When my friend mentioned CUNY/CBS Bootcamp to me I was curious. She explained that this program would allow you to do a segment for a CUNY version of "60 Minutes." I immediately submitted my resume. This was the first time a Queens College group was participating, and I felt it would be a great opportunity to represent my school as well as myself.
We started off with four members and then were down to three. With only two weeks to build a story, this was not the direction I had hoped to go in; we slowly became a two-person group with no editing facilities or advisors. But during the two weeks I learned how to work under pressure, and with the support of Warren Lustig and my teammate, we were able to complete our story. It was a pleasure to be around other students who have similar interests as mine, and great talents. It was very beneficial for me since I am going into the production/broadcast field. I appreciate Warren Lustig, Michael Arena and Sherley Jean-Pierre for their efforts and allowing me the opportunity to be a part of such a great experience.
Going into Bootcamp I had heard about the sleepless nights and how critical Mr. Lustig could be. Those thoughts were dispelled on the first night. Warren put us at ease, while making us understand how tough it would be to complete such a tough assignment.
When we began our shooting and transcribing, the days got long but they were not unbearable. That is a testament to my teammates. Everyone pulled their weight and contributed. We debated how to tell different parts of our story, but our disagreements never got in the way of getting the job done. Gary Flores, our team's correspondent, was pushed by us, but he responded. He understood that he was the face of our group and things had to be done right, no matter how many takes it took. His dedication was critical to our success.
There were interviews we wanted to get, but didn't. We made the best of what we had. Some technical errors were made but our editor, Anna Charles, did a great job of editing and minimizing those mistakes.
Members of the other Bootcamp teams asked how our story was going, and wished us good luck. I had the sense that all of the schools wanted to see the others do well.
As for Mr. Lustig, it says a lot that a man of his credentials would take the time to help students who don't have the access that students from more prominent schools may have. There is no doubt that what we learned can be applied to any aspect of television we choose to pursue. "60 Minutes" has been and continues to be the standard for top-notch journalism. Learning from someone like Warren becomes even more crucial at a time when the news business is becoming more centralized, and anyone can become a journalist. He made this a fun learning experience.
My Bootcamp experience gave me a taste of working in the news world, and I loved it. I'm a professional actor but if it doesn't work out, working in production is my backup plan. As of now, I just might have a job with a production company. Thank you for this great experience.
McKinley Perkins IV:
CUNY-TV Bootcamp was an extremely enriching experience. Not only was it fascinating to be able to pick the brain of a seasoned television professional, but it was fun, entertaining and I got to meet some good people. I have gained a great deal of confidence in my ability to tell a story visually and to execute a plan. I feel that I am well on my way to being able to produce a solid, broadcast-worthy news piece. I want to sincerely thank Warren and the panel of CBS staffers who critiqued our work. Their analysis gave me further insight into the script writing process and a clearer understanding of the criteria for network standard productions. I also want to thank Michael and Sherley for all of their efforts. They were committed to making themselves available if our team had questions or needed equipment, and they both played a crucial role in making my participation in this project feasible. I feel blessed to have been able to take part in the program and I am sure that the lessons I learned will stick with me for a long time to come.
TV Boot Camp: Hard Work, Invaluable Exposure
By Sonia Valentin
Being chosen as a participant for the "CUNY/CBS TV Boot Camp" was an honor. This exceptional opportunity resulted in a rewarding and educational experience. I gained an understanding of time and energy involved in the production of television news magazines.
Warren Lustig, Senior Editor and Producer at CBS, is a generous expert in this field. He was very informative and gladly answered all of our questions. As we began our intensive program, Warren enthusiastically and strategically prepared us for the challenges we would face both in the studio and on our set, the streets of New York City, for our pieces modeled after CBS's "60 Minutes" segments.
During the production of our piece, "Unfashionable Behavior," teammate Marc Burgess Ihrig and I interviewed emerging fashion designers, gaining insight into the competitive fashion industry. Learning the many facets of television production, we collectively researched and wrote scripts, and meticulously chose avenues and streets to shoot our film stills. The process of finding interviewees, agreeing upon common ground and maintaining a film schedule allowed us to learn through our experiences and obstacles. All four college teams involved in the program endured sleepless nights, hoping our results would meet each of our visions and expectations. I can still remember the running around we did, the giddy laughter, the sighs of relief, and the joy we felt once our piece was finished.
The pinnacle of this boot camp was the screening of each team's short films in the company of CBS producers, editors and executives who offered constructive critiques and meaningful feedback. As an avid viewer of CBS's "60 Minutes" program it was truly thrilling to see the iconic ticking clock, as well as myself, on screen, as the correspondent and later on, meeting Morley Safer, Bob Simon and Leslie Stahl, icons in their field.
CUNY's support in this endeavor was well appreciated. CUNY's Michael Arena was very involved and supportive, while making himself readily available for questions or concerns. I am also grateful to CUNY's Annette Calderon in her role as our editor. Mr. Arena and Ms. Calderon are both consummate professionals and were overwhelmingly positive in our dealings (unsurprising, of course, as I have only had positive encounters while attending CUNY colleges). The support and advice given to us by Dr. Rodman, George Casturani and Tracy Lovett, of Brooklyn College's Television and Radio Department, was abundant. Lastly, Prof. Irene Sosa graciously viewed our rough cuts, providing ample advice and direction.
To reiterate my enthusiasm, kudos again to Warren Lustig, an alumnus of Brooklyn College, for giving 100 percent of himself at all times. Participation in CUNY/CBS TV Boot Camp provided prospective television, radio and journalism (under)graduate students the opportunity to acquire a significant amount of knowledge through hands-on experience under the guidance of a master, Warren Lustig. I extend my deep thanks also to Senior Vice Chancellor Jay Hershenson for his continued support of this much appreciated educational program.
After this positive exposure to film production, I was a production assistant in an independent film by Harvard University graduate Maria Agui Carter, titled "Cleats," for public television. I was also involved in the filming of an independent music video this past week in Brooklyn.
My education at CUNY colleges has opened up many avenues, pushing me beyond my comfort zone, while exposing me to creative and stimulating academics and extra-curricular activities. For this I am grateful..