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Media, Journalism & Film Department Blog

Brett studies away in Scotland

This summer Broadcast Journalism student Brett Kaprelian studied away in Scotland. He blogged about his trip so he could share his experiences with us. Here’s the first installment.

Scotland – Week One

The first week in Scotland was such a fun experience! I love every second here so far.

The countryside is gorgeous. It’s very hilly with grass as green as I have ever seen, not to mention there are beautiful castles everywhere.

On campus at Stirling University, there is a castle.

The first couple of days I was up here, I went over to Edinburgh, the second biggest city in Scotland. I saw parliament, the queen’s vacation house, and the Edinburgh castle.

Brett Kaprelian (right) with the rest of his International Study Away group in front of St. Giles' Cathedral with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (center).
Brett Kaprelian (right) with the rest of his International Study Away group in front of St. Giles’ Cathedral with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (center).

There is so much history there, it’s crazy. I also ran into the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon (like the president of Scotland). She is super nice and very excited that we are staying in Scotland for a month.

I can’t wait to explore more of the Scottish culture and make more friends.

So far so good!

— Brett Kaprelian
Senior, Broadcast Journalism
Media, Journalism and Film
Theta Chi Fraternity

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Show-Me Chefs Ready to Launch

There’s a line in “Ratatouille,” Pixar Animation Studios’ 2007 film about a rat that happens to be a brilliant chef, which goes something like this:

Anyone can cook, but only the fearless can be great.

So it goes in the world of cooking, and also in the world of delectable television shows. It’s even true for “Show Me Chefs,” a cooking competition series developed by Missouri State University media, journalism and film (MJF) faculty and students that’s set to debut on KOZL in Springfield Oct. 3 at 1 p.m. Episodes will available after their initial air dates on the Show-Me Chefs website.

The fearless venture dares all involved to achieve greatness, from the local chefs who will appear and compete, to the students who worked tirelessly behind the scenes. But many cooking shows are already on TV, so what makes this one different?

A sense of community, according to producer and Graduate College student Daan Jansen.

“It hasn’t been done here,” Jansen said. “You’re going to be watching and say, ‘We’ve been to that restaurant. We know that chef.’

“People like to watch people they know.”

The beginning of a delicious journey

The idea for “Show Me Chefs” came about thanks in part to a previous web series, a twist of fate, and an alumnus of the MJF department.

On Set Chefs cam LouisThe story begins with “A Little Help,” a MJF web series from 2014. Executive producer Deb Larson had already developed an alliance with Shawn Gott, who majored in electronic media at Missouri State in the 1990’s.

As part of “A Little Help,” the department shot a casino scene at 319 DownTown event center on West Walnut Street in Springfield. Gott owns the location, which was formerly a restaurant called Rasta Grill. The venue still had a cooking station on-site.

During the filming of “A Little Help,” Gott asked Larson if the department would be interested in producing a cooking show.

“The more I got to thinking about it, I thought, ‘It’s totally doable,’” Larson said. “(Gott) is open to it, he has the stuff, he’s willing to spend some money, and he wants us to come back.

“I think Shawn wanted to do it because he’s always been a media guy too. He wanted to get involved, and he also had the capabilities.”

The community gets on-board

One of the first steps required to produce one of these shows is obtaining food to cook, a tricky proposition on a limited budget. The team had some worries about how they could get sponsors to chip in and help, but quickly discovered their concerns were largely unfounded after a trip to the Farmer’s Market in Springfield.

“I don’t think it was a problem at all,” said graduate student producer Alexandria Perez-Diaz, a native of Spain. “In my country, nobody’s going to give you anything BTS Ep 1 judges and hostfor free.

“It was hard to explain the project (to food vendors), but we went to the Farmer’s Market and they were willing to let us try things there. They said, ‘Yes, I can give you produce for your episode.’”

The process of obtaining necessary ingredients only took about 30 minutes, Jansen said.

“We basically had everything we needed,” he said. “I think it’s such a unique project, and everyone loves food. Everyone watches cooking shows. It ended up not being that hard to get community people on-board.”

The stars of the show

The list of competing local chefs is a who’s who of culinary masters. The group includes John Allen from The Aviary, Tony Garcia from Avanzare, Wes Johnson from Metropolitan Farmer and Nick Metz from Victory Trade School, among others.

But you’ll see the chefs on TV thanks to the hard work put in by the students behind the scenes. And there were many – about 40 of them from an Advanced TV Production class who earned course credit for their time.

The educational benefits for the students are many, Larson said, all involving some form of teamwork.

“Collaboration, responsibility, and work ethic,” she said. “It gives them a knowledge base of what all the production units actually do and how valuable every single person is to the process.”

On top of that, a funny thing happened along the way for the students, who noted they bid adieu to worrying about their grades.

