Student Spotlight: Russell Reed

Theater kid-turned film enthusiast, Russell Reed has spent the last three years exploring his love for filmmaking and finding like-minded individuals in the process. This electronic media major is not only a self-taught filmmaker, but he also exemplifies authentic passion in a sometimes discouraging field. Only a sophomore, Reed demonstrates a great amount of dedication to his craft and doesn’t mind sharing his knowledge with others.

Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

Reed grew up in Houston and was in theater while attending high school. As the end of senior year approached, he knew he didn’t want to major in theater during college but at the time, Reed was producing comedy and suspense skits on YouTube. Although Reed realized the skits weren’t exactly Oscar winners, he explains that it was during this time when he realized he loved film and using his creativity.

“There wasn’t anything specific that led me to my love for film, it was sort of gradual. One day I caught myself watching a film, and I started to critique their acting and wanted to see how I could do it better.” says Reed.

Although still undecided about his college major, Reed knew he wanted to be at Texas State University and near Austin’s film community. Starting off as business major, Reed realized electronic media was the best route to encourage his passion.

While still maintaining his comedy channel, Reed decided to make a second channel on YouTube that was specifically dedicated to filmmaking. The creation of ViLITE films gave Russell an outlet to produce portfolio-worthy short films, how-to tutorials, and even camera reviews.


Russell Reed hopes to make it as a director or director of photography one day. Whether it is for films or television, Reed explains he would love to stick to the horror genre but will be satisfied as long as his work has an impact. Reed’s overall goal is simple, to be a great storyteller.

“I love telling good stories, that’s really what it is all about. Capturing the cinematically pleasing images to complete a story.” says Reed.

With no certifications or film coursework, Russell is self-taught using online resources. He explains how this drives his creativity even more and brings boundless possibilities. Every aspect of his life is motivation to continue to create and it is not limited to coursework.

Life as a filmmaker has completely altered Reed’s perception of the world around him. He explains, “I can no longer walk around and have the perception like a normal human being. Just walking around in the world, everything I see, everything I look at and everything I touch is an emotion that can be geared toward storytelling.”

One of the latest projects Reed has worked on was a collaborative effort with the late Travis Green. Although Green had passed before production started filming, Reed and collaborators made sure that film was completed. Reed explains how this project was important to them since it was one of the last projects Green put his hands on and they are trying their hardest to have it showcased through Texas State.

As for advice Reed has for others thinking about pursuing film, he says the the most important attributes are staying confident in your work, continuing to create and surrounding yourself with like-minded people. This recipe for success seems to be working for this dedicated young filmmaker.

Reed’s last piece of advice is that, “Although all odds are against artists, your safe route should never be your priority.”

Advertisements

TXST places 1st in AAF District 10 Competition

By Lisa Callahan & Matt Shoewalter

The halls of the Overton Hotel and Conference Center in Lubbock roared with the cheers and cries of Team 104 as Texas State University won First Place at the district level of the National Student Advertising Competition.

“Right when I heard them say ‘First Place: Texas State University,’ I knew that everything we worked so hard for was 1000% worth it,” Art Director Taylor Kaufman said. “It was a surreal moment, and I’ll never forget it.”

Lauren Friesenhahn (facing) embraces Kelsey Vaeth after the announcement

Lauren Friesenhahn (facing) embraces Kelsey Vaeth after the announcement
Photo courtesy Rachel Sipe

 

Each year, The National Student Advertising Competition, sponsored by the American Advertising Federation (AAF), challenges over 200 college chapters across the country to develop an integrated marketing campaign for a corporate client. This year, each competing team was tasked with developing a campaign for Snapple. Sixteen teams from Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Louisiana competed for District 10 in Lubbock from April 14-16.

Lecturer and Advertising Sequence Coordinator Jenny Buschhorn and Assistant Marketing Professor Dr. Rick Wilson held interviews in October and selected 17 students to join the team. The group of copywriters, producers, art directors, account executives, media planners and account planners began working on the campaign during their winter break, continued through their spring break and submitted their final plans book to AAF on March 25.

“The simple yet great feeling of having something you worked really hard on payoff is something that I wish everyone could experience,” said Producer Hector Sifuentes, who also received the District 10 Best Presenter Award. “It really taught us a lesson not only on the importance of working hard, but also on the philosophy of life. This is real education.”

