New weekly student broadcast comes to campus

To produce a successful television broadcast, there needs to be a production staff, writing team, camera crew, TV hosts, stylists, makeup artists, advertising staff and, of course, hundreds of hours of hard work. This is a task that Cory Holbrook, executive producer of the “SeeYou Weekly” TV show and senior in LAS, is all too familiar with.

The newest student-run project is a talk show-style TV broadcast that features current issues and events around campus every Friday. In April, Holbrook started Ignite Media, a subcommittee of the Journalism, Advertising and Media Studies Students registered student organization, which serves as the multimedia production branch of the broadcast. It offers students independent creation resources to create short films, podcasts and documentaries.

The idea for “SeeYou Weekly” sparked in May 2013. Without any faculty advisers or professional funding or help, Holbrook worked around the clock during the summer, writing proposals, designing basic graphics and promoting the show so that other Ignite Media members could understand the process of initiating an independent media project.

“Part of the reason why I wanted to produce a show like ‘SeeYou Weekly’ was to promote Ignite Media,” Holbrook said. “I wanted to show members that it was really possible to start a project from the ground up.”

The show aims to not only entertain the student body, but also give the students involved a learning experience.

“We don’t want ‘SeeYou Weekly’ to be just news,” said Andrea Medina, senior in LAS and Media and co-host of “SeeYou Weekly.” “We actually want it to be an entertainment outlet that feature RSOs, events and people around campus. The main purpose is really to entertain, but it’s also so that other students in media, like me, can have experiences working on a set and producing before entering the professional world.”

“SeeYou Weekly” held auditions for the host positions in late July. Students were sent a mass email detailing the position, and interested applicants posted a two-minute video showing off their broadcasting talents. Medina and co-host Mariah Ashley Sutton, junior in Media, were chosen based on their videos’ number of views as well as Holbrook’s opinion.

“The video was supposed to discuss any topic of our choosing and be three minutes, at most,” Sutton said. “I have no prior experience hosting or being on camera, so this opportunity was very exciting for me.”

The show was first broadcast Sept. 13. It was posted on the broadcast’s YouTube channel and filmed at a dance studio and the Richmond Studio in Urbana. The 15-minute segment featured ConglomeratE representative Shontierra Porter, a hip-hop dance team and a roundtable discussion, hosted by Sutton.

The roundtable gave students a chance to engage in a free-flowing discussion about serious issues in the world. Topics developed by the writing team ranged from Russian criminalization of homosexuals to recent pop culture scandals.

The format of each show will be consistent, typically including an introduction, a roundtable session, a special guest and announcements. However, the length of these segments will vary based on the material the writers and staff have for the week and if new segments, such as a contest portion or short comedic sketches, are added.

“We’re still working out some logistics, but I think it would be really great, especially for us hosts, to go live at some point,” Medina said.

Although basic teleprompting will be used in all shows, going live will give the hosts more of a chance to ad-lib and practice important improvisational skills taught in their classes.

Still, producing a live show will take some time. The staff of “SeeYou Weekly” follows a schedule of writing, rehearsing, filming and editing to produce a broadcast every week. Having that much control is necessary for a new show and will help the adjustment process for the still-growing 17-person staff.

“Collaborating with everyone has been the best part of this experience,” Sutton said. “This show is Cory’s baby, so we’re glad to know he trusts us with it.”

While Holbrook will graduate this year, he hopes that both Ignite Media and “SeeYou Weekly” will continue to thrive.

“Years from now, I want them to be well-oiled machines,” he said. “I want students to really have the opportunity to create whatever they desire, and I know these two groups can offer them that.”

Although he isn’t ready yet, he also hopes to pass down the reigns once he leaves.

“I don’t want to sound like a Sith Lord, but I am looking for an apprentice before I graduate,” Holbrook said.

To view the “SeeYou Weekly” broadcasts, visit their YouTube channel at youtube.com/ignitemediauiuc.

Jolie can be reached at [email protected]