Student-run production house rocks
Oct. 11, 2004
By Marisa Palmieri
Ashley Cicero wasn't like most children of the late 1980s and early 1990s. While the other kids watched "Fraggle Rock" and "Saved by the Bell," she tuned into MTV's "Remote Control" and "Headbanger's Ball."
Before Cicero entered Ohio University in fall 2001, her mom asked her to set one goal for her future. "I want to work for MTV," she replied.
Several weeks into her freshman year, Cicero, BSC '04, saw an ad for an open crew call for a music television show. It was no MTV, but she knew she had to get involved.
The ad was for "Jukebox," one of eight shows produced by Athens Video Works, the University's student-run video production house. Students involved in AVW experience every facet of video production to create music, sports, comedy, talk and game shows that air on WOUB II and a public access channel.
John Swartz, a junior telecommunications major in the Honors Tutorial College, is president and general manager of AVW. He recruits new students, serves as the student-faculty liaison and substitutes wherever needed.
"Our organization gives students a chance to take the theory they learn in class and apply it on real productions," he says. "I came to OU with very little previous knowledge about television production. And now, two years later, I am producing my own shows." For the most part, telecommunications majors make up the AVW crew. Student veterans ease new recruits through studio and field production techniques and into vital positions such as production manager, director and eventually executive producer. The roles give them the practical, interactive experience they need to secure internships and jobs with big-name production companies.
"I couldn't read this in a book and know how to do it. I needed to put my hands on the equipment and deal with people in the field to understand," says Cicero, who started as a set designer for "Jukebox" in 2001 and took the reins as executive producer in fall 2003. "In our field the best way to learn is hands-on."
"Jukebox," which was awarded a third-place Broadcast Education Award for mixed production this past spring, is a music concert show that spotlights about three area bands a quarter.
The show delves into the backgrounds and personalities behind the microphones, guitars and drum sets of the hard-working bands. As its name implies, a variety of musical genres - metal, funk, rock and acoustic - are on rotation at "Jukebox."
Cicero's experience landed her in New York City in 2002 for an MTV production internship. (Mission accomplished in just one year, Mom!)
Fast forward to June 2004. Cicero graduated cum laude in three years with a telecommunications degree. "MTV was cool," she says, "but 'Jukebox' has been my life for three years."
This story appeared in the fall 2004 edition of Ohio Today. Marisa Palmieri is a student writer with University Communications and Marketing.