For more than a decade, students from St. Petersburg College’s Advanced Videography class have had the opportunity to network, pad their portfolios and gain some real-world experience, thanks to the college’s partnership with WEDU Public Media.
According to videography professor John Muehl, the students, who work in teams of three or four, pitch and put together six-minute segments for WEDU’s Arts Plus program. Not every group makes it in, but Muehl said the majority of SPC students have done so.
“Over the past five years, 85 percent of our students’ stories have aired, and half of those have gone national,” he said. “Tampa Bay is the 13th largest market in the US, with a potential audience of millions of people. Having something that they worked on actually air is a huge boon to their portfolios.”
Under the guidance of their professor and WEDU Producer Farah Vickery, students apply everything they’ve learned, including pitching ideas, preproduction, storyboarding, writing scripts and scheduling shoots. They then move into production, where they shoot interviews and footage, then enter the post-production editing process. When it’s all wrapped up, the story package goes to WEDU for feedback. WEDU Senior Vice President Jack Conely said the SPC submissions often get used outside of the Tampa Bay market.
“One of the perks of this collaboration is that our local segments are contributed to a common pot, and some of the stations that are in big media markets – we’re talking about Chicago and New York – pick them up,” Conely said. “To be able to walk away with a degree and an experience like having a segment seen nationally, that’s something else.”
Not only do they get seen, but one group even won a Suncoast Regional Emmy Award for a piece they did on Pinellas County’s Sanitation department. Others have been hired as freelancers by WEDU. Isaac Locke recently participated in the project and said he could see a career coming out of it.
“It pushed me to do my best, and I know that it’s going to roll the ball forward in many ways,” Locke said.
You can watch Arts Plus segments here.