I can’t believe the semester has already come to an end. It’s crazy… I remember at the beginning coming into class after already missing the first day and thinking I could already tell how bad this semester was going to be but man was I wrong. I can honestly say that this class has taught me things that I will remember for the rest of my life. Dr. Collins, in the short time we got to know each other, you have made such an incredible impact on my life. I have never come away from a class with so much knowledge. You not only taught me skills that I will use in my future career but you have made me look at life differently and I just want to say thank you for taking your time to get to know each and every one of us and pushing us to be our best.
The first thing we did was the video essay. I remember doing my plan b because the first idea I had didn’t work out. I tried to go outside and create a video similar to the seasons in a day video we did as a class but it didn’t work out. I pretty much just got tight shots the entire time.
For the first VO and VOSOTVO, I decided to do about the gym and how the weather affects gym goers. I chose this topic because at the beginning of the semester I started getting into working out and I felt like it would be fun to do something I was interested in. I panned quite a bit which at the time, I didn’t realize we shouldn’t do unless it’s really necessary.
For my VO2 and VOSOTVO2, I decided to do it about de-stressing when the semester gets difficult… I felt like at this point I was starting to get better shots and I was learning to work the camera better. I also felt like I was getting better at finding a story and story telling.
My VO3 was about Clinton Lake and getting away. This was kind of like a plan C… I couldn’t really decide what I wanted to do but since I like to drive out to Clinton Lake and relax sometimes and just get away, I felt like others might like to know about it too. I really liked the shots I got of the lake as well.
My VOSOTVO3 was my favorite one to do. I felt like it was the most news worthy and most realistic. I was able to speak to a teacher at Lawrence High School about the president’s proposal to arm teachers and I had a really interesting conversation with her. I feel like I could’ve gotten better shots and I should’ve gotten more here.
The first package was fun for me. I worked with Grant and we decided to do our plan C in this case as well. We were having a hard time with our first ideas and he came up with the JUUL story. It really showed me how you can find a story anywhere and it was nice being able to work with Grant and get good SOTs and video. This was also when I found out that Grant got the CBS internship. Go Grant!!!
The second package was definitely hard work. After the first Pause 4 Pups event I went to turned into a complete disaster I had to think fast… I wasn’t sure if I would have enough time to pull a package together if I waited a whole week until the next event but I did just that and I got it done. I liked the interviews I got and I feel like the shots I got of the dogs were pretty good too. I really tried to get a variety of shots here.
and finally… the final newsbreak. During the first newsbreak I was definitely nervous and you could tell. I was over thinking the entire time and it was my FIRST time reading off the teleprompter and doing anything in front of the camera. The second time I made myself relax and I tried to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. I know I need to slow down when I read… that’s definitely something I’m going to need to work on but I’m still proud of myself for getting through it and getting it done.
Now that everything has come to an end, I’m able to look back and appreciate all of the work that I put in this past semester. I’m grateful for the learning experiences and the amazing memories I got to make with this class. I know that I have a lot to work on but I have come a very long way in the last four months and I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for all of us!
First off, Dr. Collins, I owe you an apology. When this semester began, I did not think I was going to like you. You came in with your big-time knowledge about journalism and broadcasting and I stubbornly thought you weren’t going to be someone I got along with.
Wow, was I wrong. I have never had a professor that genuinely cares about her students and their success like you do. I instantly began to grow to like you and learn from you quickly. Your teaching method was intense and immersive and, at times, overwhelming, but I have never gotten so much from a class as I have from this one. So, I am sorry for ever thinking I wouldn’t like you because you are hands down the best professor I have ever had.
As for my journey throughout this class, I began with little video experience and it showed in my first project. In my Video Essay, I had numerous shaky camera shots and blurry ones as well. I accidentally forgot a tripod when I filmed this video, creating the bad, shaky shots. As for the story line, I thought it was all there for an early video essay.
Moving on to the first real news stories we did on the year, the VO1 and VOSOT1, I thought that my Farmer’s Ball story was a good start to the year but the structure and planning of my story layout needed a lot of work. I thought I had a good soundbite, but it was a little long. Overall, I thought I did a good job.
