This summer hundreds of CAS students spread out around the world to gain hands-on experience through internships in advertising, public relations, journalism, social media, video game design, health and risk communication and many other communication-related opportunities. However, several students stay right here in East Lansing gaining experience in the college helping to promote and produce programs that will air in major media markets in the U.S., as well as several in Canada. They are part of the BackStage Pass crew.
BackStage Pass starts recording its fifth season of live band performances tonight at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center. It is one of several WKAR TV's locally produced programs that engages student interns in every aspect of the production. If you ventured into the WKAR television studios lately, you saw Executive Producer Tim Zeko and Production Supervisor Ken Merley mentoring students in loading and striking production equipment, building and rigging trusses and concert lighting, staging and running high-definition cameras, and assembling and operating the jib, dolly and steadicam.
Student interns assist the program producer in planning, help the concert director call the live production camera moves, and work with the stage manager throughout the life of the production. They shoot behind-the-scenes video of the bands and the crew, and conduct interviews with the band members. They mic and record 24-track audio and remix the audio for broadcast. And they learn what it means to take a production from the earliest planning stages to the final edit, resulting in the creation of an award-winning show aired across the country.
In addition to the production crew, student interns from our journalism, advertising and public relations programs team up to publicize BackStage Pass through social media by engaging the bands’ fans. They reach out to over 60 area retailers, restaurants and coffee shops, and strategize and prepare ad copy for area media outlets. Their goal is to fill the audience with 300 excited, enthusiastic fans for six bands over three nights.
While it sounds like a great summer job, the pressure is very real and they fully understand what’s at stake. They just watched one of WKAR’s most recent student interns, Chloe Hill, a May graduate, win three Emmys from the Michigan Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences on Saturday evening in Detroit. CAS students won five of the 13 EMMY student categories. The students know that experiences like this can catapult their careers to fast forward.
Last Friday after working a full day with the BackStage Pass crew, many students included, Ken Merley posted on Facebook, “Days like today make my job complete. An awesome crew kicked some real tail getting BackStage Pass lighting and rigging in and functional. And…We had fun doing it.”
Learning opportunities like this are what make CAS known for graduating many of the most talented, creative professionals and rock stars in today’s marketplace. To see these rock stars in the making, join us tonight through Thursday at the Hannah Center for great music and to be a part of the televised, live audience.
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