Account Planner Rachel Sipe captured the winning moment on camera. The graduating senior said she was at a loss for words when First Place was announced.

Hector Sifuentes holding his Special Judges Award for Best Presenter

Hector Sifuentes holding his Special Judges Award for Best Presenter
Photo courtesy Rachel Sipe

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Sipe said.

While taking home the prize was a major accomplishment, the team agreed that the relationships they formed with each other are even more rewarding.

“My favorite part of NSAC, even more so than winning, is how this ragtag group of students from different majors and walks of life became a family,” Art Director Angela Rhys said.

Media planner and presenter Roy Zorola agrees.

“There is such joy in the process,” Zorola said. “When the moment arrived, we realized that win or lose, the journey itself meant everything, because we did it together.”

Copywriter Lauren Friesenhahn credits the team’s supervisors for much of their success.

“Of course, we couldn’t have done it without Mom (Buschhorn) and Dad (Wilson),” Friesenhahn said. “If they didn’t push us as hard as they did, we wouldn’t be where we are right now.”

The Texas State University NSAC team last won a district competition in 2010 with their campaign for State Farm. The team went on to win second place at the national level.

Now, the District 10 champs begin preparation for semi-finals in May. This will determine whether the team advances to the national competition in Anaheim, California in June, when a total of eight teams go for the gold.

“While this District 10 win marks a major achievement for both us and Texas State, we still have more to go,” Account Executive and presenter Alexandria Reid said. “The work isn’t over, but we’ve never been afraid to work hard.”

The team celebrates their win on the conference room dance floor.

The team celebrates their win on the conference room dance floor. Photo courtesy Lauren Friesenhahn

From TXST to TV, catching up with Isamar Terrazas

Just two years after graduating from the SJMC at Texas State University, Isamar Terrazas has already paved a solid foundation for her career in broadcast journalism.

Terrazas is now working for KTLM Telemundo 40, as both the Assignments New Editor and as a Field Producer.

Isamar Terrazas holding an award

Isamar Terrazas

“I am so proud of how much this station has grown,” said Terrazas. “In the two years I have been here, we went from being the #4 station to being the #1 station.”

During her time at KTLM Telemundo 40, the station was nominated for 8 Lone Star Emmys.

“I was nominated as a producer for our hurricane special, Tras La Tormenta,” said Terrazas. “We won Overall Station Excellence, being the first station in the Rio Grande Valley to do this.”

KTLM Telemundo 40’s focus is very similar to English language markets, focusing on breaking news, weather and digital media. In particular, Terrazas worked on an investigate special, Clash at the Border, which focused on the abuses of Border Patrol agents.

Terrazas credits at least some of her success to her education from Texas State University, praising the both the faculty and the electronic media sequence.

“I feel like I learned so much from Ray Niekamp and Tim England,” said Terrazas. “Their program targets what it is like to work in a newsroom in real life.”

KTSW Sports interviews Bill Schoening and Bill Land

 

Six Texas State students from senior lecturer Larry Carlson’s Sports as News course and the KTSW Sports Dept. staff took a field trip to the home of the five-time NBA champion San Antonio Spurs, the AT&T Center, on Wednesday, March 30, just prior to San Antonio’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans.

Mike Kickirillo, Director of Broadcasting for the Spurs and a 1988 graduate, hosted the group with a tour of the newly refurbished arena’s camera set-up and the broadcast crew’s truck. Kickirillo showed the students how the pre-game show would be set up and explained the use of cameras, replays, statistic boxes and the integration of highlights, incoming scores from across the NBA, etc.

Inside the truck, the Texas State students met numerous Bobcat alums and even current students who are part of the Spurs’ broadcast team. In addition to Kickirillo, the other Texas Staters on the Spurs payroll include Daniel Ashcraft, Carter Snowden, Robert Fisher, Aerin Carreno, Taylor Hair, Avery Schneider and Tessa Andrade. Chuy Perez, one of the students on the trip, and a class member and KTSW staffer, said the overwhelming presence of Bobcats on the Spurs staff was inspiring.

“I’ve been a Spurs fan for so long, and the whole trip was incredible…just walking out on the court and getting to sit on the Spurs bench was amazing,” Perez said. “But getting to see and meet all of those Bobcats working for the Spurs was maybe the highlight.”