“I don’t care if I get an ‘A’ or a ‘B’ or a ‘C’ very much,” Jansen said. I care more that the project is going to be successful. I want to make sure … that I can put it on my resume that I produced a seven-episode show that was successful and got to air on TV.

“That’s more important.”

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Manhattan Short Film Festival returns Oct. 3

ManhattanShortFilmFestival-2015-BlogFeatureJoin 100,000 viewers across the world Oct. 3 to vote in the 18th Annual Manhattan Short Film Festival.

Each year, Missouri State’s College of Arts and Letters and the Department of Media, Journalism and Film bring the festival to campus, offering the community a chance to participate in the only global audience-choice film festival in the world. Festival-goers will vote on 10 finalists, chosen from more than 550 short films from filmmakers worldwide.

The Plaster Student Union Theater is the only venue in Missouri to see these international films. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

How does it work?

Viewers will be given a ballot upon arrival that they will fill out at the end of the 10 films, participating in the instantaneous celebration occurring in over 300 cities around the globe during the span of a week. Votes are tallied by each cinema and sent to the festival headquarters. The winner will be announced Oct. 5.

Cost is $10 at the door. Proceeds will help support student film production in the media, journalism and film department through the MSU Digital Film Production Scholarship.

Event details

Date: Oct. 3
Time: 7 to 10 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater
Admission: $10 at the door

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‘Show-Me Chefs’ hosts fundraiser day before season one premiere

The media, journalism and film department is partnering with Care to Learn for a Sept. 25 fundraiser, Cooking With Care Gala, to raise money for a second season of web series “Show-Me Chefs.”

The event will be held at 319 Event Center in downtown Springfield. It will include a multi-course meal prepared by the first season’s chefs. There will also be live entertainment, silent auctions and a chef-showdown competition. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Season one airs day after fundraiser

The first season featured eight local chefs who faced off in a seven-episode series to air Sept. 26 on KOZL-TV.

Show-Me Chef's Cooking with Care GalaGet event tickets online

Tickets can purchased through Eventbrite or the Show-Me Chefs Facebook page. Proceeds will benefit Care to Learn and film production for the next season of “Show-Me Chefs.”

Event details

Date: Sept. 25
Time: 6 – 10 p.m.
Location: 319 Event Center
Tickets: $100 for general public, $40 for students
Connect online: #showmechefs


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Student short film to screen at Minneapolis film festival

LUNCH-FilmPosterOne of the film projects from last semester’s MED 562 digital filmmaking course has been chosen to screen at the Minneapolis Underground Film Festival in October.

Comedy based on one-act play, produced by students

“Lunch” was produced and written by Max Pratt, a recent Missouri State graduate, during the spring 2015 semester. It is a short comedy based on a one-act play written by Pratt. The production included fellow students Audrey Davis, director, Andrea Welker, director of photography, and Dave Stankoven, sound designer and editor.


Lunch is a light-hearted, slice of comedy following the young duo, Jeff and Bailey. Lost in translation, the couple finds themselves succumbed to life’s routines, falling into the mundane. With the newlywed spark vanished, Jeff and Bailey find refuge in their neighbors, Marge and Norm. Amidst the unexpected help of the neighboring pair – secrets are surfaced, needs are met, and an early lunch is served.

Harrison Witt

Class requires students to advance short films

MED 562 is a 3-credit-hour film-style production class in high-definition digital filmmaking. Students form small production teams to plan, design and produce short narrative films. Harrison Witt, assistant professor in the media, journalism and film department, teaches the course.


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Moxie to screen professor’s short film on Sept. 23

Andy ClinePublic spaces, such as Park Central Square in Springfield, Missouri, can be designed to attract people. But what kind of people? And will those people interact and get along?

These are the questions behind Dr. Andy Cline’s new documentary short film “Shared Spaces,” which screens at the downtown Springfield movie theater Moxie Cinema on Sept. 23. The free screening will be followed by a panel discussion with some of the people featured in the film.

Film tells story of a new downtown

The 18-minute film explores the limits of shared public spaces and the people who use them, including Joonyper Light, a local artist and musician, who moved to Springfield from a “suburbia town” in California. Her encounter with a couple of college professors illustrate the story of the converging lives and stories in downtown Springfield.

“Shared Spaces” was recently selected to be screened at the New Urban Film Festival in Los Angeles on Oct. 8-11. It is based on Cline’s upcoming feature-length documentary “Downtown” that details the difficulties and opportunities metropolitan areas face as more residents seek out sustainable, human-scale communities.

Cline, an associate professor in media, journalism and film, said the scope of the documentary’s reporting is national, but the stories are based in Springfield, a microcosm of the trend at large.

“Springfield, while it’s not Portland, Oregon, it’s also not the armpit of America. It’s somewhere in the middle. We are struggling with the same things that many urban areas are struggling with, and similar things are happening here in terms of this trend.”

