By Haley Bianco, Arts & Entertainment Editor
The magic of television has touched the hearts of many, especially KU Electronic Media alumni who have made a career working with television production everyday. On Oct. 10, the Department of Electronic Media (EM) and the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (NATAS) hosted A Red Carpet Affair in the Rickenbach Learning Center.
Originally, the event was designed as a recruiting tool for local high school students.
“What better way to let potential students know they can live their dreams by having those who have gone through our program do our bragging for us by being the presenters,” said department chair, Helen Bieber. With a few seats available, the department extended the invitation to KU Electronic Media majors.
The day began with a welcome from Bieber and the Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Chapter of NATAS. Then students were split into groups and attended panel sessions with KU alumni.
Kevin Martorana, a nationally recognized director of corporate and commercial programs, held a session on compression. He highlighted the history of TV recording, from film, tape, DVD and all the way to compression transitions for online streaming. He stressed the importance of knowing both Final Cut and Avid editing programs in order to succeed in the workplace.
“At other universities you won’t be able to touch equipment right away. KU offers high quality professionals and equipment that you can work with right away,” said KU alumni, Martorana. Martorana graduated from KU in 1983 and has since formed his own global production company, Take One Productions, Inc. He has been credited as one of Studio Daily’s “Top 100 Producers,” has won multiple Addy Awards as well as National Telly Awards, and has received four NATAS Emmy nominations and won one NATAS Emmy award.
Another notable KU alumni, Tim Fenstermacher, also held a presentation at A Red Carpet Affair. Fenstermacher currently is the Assistant Director of Creative Services at 6ABC in Philadelphia, PA. In his panel session, he reiterated the need for students to enter the workplace with knowledge of different nonlinear editing programs, such as Final Cut, Avid and Premiere. He also explained that in today’s media world jobs require workers to be the writer, producer and editor— the whole package.
“Your electronic media classes at KU will inspire your creativity,” said Fenstermacher. “It will teach you to make deadlines. For us, at ABC 6, time is money.” He went into detail about creating clear promos and how to properly use graphic effects.
”KU will teach you how to balance editing tools with graphics,” said Fenstermacher.
John Pappalardo was teamed up with Fenstermacher for their presentations. Since 2003, Pappalardo has been the Owner/Operator of KHJ Productions in Downingtown, PA. He graduated KU with a B.S. in Television Production and has since worked for WFMZ-TV, been nominated for a Cable Ace Award, received the James Beard Foundation Media Award for Best Television Food Special and won the 2007 Boston/New England Emmy Award for Best Instructional/Informational Series. Currently, he is the online editor for a half hour series on the LiveWell Network of ABC Channel 6 Philadelphia. Pappalardo showed students a sampling of his award winning productions and shared his love of editing.
“When I came to KU I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life,” said Pappalardo. “Then I got a tour of the [Electronic Media] department where I saw some seniors editing a sports piece. That was it. I knew that I wanted to make this my career.” He went into further detail about rendering issues and time management and answered student questions.
Students also had the privilege of meeting with Tara Faccenda, the Executive Director of the Mid-Atlantic Emmy Chapter.
“There’s a million paths to get you where you want to go. You just have to be determined and pay your dues,” said Faccenda. She continued to explain that the field of television requires professionals to work holidays, grow with technology changes and deal with small paychecks in the beginning of their careers. She also went into detail about high school and collegiate level Emmy Awards.
High school and college students took advantage of the critique session with the professionals. Alumni, Eric Werner (PBS39), Gina Johnson (69 News), Pamela Kemp (CBS 21, Harrisburg), J.R. Aguila (Comcast SportsNet), Jim Spering (CBS 3, Philly) and Will Kenworthy (CBS 3, Philly) gave their valued input on student video projects. They suggested that students use tripods, light kits and tighten shots while being cautious of background. They also recommended mixing up camera shots, showing close up textures and mixing in natural sound.
Lunch was held in the Georgian Room in Old Main and was followed by a question/answer session back in the Rickenbach TV studio. When alumni were asked about regrets, they said they wished they had learned more about lighting, which is now a mandatory EM course. When asked their advice for students, they said to use alumni as a resource, to explore their creativity while at KU and to dress for their goal position.
“You don’t have to master everything, but it’s good to be a jack of all trades,” said Martorana. “Know enough to be able to talk to other professionals on the same level.”