One of the things people always tell me in my classes is to say yes to new experiences and try to get out of my comfort zone. So when I got an e-mail asking me to join a new class called Reality Television Production, I figured it would be an interesting side of the business to learn. Little did I know that during the fall I would be a producer of a real television show that would showcase Michigan State University.
When I was first handed a camera and told about the project, I was a little intimidated. I knew about shooting and editing, but the idea of inserting myself into someone else’s life every week with a camera was a little overwhelming. I didn’t know exactly where to begin. But when our instructor Jim Peck asked who was available to cover Janisse Patino-Martinez for the first shoot that same day, I figured what better way to learn than by jumping right in.
When I got to the shoot, I was a little awkward. I had never met Janisse before, and here I was about to intrude on her dance audition. Luckily, Janisse was very excited to be a part of Inside Out and was eager to meet me. While she got right down to warming up for her audition, I didn’t know where to begin covering the shoot, so I just got my camera out and started shooting what looked interesting. I was stressed out about not knowing exactly what to do, but by the end I realized I had to be out there actually experiencing it and learning for myself. Once I got over my initial anxiety about the shoot, I felt right at home behind the camera and ended up getting some pretty cool shots.
For the student producers, the project was all about experiential learning. Our instructors set us loose with cameras and let us do what we thought was best. When we would come back with what we thought were finished pieces, they would show us ways to make them even better and used our mistakes as learning experiences for the next week. This allowed us to make some really good segments by the end of the semester.
While learning about editing and shooting was an invaluable experience for me as a video producer, I think one of the coolest parts of the project was getting to know the cast members. I saw so many different parts of MSU that I would have never experienced by myself. Claire took me to her bible study, Kristen introduced me to the volleyball team, and Audrey let me come to her performance with the African Students Union Gala. It was so interesting to see MSU from other students’ perspectives and it made me appreciate the size of Michigan State. I hope when people watch the show, they can appreciate and learn from the cast members as much as I did working with them.