuch, "but not with all the certifications we have. This is a one-stop authorized training center for just about everything." Kozuch and Rothberg are planning to add locations in two additional cities, to be named shortly. "Every big city is a good target center, the way the kids are taking to digital media nowadays," Kozuch happily notes. (TK)