Month: December 2016

Behind the Lense

When it comes to building a schedule for the upcoming semester there are things that every student looks for: new courses and classes that only meet one time a week with no textbooks. If I’m being honest, that was why I enrolled in Digital Production. Little did I know I enrolled in an incredibly enriching applied course that would allow me to unleash my creativity in ways I’ve never been able to before.

Walking into the first class of Digital Production I was concerned because there were only 35 people in a 150 person lecture hall, and I assumed no one even bothered to show up. I later learned that the course was designed to use a big lecture hall so we could use class time to collaborate. As Professor Stifano walked in, it was clear that something was going to be different about this course as the first thing he said was “I’m Professor Stifano, but you can call me Steve. If I could be wearing sweatpants I would be.” The course is presented in a very relaxed manner, allowing every student to feel comfortable sharing ideas and thoughts about projects they are making. The greatest part about a small class size setting is that you get to develop a strong bond with your classmates to create things that are more than just a group project. We created stories, we created movements, we created news, collectively.

With equipment provided by the Communication Department, the only thing that we had to worry about was coming up with ideas, and making them come to life through photo essays and short films.  While many courses that are required for the Communication major stress theoretical approaches, this course allows us to test out those theories. Professor Stifano gave us complete freedom to turn our passions into visions.  By pushing us to ask ourselves what we’re afraid of, what we care about, what we believe in, we could exemplify those things in our images and films.

Initially my classmates and I were nervous about operating equipment, coming up with new ideas, and editing films. It’s one thing to read about how to do these things, but to actually get our hands dirty and develop those skills allowed us as students and artists to build off of each other and create really amazing projects. Every single group developed friendships that continued outside and after the class.

Communication is a lot more than just learning how to speak to one another. This class explores the way that we can communicate through different types of media. Communication becomes an art in this course because of the way the we carefully design each message. We learn about media bias, hypodermic needle model, and decoding messages in every communication course that we take, but this class allowed us to experiment with them in our own projects.

Professor Stifano’s passion for the class and respect for all of our projects and ideas makes COMM 2940 an environment where students can thrive.

 

 

COMM Society Field Trip

Last mocomm-tripnth, the Communication Society took a trip to New York City to attend a live taping of The Harry Show. Award-winning actor and singer Harry Connick Jr., who is best known for his roles in the films Independence Day, Hope Floats, and P.S. I love you is the host of the show.

Connick Jr. began the show with an interview with actress Lily Collins, promoting her new film Rules Don’t Apply where she spoke about her role in the film, as well as what it is like to be the daughter of famous singer Phil Collins.

The next guest was Ta’Rhonda Jones, who plays Porsha in the hit television series Empire. Jones discussed her role on the show and told the audience about her overnight transition from a normal girl working at a nursing home to a celebrity, as her role in Empire was her first professional acting job.

The show ended with an amazing performance by some of the cast of Cirque de Soleil. The audience marveled at the incredible balance and flexibility of the performers.

During the breaks in the show, Harry Connick Jr. sang to, danced with, and invited the audience members to ask him questions.

Following the taping, an employee from NBC spoke to the Communication Society about working in the television industry. She talked about her background in the industry and her incredible internship on The Late Show with David Letterman. The woman explained that her internship experience was extremely helpful in guiding her towards what direction she wanted to go in with her career. She said that although she had almost no free time due to balancing her internship and her classes, she had no regrets because she was so passionate and excited about the work that she was doing. She emphasized that getting real world experience in the television industry through her internship was extremely important in helping her to land a job and become successful after graduation. The woman advised the group about the importance of getting any kind of internship experience during college and insisted that the best interns are those who work hard, want to learn new things, and do not treat any task as too small. She continued by speaking about the other roles that she has had throughout her career, and informed the group about how most young people entering the television industry will not stay in the same position or with the same company for their entire career, and that it is okay to move around and work in different roles. Hearing from someone with a lot of experience in the television industry was both an informational and motivational experience.

Overall, this trip was both a fun and educational one for the members of the Communication Society. Having an inside look and seeing how material from courses at UConn are applied in the television industry was a great learning experience for the group.

 

By Julie Pyrcz, COMM Society PR Chair