The students also got a thrill from a 30-minute visit and Q&A session with Bill Land and Bill Schoening, the TV and radio “voices of the Spurs,” respectively. The veteran broadcasters swapped stories, answered questions and advised the students.

Land praised Texas State’s approach of providing SJMC students with “real world” experience and Schoening mentioned the positive impact a Texas State education had on his son, Karl, a recent graduate and former KTSW sports director. Several of the students stayed for the game and saw San Antonio keep its perfect home record intact for the season, with a 100-92 victory over the Pelicans.

“It’s just a lot of fun to be able to do this for our students each year,” Carlson said. “Kick (Kickirillo) was one of my first students up in Old Main and we’ve been the best of friends for about three decades. He has built a championship broadcast team around a lot of our graduates because he was sold on them as interns while they were still students.”

NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop

cover_ASW_0The NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop is a week-long event, April 3-8, held at Texas State University that brings together top professionals in the television and newspaper industry from throughout the world.

Dr. David Nolan said that he is excited for the event because it will be a full house.

“We have more than 50 professional television and newspaper photographers and reporters coming from all over the world, 10 high school students and their teachers from the Vidal M. Trevino School of Fine Arts and Communication in Laredo, Texas, my Visual Storytelling class students, and of course our award winning workshop faculty,” Nolan said.

Students will have the chance to work side by side with some of America’s best journalists, which is a unique opportunity that few institutions can offer their students.

Students who attend the workshop will develop story ideas, research, report, shoot, edit and produce two stories throughout the week.

“Every year our students come away from the workshop changed, with a better understanding of how great stories are told,” Nolan said. “Many students from previous years cite the NPPA Advanced Storytelling Workshop as the highpoint of their college experience.”

If you are interested in the workshop, visit the NPPA’s website.

Society of Professional Journalists to honor University Star staff

University Star Logo

Photo Credit: star.txstate.edu

The Society of Professional Journalists will recognize five student-journalists from the University Star at the historic Hilton Hotel in Fort Worth on March 18 and 19 for its Region 8 Mark of Excellence convention.

Region 8 is Texas and Oklahoma. If any students take first place, they automatically move on to the national competition, where they are judged against all the regions. Students receiving awards are Quixem Ramirez, Madison Teague, Brandon Sams, Monique Guerrero and Jon Wilcox.

“If you would see the way these students work, it’s just amazing to me the bond that’s here,” said Bob Bajackson, SJMC Senior Lecturer and Director of Student Publications. “I think the awards that they are able to accomplish, it’s just incredible.”

The SPJ committee will also recognize the University Star for its student-redesigned website.

“The website content has just exploded,” said Bajackson. “Last month we had over 30,000 page views.”

The University Star was formed in 1911 and is the oldest publication on campus.

Becky Larson | photo credit: sxtxstate.com/about/

Becky Larson | photo credit: sxtxstate.com/about/

The SPJ will also honor graduate student Becky Larson, who has a project as a finalist. Larson’s project tells the important story of the clash of Austin gentrification and the live music scene through loud music noise complaints.

“She did a fantastic job assimilating a range of new skills, identifying a data set and creating interactive elements that were relevant to our theme of telling stories about music with data,” said Dr. Cindy Royal, SJMC Associate Professor and Digital Media Sequence Coordinator.

Larson’s project was supported by a grant from the Knight Foundation and Online News Association.

“I am so pleased that the SPJ judges recognized this type of storytelling,” said Dr. Royal.

KTSW to say goodbye to long time station manager

Tara Pohlmeyer Headshot

Tara Pohlmeyer | photo credit: fb.me/tara.pohlmeyer

KTSW-FM 89.9, the official radio station of Texas State University, will soon say goodbye to its long time Station Manager, Tara Pohlmeyer.

As Station Manager, Pohlmeyer oversees the day to day operations of the entire student-run radio station, with 15 different departments reporting directly to her.

“It’s definitely bittersweet,” Pohlmeyer said. “I’ve been part of KTSW for three and a half years.”

Pohlmeyer, a SJMC student, will graduate in May with her degree in Electronic Media and Mass Communication.

“I’m writing a thesis for my minor in honors studies,” Pohlmeyer said. “It’s on the importance of radio during emergency situations — a look at the 2015 Central Texas floods.”

During the the 2015 Central Texas floods, KTSW provided significant radio and online coverage of the disaster.