In my VO2 and VOSOT2, I began to put things together a little better in terms of structure and planning of my shots, and getting a good interview. For a story that was about the new upgrades to the union (what I would consider a horribly boring topic), I think I did fairly well.
When we set up our third stage of projects, we had to finally do different topics for the VO3 and VOSOT3. That provided a very interesting challenge. Having to find not one, but two separate stories, was a challenge I have not been faced with before. I think that it made me better though because I had to utilize a plan C.
The growth that I got from PACKAGE1 to PACKAGE2 is evident to me because I moved on from sports to a human interest story that I truly enjoyed. The second package was a story about my high school teacher whose son is battling cancer. It’s a story I have followed since the beginning. I truly enjoyed who I worked with and how I got to know the situation and gain perspective on a community I am closed tied to.
The NEWSBREAK was an entirely different situation. I have never done any live TV of any sort before in my life and it was so intimidating but also amazing at the same time because it was a blast and it confirmed what I want to do with my career. This class helped me grow so much in my journalism career and I am so glad to have been given this opportunity.
It’s really crazy how things seem to go so slow, but then you look up realize how much time has passed. Like how May is here, and finals start in two days. Or how my junior year in college is over. Or how I’m in my twenties, when I swear to you last week I was playing tag around the neighborhood with my friends. Maybe it’s because we spend so much of that time waiting for the future, or dreading the moments we’re in now. I really don’t know, but we’re here, so I guess I should do some reflecting. This class is like none I’ve ever taken, and I’m glad to have shared it with all of you.
Our first assignment was a video essay, which sounded easy to me but still made me briefly panic. I got a great idea to film something in the typical style I’m used to: humorous and almost sketch-like (It involved Tide Pods). That was obviously the wrong way to do things and I wasted a lot of time and footage pursuing that. I still had to put something together, so I went to the Spencer Museum of Art. They promptly told me I could not go in with a tripod or a camera. I was defeated so I just went for a walk. I love our campus, and I really think it is beautiful, so I just started shooting everything I saw. It turned into “A Walk on The Hill” and I am fairly proud of how it came out after several other plans had failed. It was a good starting point for me. This was the very first project we made, and I had to use my plan C. We had barely talked about it, and that’s how important it is!
I covered William Allen White’s 150th birthday party in the J-School for our first VO/VOSOTVO, and I think I got some good shots here. I did not get the amount of shots or the variety that I wanted, but there was a lot less action than I thought there would be at an event offering free food to college students. It was during classes, and I had to leave one of mine just to get there on time, so maybe that’s why less people showed up. I don’t like how my interview with Dean Brill looks, she kept leaning to the edge of the frame a little more than I’d like. It’s also hard to tell the dean of your school to stand up straight and stop moving.. As for positives, the shots I did get were mostly good and I was happy about how this turned out. I was nervous about the writing of my script, because in the past i haven’t done much of that, but it kind of came naturally once I started to speak it as I wrote it. Jon grabbing a cupcake is my favorite shot ever.
This was my favorite VO to shoot. There’s just something about going out at times when less people are out than normal. I don’t enjoy being cold, but I love winter weather events. I really think snow is so beautiful after it first falls, and capturing that is so exciting. Covering the ice storms was a no brainer once I knew the school would be closed for at least a day. However, that meant I couldn’t fix equipment issues such as my microphone not working. My interview audio was so low I barely heard it AFTER turning up my volume and the audio track volume all the way. That was a bummer, but we learn from our mistakes! I think there is improvement here in some of my shots. I tried to get more artsy with it than the first VO/VOSOTVO.
I remember the last VO/VOSOTVO being a struggle. I understand why we had to make two separate videos this time. It helps us grow and think better. I had a very hard time coming up with both of my ideas. Being in the newsroom helped me get my VO idea about Dick’s Sporting Goods, as they had mentioned on broadcast that there is a store in Lawrence and that they did sell guns. This was of course just after the Florida school shooting, when Dick’s announced they would stop selling guns. The basketball piece is not so good. It has no nat sound, I know that. Something happened while recording, and I had no idea how to fix it. The sound worked fine for my interview with a mic plugged in, but there was no sound on my other clips. I think my writing for both of these was fine, it just sucks that the audio didn’t work right on the VOSOTVO, because I was making so many improvements. It felt like no matter how well I did, something would always keep the projects from being my best.
