Follow That Passion (part 2 of 3)

This is the second of three retrospective blogs exploring how honoring passion early in youth creates a rich, satisfying life.
I encourage young adults to read and share these blogs.


Continuing from last week… Another question has been “What college classes did you take to prepare for your career?

In general, none. Well, none compared to eventual real world experiences. For the inner-driven individual who inherently knows dimensional design is in their future, the best education is making things for real. Online classes and book-learning merely introduce concepts. If you seek to shape physical things, you must actively participate in the dimensional world. Apprentice at a scenic shop, or intern at an exhibit building company. Find a mentor who introduces you new technologies and helps you grow your talents through playful exploration and serious work with meaningful deadlines. Hey, fun is just as important as work. When passion if fueling your journey, time stops — and work transforms into boundless excitement. I’m not kidding.

Get in the middle of physical situations where you apply passion and learn amidst actual projects with paying clients. The big advantage here is meeting adults who let you ‘work the ropes’ in some way. During high school I interned at San Diego’s KGTV, at the time a local NBC-affiliate television station producing live news shows each day along with southern California commercials. I met William Shatner one afternoon in Studio B as he worked on a stealth project.

Working under the direction of KGTV graphic design mentor Gil Jimenez grandly shaped my perspective of a professional future. I learned about fonts, letter spacing, and composition. I experienced an unexpected layoff of others around me – forever emblazoned in my memory as normally stoic adults became emotionally fragile within moments of receiving the news. I also experienced a regional sportscaster slipping behind the news desk moments before the camera went live. He was dressed in a dress shirt, tie, and jacket – while wearing Bermuda shorts and sandals the camera could not see. Who ever said work had to be uncomfortable?!


My real “break” came in starting my own company. LaserDream Productions enabled the learning of real business – with contracts, obligations, responsibilities, and best of all – income. The company created laser light show effects. (The image above shows Geoff with a show laser, and photographer/friend Nick Nacca – a fellow passion follower) The LaserDream projection systems were built by hand before digital computers were commonly available. Steve Jobs was bringing Apple Computer up to speed around the same time. It was during this time I learned machining, electronics manufacturing, and precision optical design.

Empowering that fledgling company was my prime mentor, Gary Stadler, who in time, welcomed me into his wizarding world. Know that the first encounter with Gary abruptly ended with his shop door being closed in my face – then loudly locked. Don’t be discouraged. As in so many classic stories, the mentor is not always available. However, if your passion is strong enough, and your understanding of yourself true enough, your inner drive will persist to secure just the right person.

“Path to passion: Expose your nose to virtuosos who make you glow.”

– Geoff Puckett


Go to part 3…

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