Food, Kids and Animals

I am in the process of finishing up authoring a couple of classes that will run in the summer session at AAU.  It’s a compact semester, like the NBA schedule this year. We do two-a -weeks instead of one.

The homework changes a little in the summer. because we are only going seven weeks, we can’t have the students doing 5000 word essays, and then plop another video editing project on them two days later.

It’s a progression of projects over the weeks that culminate in a final (truncated) thesis, essay or transmedia package.

There was one  modest undergrad class I got a particular kick out of creating. It’s called Transmedia Communications 3: Hosting and Creative Content.

Simply explained, it’s a class on how to be a good host. We have multitudinous video examples of professionals successfully performing their craft . This is accompanied by words on how to dress, how to work with a producer/director, how to make it slick if you’re a “one man band”, and why words matter.

I suppose in this age of everyone being an on-camera or on-mic talent, with 60 hours of YouTube video now being uploaded every 60 seconds, you wonder why this is a big deal.

It’s a big deal because almost all of that content is not professional – you could not get a job with those ill-framed, out of focus and poorly lit examples.

Television has slashed expenses and people so radically. We are gathering more and more evidence that media like magazines are sending  full video crews to important shoots; more people are assigned to put together video projects these days for Wired than are dispatched at most local TV stations.

There is no Library of Congress for research material on “hosting”. In a way, you either get it, or you don’t.

So finding the right mix of words and images, the compelling paragraphs and video was quite a challenge. But doing this  research is the same as taking a class on the subject. I talked to professionals to understand how it really works. We did video conferences. I looked at poor (and awesome) examples of  hosting  netcasts, TV shows, and video series.

Writing  the chapter on working with food, children and animals was the most difficult. These three subjects are the ones with the biggest potential for disaster on a shoot.   How do you recover when the dog goes nuts, the kid drops an F-bomb and the souffle drops? I will never watch a cooking show the same way again. It’s mostly illusion and sleight of hand, by the way; do you think it really takes only 30 minutes for Rachel Ray to concoct that casserole?

I’m walking away much more well-versed on the craft.

Doing a job that gives you insight and leads to discovery need not be at a university.

I appreciate so much that my employers give me opportunities to learn while I work.

In my former life, it was all push-down, spreadsheets and generic best practice templates.

It feels good to be free.

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