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The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

The Oracle

The news site of Glenbrook South High School.

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TV opens doors for students on, off camera

Lights, camera, action! The lights come up, and the director calls “rolling” as students in South’s Television program begin to play their parts in yet another production.
Taught by Mark Ferguson, there are three different TV courses provided by the school: Intro to Broadcasting, Beginning TV (BTV) and Advanced TV (ATV).

GBS TV has come a long way since it first started in 1984, according to Ferguson. Some of its projects include the V-Show, seasonal sports videos and video announcements. GBS TV produced the Lip Dub, which has over 120,000 views between Vimeo and YouTube.

Senior Kevin Mathein, a leader in the ATV class, was a part of the production team on the Lip Dub.

“I worked with the rest of the staff to plan the route,” Mathein said. “During the actual Lip Dub, I was the assistant camera operator guiding [senior John Paul O’Rourke] through the route.”

Senior Jack Stillman, a member of ATV for three years, says that TV meets daily to work on productions.

“[Every day] we critique each other’s videos, we pitch ideas to each other for stories that might go in the GBS Report or Titan Sports,” Stillman said. “We write, edit and produce.”

Senior Emily Mitchell, a member of ATV, explained that they take on specific projects during the year.

“I am part of the Glenbrook South Report production staff, specifically the reporting side [which is] on camera,” Mitchell said.

Mitchell explained that other people are also involved in the Glenbrook South Report, such as senior Meghan Freeman, executive producer, and junior Chloe Valtos, director of Cinematography.

“For our specific weekly productions such as Glenbrook South Report and Titan Sports, that normally takes up a class period to shoot and a late night to edit,” Mitchell said. “Overall, we definitely donate a lot of our time to the class.

According to Ferguson, the creativity and self-motivation in the program create one of the best parts of teaching TV: the final products.

“One of the great pleasures of teaching is watching my students create something that will have a shelf life, something you could watch over and over and never tire of,” Ferguson said.

Stillman said that directing this year’s Homecoming video was one project he worked on that required a lot of time.

“[It] was pretty intense,” Stillman said. “Directing it involves coming up with the idea, writing a screenplay and script, casting a solid group of actors that you’ll be able to work with and that will find time for you […] and editing it all into one coherent video.”

According to Stillman, one of the biggest TV productions of the year is filming V-Show. This year will be Stillman’s third year as one of the four act directors.

“Basically that means [we’re] in charge of the TV crew for it, so we record the show with five cameras and they’re all on different things—one camera on a shot of the singer, another might be on the dancers behind them,” Stillman said. “In the studio, the directors call out the camera they want the shot to be on.”

Things start getting crazy around the TV studio as  V-Show gets closer, according to Mitchell. She was a V-Show director last year, which she says is a huge time commitment, and is excited to have the same role again during this year’s show.

“Directors have to start preparing their crew, and overall, everyone gets ready for the long week of late nights, minimum sleep and acts that get stuck in our heads by Saturday’s show,” Mitchell said.

According to Mitchell, it is hard to explain how much fun lies beyond the intensity of V-Show for ATV members.

“While it [can] be really tense at times, it is an amazing experience,” Mitchell said. “V-Show is my favorite part of the year despite the lack of sleep. When a show is about to start, the adrenaline gets going and everyone gets so excited. […] And by the last show, there is so much sadness because it’s over.”

In addition, ATV members are all assigned to create a video for V-Show and are required to participate in the annual TV Video produced by Stillman and Mathein, according to Mitchell.

O’Rourke is also a part of the V-Show, and believes it is the best time of the year. O’Rourke has been a member of ATV for four years and enjoys the room for creativity that TV allows.

“Over the summer, my friend [Peter Lyngso] and I did this 48-hour film festival which is where you have to write, shoot and edit a movie within 48 hours,” O’Rourke said. “We just hammered it out. We didn’t sleep the first night, went to sleep for like three hours the night after that. [We were so] tired but having an awesome product in the end was a great feeling.”

O’Rourke accredits much of the success of the program to Ferguson.

“Ferguson in TV is a really good guy […] to know,” O’Rourke said. “He’s been doing this for a while, so he’s very good at critiquing films and telling kids what they can do differently, creative criticism and what not. He’s a wonderful teacher.”

According to Stillman, ATV will be attending the annual film festival held by Chicagoland Television Educators Council (CTEC) for high school students across the Chicago area toward the end of the school year.

“Basically, you submit a news story, narrative, documentary or whatever,” Stillman said. “I think there are 13 categories, and they have judges vote on it and you can place.”

The GBS TV department has entered the competition every year since it has existed, according to Stillman.

“Last year, I won first place in live directing for performing art,” Stillman said. “So I was pretty happy about that.”

According to Ferguson, nine students will be attending the National Association of Broadcasting convention in Las Vegas for the first time this year.

Stillman is part of the group going to the convention and believes there will be fewer than five other high schools attending the event.

“It’s honestly like real professional stuff, and this is the first year we’re doing it,” Stillman said. “It’s an experiment to see if we get anything out of it.”

Mathein appreciates the quality of the TV program and he is glad he decided to get involved.

“They have given me opportunities that I wouldn’t have gotten at any other schools,” Mathein said. “I have gained knowledge that will help me pursue my future in filmmaking.”

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