Courses to result from partnership with students

Cline used the talents of many Missouri State students on the film’s production, though not in a credit-giving capacity. He hopes to change that in upcoming years with two courses in planning stages that will produce student-led films.

In the meantime, Cline is on sabbatical this semester to wrap up “Downtown” and work on a research project exploring First Amendment issues in documentary filmmaking.

Donate to the cause

Cline funded “Downtown,” produced by his company Carbon Trace Productions, mostly out of pocket. He has received in-kind donations from individuals and from the Doug and Linda Roller Foundation. Visit the MSU Foundation site to make a donation to the project. Contact Dr. Cline by email for more information about “Downtown” or future classes associated with his projects.

Come to the ‘Shared Spaces’ screening

Date: Sept. 23
Time: 7 p.m.
Location: Moxie Cinema, 305 S. Campbell Ave., Suite 101
Admission: Free and open to the public


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COAL announces Homecoming master class schedule

The College of Arts and Letters will host its annual master class series on Oct. 16 as part of its Homecoming event schedule. Presenters include alumni from music, theatre and dance, and media, journalism and film. The master classes are free and open to the public. The schedule is as follows:

Sarah Tannehill Anderson

BMus, 1996

Sarah Tannehill Anderson is an accomplished singer, pianist and violinist. She lives in Kansas City and performs with the Bach Aria Soloists, Lyric Arts Trio and the Kansas City Chorale. She is a featured soloist on the Chorale’s Grammy-winning album “Life and Breath.”

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 11:15 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Susan Hiland

BS in speech/electronic media, 1981

Susan Hiland is an Emmy award-winning journalist. She co-anchors FOX 4 News at 5 and 9 p.m., and has worked at WDAF-TV since 2000. Before that, she was the morning anchor at WTNH-TV in New Haven, Connecticut, and worked at news stations across the Midwest.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 12:45 to 2:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Jennifer Moore

Graduate student in international relations, emphasis in diplomacy

Jennifer Moore is an award-winning journalist and writer based out of West Plains. She is the coordinator of theatre and events for MSU-West Plains, and she recently gave Missouri State’s 2015 summer commencement speech. Moore is getting her graduate degree from MSU in international relations.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 2:15 to 3:30 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez

BFA in dance/performance, 2008

Sandra Paola Lopez Ramirez is a dancer, teacher, activist and community organizer who has travelled throughout the U.S., Colombia, Brazil, Cyprus, France, Canada and Mexico to share her craft. An intersection between art and personal experience, her work explores issues such as relationship, gender, race, identity, awareness, kinesthetic listening and touch.

When will she present?

Date: Oct. 16
Time: 3:45 to 5:00 p.m.
Location: Plaster Student Union Theater

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Students to help professor reimagine his short film

Media, journalism and film assistant professor Harrison Witt is putting his award-winning short film “Chemical Nurse” on the operating table this spring as students help turn it into a feature film.

Harrison Witt at the camera

Pulp novel collection inspires film

Witt wrote and directed the short film in 1995 as a graduate student at the University of Texas at Austin.

The low-budget, B-movie comic thriller was set in the swamps of Louisiana, inspired by the pulp novels Witt collected. He used dialogue to establish a soap opera tone.

“To have a melodramatic dialogue doesn’t cost you anything and that immediately puts you in a genre,” he said.

The method worked and “Chemical Nurse” won first runner up in the Best Short category at the South-by-Southwest film festival that year.

Putting an Ozarks spin on things

Witt has rewritten the script into a full feature film, set this time in the Missouri Ozarks.

Keeping with the 1950s B-movie style, the film will follow a young nursing student who interns at a remote outreach clinic that experiences an outbreak in bizarre medical conditions as a result of fracking and nuclear waste.

Andrew Twibell
Andrew Twibell

Students provide support crew functions

Students in MJF instructor Andrew Twibell‘s classes will carry out various aspects of the production process, starting with pre-production in the spring 2016 semester. Twibell will be editor and producer.

In that class, students will learn production design techniques from Twibell and Witt’s wife Amy Witt, a professional production designer and set decorator who has worked on sets such as “The Tree of Life,” “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre” (2003) and the movie and TV versions of “Friday Night Lights.”

During Twibell’s summer production course, students will work with Witt, Twibell and other professionals during a five-week production schedule. And post-production will begin in fall 2016.

Learning from professionals key

"Chemical Nurse" (1995)
“Chemical Nurse” (1995)

Witt said students are able to take away practical advice and techniques from watching a professional work.

“So much learning in film production has to happen on set. One thing that’s difficult to demonstrate in the classroom is how to walk into a space and figure out how to shoot the scene, to say ‘I’ve got 30 minutes to get this scene in the can. How am I going to do it?’

