When Mark Lassoff moved to Westport, he had never thought about TV or radio. Upon graduating from Staples High School 4 years later, he’d made a major mark in both. (He also starred on the wrestling team.)
Mark’s journey took him to the University of Texas, work in the Lone Star State, then back to this area.
He founded Framework Tech, a company that helps brands build engaging, broadcast-quality, instructional media.
Mark also produces online titles to help people learn skills like coding, design, and digital productivity.
Now he’s written a book.
“The Ultimate Guide to Creating Online Learning Video: A Comprehensive Handbook for Instructional Designers” blends professional insights, friendly advice, and light-hearted humor.
Mark gives Westport a nice shout-out in the introduction. He writes:
I took my first video production class in 1988.
My high school had a television studio. I was so excited that I enrolled in Mr. Green’s TV production class the first semester of my freshman year.
It was a different world then.
We recorded on 3/4-inch tapes. We used an analog linear editing machine. We produced graphics on a Chryon machine capable of 8-bit text. The text looked like it was being rendered by an Atari 400 in 1985. We had an Amiga 500
as well, but no one knew how to use it.
Still, we produced real video.
Early on, with my friend Evan Stein, I directed “Extra Help,” a live television
show where teachers provided homework help to students.
We had a full studio crew including camera operators, a floor manager, technical director and audio technician. None of us were older than 16.
From that crew, Emily Reich (now Emily Shem-Tov) would go on to work as a
director of product support operations for Netflix.
Evin Lowe stayed on the production side of things, becoming one of the few female gaffers on commercial television productions. Evin has worked on shows for Netflix and Stars.
As a senior I had the opportunity to work on the crew for “MiggsB on TV,” a local public-access talk show hosted by designer Miggs Burroughs.
This was shot in the same professional-level studio as our local “News 12” production. I worked as the audio technician. In addition to getting yelled at by a real television director, I was able to place a microphone on female professional
wrestlers, musicians, and local nutcases.
By the time I was 18, I had produced everything from summer camp videos to local commercials. I had even had the opportunity to work on a couple of local cable news productions.
Fast forward 30 years. I now have my own studio. It’s less than 10 miles from
the high school where I took Mr. Green’s class. The Chyron machine has been
replaced with an Apple Mac and Adobe Photoshop. The expensive studio cameras have been replaced with prosumer video cameras that cost a fraction of what those old studio cameras did. The editing is non-linear, digital, and often
completed in Starbucks, using a laptop.
The world has changed… and it hasn’t.
I still feel a sense of excitement and joy when I see something I created on screen.
Sure, it’s not exactly Avatar, but I’m proud of the videos I produce and grateful I getto do this for a living.
Our little studio in Connecticut produces hundreds of hours of video each year that teach people career-defining skills like coding, graphic design, and digital
We produce with a small crew, and without tremendously expensive equipment. Our whole studio cost less than $15,000.
We’re known in the industry for “punching above our weight,” and producing broadcast-level content with a small-scale budget.
Despite small budgets and limited resources, we’ve been successful over the last 12 years and have enrolled over 2.5 million people in our video courses.
The work we do in creating these videos helps people do their jobs, improve their careers, and learn critical skills.
The video you produce on workplace safety or chemical storage may not win an
Oscar, but it may save someone’s life.
The video you write on preventing workplace sexual harassment won’t win any Golden Globes, but it might help a new college graduate avoid painful workplace experiences.
This is important work. It’s also joyful work.
I recognize that I am privileged to do this for a living and remain forever in debt to a high school in Connecticut that introduced me to this field.
(“The Ultimate Guide to Creating Online Learning Video” by Mark Lassoff is available on Amazon.)
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