Dan Schumacher headshot

Dan Schumacher, Senior Lecturer & KTSW General Manager | photo credit: ktsw.net

She attributes much of her success to the guidance and direction instilled by Dan Schumacher, SJMC Senior Lecturer and KTSW General Manager.

“Dan is my thesis supervisor,” Tara told me. “Dan has helped me a lot. He’s helped me grow as a person. I wouldn’t be the manager, or the person I am, without him.”

If there’s one thing Pohlmeyer emphasized, it’s that she loved her time at Texas State University and KTSW.

“When I think of my time at Texas State, I will think of KTSW,” Pohlmeyer said. “It really is like leaving home again.”

SJMC Students Go Mobile at Garner State Park

IMG_0278 - Sasha Kodet

SJMC students prepare for one final hike at Garner State Park. Photo by Sasha Kodet

By Dale Blasingame

A group of 16 School of Journalism and Mass Communication students spent the weekend of Feb. 27-28 outdoors – in the name of mobile storytelling.

The students were part of the first-ever Mobile Storytelling in the Park course, taught by Dale Blasingame in coordination with Texas Parks and Wildlife. The class, which was part of the SJMC short course series, featured two weeks of online learning about how to shoot professional-quality photos and videos on your phone – everything from shot composition, camera apps, editing apps and storytelling techniques. The students then traveled to Garner State Park to put those ideas to the test. They were responsible for four video projects while in the park, all with the goal of getting more college-aged students to visit state parks across Texas.

“It got me out of my comfort zone,” said Abby Watson, an advertising senior. “I feel like in class, you just sit there and might get a little bored. But with this, you’re constantly going.”

Faculty members Kym Fox and Jon Zmikly, along with Ky Harkey, Tyler Priest, Sasha Kodet and Whitney Bishop from Texas Parks and Wildlife, assisted with the course.

Zmikly helped lead a drone demonstration with DJI Phantom Quadcopters 2 and 3 and contributed to the official Texas State University’s Snapchat (txstateu) during the weekend workshop.

“I loved getting outside and helping students with their projects. Their stories were really creative, and I could tell they had a lot of fun. These are the kinds of experiences students don’t get in the classroom,” said Zmikly.

Students used GoPros, HD mini-cameras, smartphones, mini-tripods and lapel mics to cover and capture the weekend experience, and they also gained experience with drones and 360 cameras. Footage was then edited and uploaded to various social media sites, and mobile hotspots were used when service wasn’t available. One creative project is their 360 video of the sunset over Mount Baldy where you can see the Frio river to the east (as the below video plays, click and drag your mouse for different views).

On Saturday evening, Texas Parks and Wildlife photographers led a session on night photography where students learned about aperture settings, shutter speeds and different ISO options.

The students are currently working in teams on different mini-documentary projects that will be used by Texas Parks and Wildlife. They’ve already submitted individual video projects on Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook.

To see their work, search the #txstgarner hashtag across the different social networks.

SJMC student wins regional award for thesis

Sergio Carvajal-Leoni in a suit

Sergio Carvajal-Leoni. Photo from http://www.italchannel.tv

As a SJMC graduate student, Venezuelan-born Sergio Carvajal-Leoni, won a campus-wide award for his thesis, the Graduate College’s Outstanding Master’s Thesis Award in Digital Scholarship.

Now he has won again, at the highest level, the regional level, where he is receiving the Digital Scholarship award from the Conference of Southern Graduate Schools. His award, a plaque and $1000 honorarium, will be presented at the CSGS Awards Luncheon at the Omni Charlotte Hotel in Charlotte, NC on Friday, Feb. 19, 2016 at 11:30 a.m., and he attributes some of his success to his time at Texas State.

“The stuff I did in San Marcos, was the best decision of my life,” he told me. “I’ve decided to finish up with a PhD.”

Carvajal-Leoni called his research project the Intercultural Transmedia Approach to Learning, or ITAL.

“I’ve been working on models of community building media,” he said. “Any group of people who share an interest.”

By founding ITAL, he was able to focus on applying Communication Infrastructure Theory while creating a hyper-local documentary series called the Texan Italian Stories.

The key research concept behind the series, was how creating media could bring together the Italian niche community in Central Texas.

He attributed his success to both the freedom and guidance his thesis supervisor, Dr. Sandy Rao, provided him.

