Quiet on Set: Students Get Hands-On Experience in TV Production
Galloway, N.J. – “Do you mind looking here for me?”
The guests sitting on set in Stockton’s Production Studio – a Pennsylvania vlogger who is most known for surfing in all 50 states and his wife – simultaneously looked up at the student cameraperson to their left, all to realize that the voice in the dark actually came from their right.
Soon, the sound of feedback crackled through the air of the room.
“Your arm is covering the mic – try to keep your arms on the table,” another media production student said before pointing to the surfer Ben Gravy’s bright Hawaiian shirt covered in pineapples, “Plus, you have on a nice shirt, and we would love for the audience to see it.”
The sound of feedback was soon replaced by the dull hum of the ceiling spotlights and the sound of laughter as student hosts Alex Corson and Anthony Gentile joked with their guests. As Corson was about to tell another joke, a kind but stern voice rang out.
“Quiet on set, please!”
The source of the voice pointed to the room behind the studio, where media production students controlling the music and graphics were watching the set from behind multiple control panels and a window right above. Hand gestures were exchanged between the two groups as Alyssa Grignolo, the student director in the back room, and another student in the studio counted down from five.
This isn’t behind the scenes of just any televised interview – it’s actually the final project for Associate Professor Joe’l Ludovich’s class, TV Production, in the Communication Studies program.
Ludovich, who is the current chair of and has been teaching in the Communication Studies program for almost 17 years, says that the class and final project are informed by her years as a television producer. Using her background and experience, she created a project that mimics a live – not pre-taped – production that is almost entirely student-run.
According to Ludovich, this kind of hands-on experience is important for media production students looking to find opportunities in this specific field of Communication Studies.
“I really bring what I have done professionally as a producer into the classroom, and I think that, at the level where we're working, the best possible experience I can give them includes doing things live,” Ludovich said. “I want them to have the confidence to walk into any production or TV studio, understand what's happening and be confident that they can do each role.”
Media production students typically come into the class unfamiliar with the process, and the many roles that producing a television show requires, such as audio, technical directing, live switching, graphics and music production. They leave the class not only confident in what they have determined to be their niche but also able to identify and operate everything in the production studio due to cross-training in the classroom.
The training culminates in a show that is created by one of the students and run by all of them. This year, the show “APC–TV” was created and produced by eponymous host Alex P. Corson and executive producer and co-host Gentile. This massive undertaking was one full of valuable lessons for the class.
“If there is one big thing I learned, (this) has taught me how to increase my creativity,” Corson said. “I also learned how to be a team player and, overall, how to be a very responsible human being. I never realized I’d be put into this type of position, but it gave me the opportunity to showcase what I really want to show to the world with my creativity, imagination and just about anything else.”
“I’m actually quite a shy person, so I learned how to take charge and work well in a group,” student director Grignolo said.
“One thing that this whole production definitely taught me about is getting everything ready beforehand and the importance of making sure everything's ready. It really showed me how beneficial it can be to get everything handled before things start,” student Akili Allison, who supported audio, said.
“To be honest with you, the best part was just making memories,” Gentile said. “I had a lot of fun, made a lot of friends, and to be on camera to do an actual talk show with a professional surfer and someone who's very well-known was amazing. That's crossed off of the bucket list, for sure. I would do this class again and recommend it to anyone who wants to take it.”
“For me, as their professor, it's been great to see the students really come together, working as a production team and getting the final show up and running,” Ludovich shared. “They had several weeks to work on it, and I'm really impressed with how they've done with rehearsing and making the show really look professional. I really love to see their growth throughout the semester and to see, you know, the relief on everyone’s faces when they've accomplished something. It really makes me happy to see.”
Stockton Professors Produce Original Television Pilot
April 7, 2023
Galloway, N.J. ― Shayna Black arrives at her first teaching job at a predominantly white institution in the rural heartland of America, where she is quickly admired for her glowing skin instead of her Ph.D.
She is not taken seriously by her students, who she is just a few years older than. A new colleague tries to set her up with the basketball coach — one of the only other Black people on campus.
Could this really be happening, or is this a work of fiction?
Turns out, it’s both. While Shayna Black is the hip-hop loving millennial protagonist in Professor Donnetrice Allison’s television script, the uncomfortable situations, microaggressions and ignorance were all very real to Allison, who walked in Black’s shoes as a young university professor in the 1990s.
“She is navigating teaching, her love life and the politics of getting tenure,” Allison said.
– Story by Stacey Clapp
– Story by Loukaia Taylor
– Photos by Lizzie Nealis