Rehearsals for CCM's April 2016 production of SWAN LAKE.

E-Media Alumnus Wins Regional Emmy for Collaborative Student Video Series

Behind-the-scenes of CCM's production of 'Swan Lake.' Photos by UC News Writing and Production Class.

Behind-the-scenes of CCM’s production of “Swan Lake.” Photos by UC News Writing and Production Class.

After months of work and hours of filming, University of Cincinnati students produced a video series that recently won an Emmy at the Ohio Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Mark D’Andrea (BFA E-Media, 2016) won the Emmy as director and videographer of Building a Ballet. He worked on the project as a student with classmates enrolled in the Advanced News Writing and Production course, part of UC’s Digital Media Collaborative (DMC) between CCM, the College of Design Architecture, Art and Planning, the McMicken College of Arts & Sciences and UC Libraries.

Taught by Assistant Professor of E-Media Hagit Limor and Journalism Professor Bob Jonason, the class was created under the DMC umbrella in 2015 to build a bridge between colleges, giving students a hands-on learning experience that goes beyond the classroom. It blends technical and production skills  with creative expertise and storytelling.

“They learn to collaborate, they learn from each other, and they learn what it takes to produce professional-quality work,” Jonason said. “We think the class emulates real life. No matter where students land a job, they likely will be working in teams and with colleagues with various skills and from various backgrounds. And they will be held to high standards. This class helps prepare them for that work environment.”

Once completed, student projects are pitched to local media outlets for publication. The “Building a Ballet” videos were featured in Cincinnati Magazine. Previous class projects have been published by WCPO, FOX19 and the Cincinnati Enquirer, according to Limor. Students carry the project from idea to reality setting up interviews, shooting the film and editing it down to the final product. “They are in charge,” she said.

At the beginning of spring semester, students pitched the idea to create a video series focused on CCM’s production of Swan Lake.

Students spent months filming 'Swan Lake' rehearsals and interviewing cast members.

A clip from the “Building a Ballet” videos. Students spent months filming “Swan Lake” rehearsals and interviewing cast members.

How do you build a ballet? What do rehearsals look like?

They answered those questions in four videos composed of cast interviews and raw rehearsal footage.

Visit the class website students created to watch all four videos.

The series was created by students Brevin Couch, Tyler Dunn, Daniel Honerkamp, Ailish Masterston and Andrew Wilkins under D’Andrea’s “amazing eye,” Limor said.

D’Andrea shot and edited hours of footage featuring interviews with Swan Lake cast members Madison Holschuh, Sam Jones, Kianhna Saneshige and Dance Department chair and Swan Lake co-director Jiang Qi. The student director said his biggest challenge was capturing the emotion of the dancers on film.

“Watching the dancers perform was incredibly powerful, and at first, I didn’t feel like I was doing it justice,” D’Andrea said. “So I asked my teachers, and I kept experimenting and trying new things, really watching the dance and seeing where I needed to be to get it right.”

A recent graduate, D’Andrea is currently working as an assignment editor at FOX19 and has applied to several video production jobs. His dream is to one day make music videos or special skits for Saturday Night Live.

The Advanced News Writing and Production class is designed to give students professional work experience so they can build their resumes before they graduate, Limor said. Each project serves to strengthen their skill sets with hands-on experience.

“When you get out of school, potential employers want you to be as well-rounded as possible,” Limor said. “This is an innovative class that is exactly what the future needs to be for this line of work. Experiential learning is everything when training people for a job.”

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Students in UC's Production Master Class documenting 'Expedition Alaska 2015.'

UC Production Master Class Films 2015 Expedition Alaska Adventure Race

This summer, the University of Cincinnati’s Production Master Class changes venues from California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range to the pristine wilderness of Alaska to document Expedition Alaska 2015, a 350 mile, seven day non-stop adventure race from June 28 to July 5.

A crew of seven UC students is in Alaska now, working with media professionals to develop a documentary film covering this extraordinary sporting event!

