FX: Producing, Filming, Broadcasting

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Abby Scutch, Editor in Chief

Room 116 is a special place at FHC.  In this room, a special class is offered to only a select few who have the film mastery, creativity, and artistic vision to be a member of FHC’s communication program: FX.  A professional newsroom studio is displayed in this room, filled with objects such as a news desk, a polished, sleek background, professional lights, and camera equipment.  However, it’s not Room 116 itself that allows for sparks to fly, it’s the students in the TV Broadcasting class who create the magic.

After working in television for ten years, media communications teacher Jeff Menders decided it was time for a change. Consequently, he want back to school to complete three certifications, as well as earn a  master’s degree in education. Seven years ago, Manders was lucky enough to get a student teaching job at FHC, and was later offered a job teaching social studies, media communications, and film.

Manders was heavily involved in local and television news, freelance, sports, and commercials for the first portion of his career.  He had the opportunity to do an outdoor hunting and fishing production house, and he also did a freelance gig for a pilot television show.

“I had my hands dealing with television and I loved it;  however, local news burned me out after awhile, so I began teaching instead,” Manders said.  “When I was in high school, I took a class similar to Media Communication.  It changed my whole direction, which led to my career.”

Senior Shane Sebuck has been a part of the film and media programs for the past two years. Beginning in middle school, Shane loved creating videos.  He was always very excited when a teacher assigned a film project.  When Shane began high school, he was mesmerized by the idea of joining the media communication class which provides the daily announcements during FHC’s communication breaks.

“FX is different from other classes because it is a great class to express yourself,” Shane said.  “The class is a tight group of friends that all have one goal, which is to create fun, creative, informative videos for our audience. The class lets you show off your individual talents, along with talents of the whole of the group.”

Beginning this school year, the regular hourly schedule has changed for FHC students.  The purpose of this was to create two five-minute communication breaks, allowing for two classes of Television Broadcast as opposed to one ten-minute communication break. The communication breaks are broadcast after both first and fifth hours.  The sole purpose of this was so that more FHC students had the opportunity to be a part of the FX team, as well as providing an opportunity for the students to produce more videos.

In order to be offered an opportunity on FX, one must take the prerequisite class of Media Communication, which teaches students the basic skills and creativity needed to be a member on FX.  However, Manders hand-selects students to be on FX depending on how successful they were in Media Communication.

Manders’ main focus has been to allow FX to be an effective voice for all the students at FHC, regardless of whether students have something to share, something to talk about, or something cool that they are doing. FX has always been an outlet of expression.

Shane states that the FX team is a group of close-knit friends, each contributing to the broadcast program in his or her own individual ways.

“We bring different personalities to the table and try to create great stories that connect to every FHC student,” Shane said.

According to Manders, the students involved with FX are very energetic, outgoing, and have an interest in technology.

“It’s so fun to see how creative they can be with their stories.  The challenges of having an idea and to have it completely fall through, but still be able to figure it out is something that always impresses me,” Manders said. “To see their talents shine by the end of the year or to see a student really get into communications like I did in high school thrills me.”

Each member has their own responsibilities when contributing to the creation of FX.  These responsibilities include producing, being a camera operator or a control room operator, or serving as a student broadcasting on air.

“You can be creative in just about anything you do,” Manders said.  “Meeting deadlines, working together as a team, and getting over each other’s differences is something that I hope they take with them for the rest of their lives because working together in teams with other people is the way of the world, so they must be able to learn how to do that effectively.”

According to Shane, the expectation for FX when hosting a segment is to make sure the messages we are saying are clear and look professional. For the videos, FX wants to connect to all students at FHC, whether it is a form of entertainment or as a means to provide important information.

The videos FX produces are created using Final Cut Pro, which is a video editing that was created by Apple.  The videos are recorded with Rebel Canon or Nikon cameras.

In the future, Shane plans to earn a degree in video production  with hopes of  having a career in film or television broadcasting. He is also interested in holding a career in broadcasting sporting events.

“Mr. Manders has influenced me to expand my filming abilities and capture the moments that everyone can enjoy,” Shane said.  “He helps me become a leader in the class and help others expand their filming abilities.”

Shane stated that he has contributed to FX by creating videos that students enjoy.  Along with being a senior on FX, he is one of the first producers who helped create the show every morning.

During last year’s Film Festival, Shane produced a short film called Forest Hills Drive with other members from the FX team.  The short film was a huge success and had a “packed house” for its premiere.  Shane described this as his most memorable moment during his time on FX, as well as a moment that solidified his success and interest in holding a career in media and film.

Manders stated that seeing the kids find an interest while they are “floating around” and not knowing what they want in a career is amazing.  Seeing the “lights that spark” is incredible because it makes one little part of high school really fun and really exciting for students.

“I always tell the kids that every morning I wake up, I love coming in here,” Manders said. “They find it crazy that I love coming to school, but the days that we don’t have a show, there’s a little part of me that is missing.”

All students at FHC have a voice and FX is only one of them, according to Manders.

“Doing the best possible you can do and not giving up, regardless of how well the student thinks the story will be is huge for me,” he said.  “I want to see them learn how to overcome their challenges and still produce something they are proud of.”