Students in these courses will learn a professional work flow that will prepare them for their other projects.

Building a reputation for film production

Witt, who has worked with the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, said he is confident it will be film-festival worthy.

“The more we can get our films out there, people will become more interested in Missouri State and see what we have and what other films have been made here,” he said. “I think we’re going to continue to amplify a culture of professional filmmaking and media production.”

Harrison Witt
Harrison Witt

From English degree to filmmaking to teaching

Witt said he was bit by the filmmaking bug while getting an English degree at the University of Kentucky in the late 1980s. He returned to graduate school nearly a decade later in Texas to turn that passion into a career. He has worked as a gaffer, cinematographer, lamp operator and more.

Witt’s career took another turn when he started teaching courses and workshops in 2005. He decided to make that a full-time gig and found a place at Missouri State in fall 2015. Witt still works in the film industry with recent titles including “Two Step” (gaffer), “Thank You A Lot” (director of photography) and “Death Proof” (company electrician).

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‘Back to Campus’ offers guide to campus, Springfield

Back to Campus 2015The staffers of Missouri State’s The Standard were up bright and early this morning to distribute this year’s Back to Campus issue.

The student-run newspaper, led this year by Editor-in-Chief Eli Wohlenhaus, mailed out 3,500 copies of the award-winning special section to first-year freshmen and entering transfer students before the semester started. They are now taking to the streets to hand deliver the rest over the next couple of days.

What is in this issue?

The 2015 Back to Campus offers academic-related advice such as how to interact with professors, a Bear Line shuttle guide and locations of computer labs, as well as health and safety tips, the best Springfield hangouts and a preview of this year’s sports.

Fun facts about Back to Campus

Did you know ….

  • At 128 pages this is the largest Back to Campus section on record
  • This is the second-largest advertising revenue year for Back to Campus
  • Year after year, The Standard wins awards for its Back to Campus section

Find your copy today

Check out newsstands around campus for your copy of this week’s paper and the Back to Campus section.

Want to work for The Standard?

Each year, students are invited to work at The Standard while developing their skills in reporting, copy editing, advertising sales, design and photography. Contact advisor Jack Dimond by email or at 417-836-8467 to see what positions are still available this year.

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Sports journalism students’ broadcasts to air on ESPN3

Valley on ESPN3This fall, students in a new media, journalism and film class will have the chance to learn from one of the nation’s largest sports media conglomerates.

Students to produce broadcasts, commercials

ESPN will air sports broadcasts produced by sports journalism (JRN 300) students on its online streaming service, ESPN3.

Led by MJF Instructor Leonard Horton, 10 to 15 students will produce national coverage for multiple collegiate sports in collaboration with local company Hite Media Services.

Horton, who started teaching at Missouri State in 2013, said his students will be working with graphics and running cameras during live events, where there is little room for error.

“I had to make sure I picked students that were savvy, that knew a little bit about sports and a little bit about how live production works because you don’t get a chance to do it over,” he said.

In addition to live event broadcasts, Horton said the students will produce commercials to run during airtime: “ESPN is giving us free rein to really be creative … within certain guidelines.”

ESPN, MVC partnership brings educational experience

The opportunity comes as a result of the Missouri Valley Conference’s partnership with ESPN to broadcast sporting events from MVC—the athletic conference in which the Bears and nine other schools compete.

The co-branded program, “The Valley on ESPN3,” is part of as part of a 10-year extension of the MVC’s media rights agreement with ESPN. It will provide valuable educational opportunities for students who attend schools in the MVC system, said MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin.

“A key aspect of this new campus-based production model will be the involvement of students in academic programs — broadcast media and journalism majors — providing hands-on experience that will translate to opportunities for our graduates to gain entry into television media,” Elgin said.

Technical, professional aspects help students build resumes

hortonHorton said his students will build graphics, use quality equipment, learn how to tell stories within each sport and more. Professionals in the field will guide them, including Horton — formerly a broadcast journalist — ESPN’s staff and local company Hite Media Services whose team already produces games and commencement ceremonies at MSU.

Students from MVC schools who participate in the ESPN3 programming will also have their resumes moved to the top of the list should they apply for jobs at ESPN after graduation, Horton said.

“This is a 300-level class, but it’s more than worth the money they’re paying for tuition,” he said. “Getting to work with professionals. Getting to work on a live sporting event that’s seen all over the world. It’s a practical experience that you can’t put a price tag on.”

Volleyball first up on list of broadcasted home games

According to Missouri State’s press release viewers can expect to find all home volleyball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball games this fall on the ESPN3 platform.

In subsequent years of the agreement, Missouri State and others will roll out on-campus production of all home men’s soccer, women’s soccer, baseball and softball games as part of the league package, in addition to special programming, features and Olympic sport coverage.

ESPN3 is available for free on U.S. college campuses and military bases.

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