Carvajal-Leoni also thanked two Texas State University researchers on his thesis committee, Dr. Federico Subervi and Dr. Moira DiMauro.

ITAL partner, Romina Olson

Romina Olson. Photo from http://www.italchannel.tv

“Texas State played a crucial role in that journey,” Carvajal-Leoni told me. “This award is like, a validation, that this was the right journey to take.”

Despite being the lead researcher, writer, editor and director, Carvajal-Leoni was very modest about his achievement. He praised his ITAL partner, Romina Olson, as well as two USC researchers Dr. Sandra Ball-Rokeach and Dr. Henry Jenkins that played an instrumental role in the project.

If there’s one thing Carvajal-Leoni made clear, he loves Texas.

“I’ve been living in Austin since ’99,” he said. “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”

BPR Professional Development Tour in NYC

FullSizeRender-2

Bobcat Promotions visiting Edelman.

By Jennifer Alvord

NEW YORK — A trip to New York City means more than finding 99-cent pizza, $30 drinks, tickets to a Broadway show, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge and tipping a Disney character in Times Square for a selfie.

Those were mere sideshows to the main event of the Second Annual Bobcat Promotions Professional Development trip to the Big Apple.

A dozen members of the student-run public relations firm visited top public relations firms, including Edelman, Fleishman-Hillard and Ogilvy PR, along with the United Nations and the 9/11 Memorial Museum.

Tyler Mahan, a PR senior, said that it was “the best trip ever,” and he is now considering a move to New York City to pursue his career.

“I was inspired more than ever to join the public relations industry,” Mahan said. “Every agency was better than the last, in my opinion, and I’m now driven to gain more experience through internships and Bobcat Promotions than ever.”

IMG_4840

A breathtaking view from the top of the Rockefeller Center. Photo by: Jennifer Alvord

At Edelman, the BPR team met with Texas State alum Christopher Henry, a former executive director with the student firm. Henry works with the public affairs team and is working with client Microsoft. He was part of a panel of young Edelman staff members who work in different departments and discussed their career path to the world’s largest PR firm.

Henry also was part of a group of alumni who shared their personal experiences in seeking employment in New York and handling day-to-day living in the city. Among the alumni guests were sisters Kendall and Kelby Schmidt and Natalie Schorn.

The BPR team was joined during a visit to Fleishman-Hillard by graduate students from Syracuse University. The most impressive presentation involved the firm’s handling of content marketing through social media. A Fleishman digital team has a newsroom-like space called The Daily Planet and connect the relevance of news events to their clients, then write posts accordingly.

Ashley DeBolt, executive director of Bobcat Promotions, participated in her second professional development tour. She once again recognized the real value in working in the media capital of the world.

“If you get a job in the city, working one year is virtually like working 10 years anywhere else,” DeBolt said.

IMG_4828

The Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by: Jennifer Alvord

After meetings with firms, members of Bobcat Promotions also had many opportunities to explore the city.

The group visited various New York City landmarks, including Central Park, Times Square, The Empire State Building, Rockefeller Center, The Brooklyn Bridge and The Statue of Liberty.

Members quickly learned that the subway waits for no one. While getting on (or trying to get on) the train, two people got left behind at the platform because the doors closed on them.

PR senior Larisa Gawlik said, “I just remember thinking, ‘This can’t be happening’ as I turned around and realized the doors shut on them.”

Gawlik said that everyone was so worried that they weren’t going to be able to find the rest of the group because cell phone service is unpredictable underground. “Once we got ahold of them and got them back to the same train platform it was hysterical,” Gawlik said.

Members also walked from Manhattan across the Brooklyn Bridge into Brooklyn, which was an experience DeBolt said was her favorite.

While at the United Nations, members attended a fast-paced noon briefing directed by Stephane Dujarric, director of communications for Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. Dujarric visited with BPR as he had done during the inaugural trip. The group visited exhibit and rooms that have held Security Council meetings and General Assembly gatherings.

A trip highlight at the UN was visiting with actor Josh Lucas, who was filming for a new television show outside the UN. The actor who played Reese Witherspoon’s love interest in “Sweet Home Alabama” and also starred in “American Psycho” graciously posed for countless selfies.

“Meeting Josh Lucas was a great experience,” Mahan said. “He was really nice to us all and took so many pictures with us. I definitely recommend going to New York. It’s a great experience and there’s always something to do and somewhere to go.”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.