A premier qualifying race for the Adventure Racing World Series, Expedition Alaska 2015 features ocean kayaking, whitewater rafting, glacier trekking, rock climbing and mountain biking. Four person teams, comprised of the world’s best endurance athletes, will navigate by map and compass through the stunning scenery of the world’s most remote, famous and beautiful terrain, the Kenai Peninsula.

The UC Production Master Class involves an interdisciplinary group of students and faculty from the University of Cincinnati who work with nationally recognized television and film professionals to produce digital media content that reaches a national and global audience.

Since 2012, the UC Production Master Class has involved over 90 UC students hailing from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

UC Production Master Class.Developed by CCM Professor Kevin Burke and UC Alumnus and Emmy award-winning producer Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001), the UC Production Master Course was first funded by a three-year grant from the UC Forward Collaborative, an initiative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan. Earlier this year, UC President Santa Ono pledged additional funding, which allowed the production to continue beyond its initial three-year grant period.

The goal was to create a transformative, “hands-on” experience for the students by taking them out of the classroom and into the field to produce the documentary series that could be distributed to a national television audience.

The project’s initial three years focused on the Gold Rush Expedition Race, a grueling 275-mile race through the California wilderness. Three 90-minute films were produced to document that race. All three films have aired nationally on NBC’s Universal Sports Network.

The 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film was recently nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in the professional category of Best Documentary – Cultural/Topical. You can learn more about that nomination by visiting http://www.uc.edu/news/NR.aspx?id=21859.

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The 2013 UC Gold Rush team at Half Dome in Yosemite National Park.

UC Production Master Class Documentary Film Receives Regional Emmy Nomination

We are happy to report that the University of Cincinnati student-produced 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race documentary film has been nominated for an Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences! The nomination is in the professional category of Best Documentary – Cultural/Topical.

UC Production Master Class.A three-year project of the UC Production Master Class, the Gold Rush Expedition Race documentaries chronicle one of the foremost expedition races in the world. Each 90-minute documentary features an international field of 50 elite athletes tackling a grueling 275-mile course through the California wilderness as they test their mental and physical limits in the toughest competition in North America. All three films have aired nationally on NBC’s Universal Sports Network (you can view upcoming broadcast times here).

Since 2012, the UC Production Master Class has involved over 90 UC students hailing from the College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), the College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning (DAAP) and the McMicken College of Arts and Sciences.

The project was conceived by CCM Division of Electronic Media Professor Kevin Burke and professional television director/producer and distinguished CCM alumnus Brian J. Leitten (BFA, 2001), who advise the project and provide professional guidance and feedback to the students during all phases of the documentaries development.

Student teams shoot, edit, script and produce the Gold Rush Expedition Race films on location in the Sierra Nevada mountains of California. “Although there is professional mentoring and oversight during the project,” Burke explains, “it is primarily produced and edited by the students, which makes it a unique example of successful experiential learning and interdisciplinary collaboration.”

The UC Production Master Course was first funded by a three-year grant from the UC Forward Collaborative, an initiative that supports experiential learning and is part of the UC Academic Master Plan. Earlier this year, UC President Santa Ono pledged additional funding, which will allow the production to continue beyond its initial three-year grant period. The presidential investment represents Ono’s ongoing support of interdisciplinary digital media projects and experiential learning at the University of Cincinnati.

“We are delighted with this nomination and are grateful to President Ono, UC Provost Beverly Davenport and the UC Forward Collaborative for their support of yet another successful example of experiential learning at UC,” says Burke.

Burke and Leitten served as Executive Producers on the 2013 Gold Rush Expedition Race, alongside UC students Callie Peters and Ben Proctor.

The 51st Annual Ohio Valley Regional Emmy Awards will be held at the Keeneland Entertainment Center in Lexington, Ky. Winners will be announced on July 25. The Ohio Valley Region includes Cincinnati, Columbus, Louisville, Lexington, most of West Virginia, southern Indiana, southern half of Ohio and northern half of Kentucky. Learn more by visiting http://ohiovalleyemmy.org/awards.

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