The first package was made so easy for me because Kathy was an amazing partner! She stumbled upon the exhibit out in front of the J-school and it was a great idea to film that. Kathy also did basically all of the shooting because while we were there I had to leave to give tours to high school students (I am an ambassador for the J-school). So she really took hold of shooting the project and had some great interviews. Editing was the rough part, because to fit all of our soundbites we went way over on time and had to cut things down. Normally, cutting would be fine, but that meant speeding up our voiceovers, which got messy. It leads to a project that feels a tad rushed in the beginning, but I slowed down as it went on and just decided cutting time wasn’t worth sacrificing the quality. I think this turned out so well, and it’s the best video that I was a part of this semester. Very happy with it, and I think it showed me for real how far Kathy had come since the class started. She’s an all-star!
If I’m honest here, package two is not my best work. It was like, plan Z or something. I was running out of time after multiple ideas failed to materialize, and I just made a video about a video game. It seemed lazy to me, but it’s all I had. My lower thirds were pretty bad, and some of the lighting is off as well. My first interviewee, Sam, was not excited to be on camera. You can clearly see that in his soundbites, but I had to use them. The biggest thing about making packages for me is writing the entire script. I never wrote scripts before this class. I would just think of what to say, and record it. So this kind of added another layer to things that made me write my words, and I think that keeps you from just going with the first thing and having to sit and think about what you want to say. It wasn’t horrible, but it just wasn’t my best. It just fell in that time of the semester where you have so many things going on and I had to throw some stuff together to make it work.
This is it, the final newsbreak! You never stop and realize how far you’ve come while you’re doing things like this. I remember in January an entire TEAM of people not being able to get live newscasts going for weeks with the new set in Dole, and that’s literally their job. When putting it into perspective like that, I mean we made these by ourselves. Obviously we helped each other, but making the rundown and a national news story and scripts and weather and having to be on camera was really a culmination of this entire semester of learning and growing. And we did it! These were all SO good, guys. Really I am proud of everyone, and that includes myself. I am often critical of my work, because I feel like I can be better. I believe I only stumbled once while reading during the entire newsbreak, and I wrapped it up pretty well when I was showed the time near the end.
Well, that’s it.. You know, Doctor Collins had us all write down some contact info, and she put it all together in a document or spreadsheet and emailed it out pretty early on. I was sitting in my apartment and I felt like we had such a long journey ahead, and I was already getting confused or frustrated with the class before we had done anything. I was kind of scared, because I never want to let anyone down, especially my father who works hard and pays for me to be here and learn all by himself. I decided to take everyone’s name and number, all of you people that I didn’t really know, and put it in a group chat. It seemed simple and I felt like I might be reaching, and nobody would ever use it or would just think it was weird that I did that. I was wrong. It might have been the best decision I made this semester. We’ve all grown into this rare thing for a class of almost 20 (rare for ANY class), a family. Everyone stepped up, and everyone helped each other in those times where we were confused or didn’t quite understand Dr.Collins. Without you guys, I wouldn’t have made it through this.
Speaking of Dr.Collins, I’d just like to thank you so much. I was a semester late to taking J550. I was actually supposed to take it in the Fall, but it got delayed to this semester. I kicked myself for so long about that, thinking I should already be in J620, and closer to the end than I was. But I now realize how fortunate I was that this happened. Any other semester, I would have had the exact same experience as all the other journalism kids at KU. The same professor saying the same things. But we got YOU. Someone who has been everywhere and done everything. Someone who knows HOW to teach this class and make it different. Your school is very lucky to have you, and I would help KU fundraise in a heartbeat to pay you to stay.
Anyway guys, this is getting close to two thousand words, so I should probably wrap it up. I think I can see my growth from start to end in these videos. I grew because of the teaching, and because of all of you. Thank you all for making it a worthwhile semester. Next time we have a party, I promise I’ll bring my guitar and play a cheesy song for you. I’ll leave you with a picture that reminds me I’m in my twenties. I swear to you it was just last week.. My name is Riley Wood, Standby…