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STN? More like BeSTN

Cameras, microphones, and rubber chickens are only a few of the essential needs to complete the Student Television Network (STN) Convention competitions successfully. Over the course of a five day trip in March, around 30 of KBFT’s most talented filmmakers made their way to Long Beach to overcome one of the most challenging competitions of […]

Cameras, microphones, and rubber chickens are only a few of the essential needs to complete the Student Television Network (STN) Convention competitions successfully. Over the course of a five day trip in March, around 30 of KBFT’s most talented filmmakers made their way to Long Beach to overcome one of the most challenging competitions of their life. I happen to be one of them. Though I may not be the most talented amongst the group, I can probably speak for the majority and say that those five days were not an easy feat and required much more than everyone’s A-game to complete. 

For those who don’t know, STN hosts an annual national convention and competition for high school and middle school students involved in television, film, and multimedia production. The competitions offer various categories in which students can submit their work, showcase their skills, and receive feedback from professionals in the industry. This is a highly regarded event and a great platform for those who wish to develop their skills in the film or journalism industry. 

#squadup

Right off the bat, the first day of competition was intense. Everyone split up into smaller groups, where we would work on individual film packages for what is called the “Crazy 8’s” competition. By the end of the day, we would compile the best packages together to make one big news show.

“We are giving eight hours to complete a news package that’s eight minutes long, hence the name Crazy 8’s” says junior Olivia Kim (‘24). Every single prompt is released on the morning of competition, with this year’s prompt being “going against the grain”. Immediately after hearing the prompt, brainstorming, writing, and contacting took place. 

The goal with these news packages is to create an insightful and creative story that aligns with the prompt. The biggest issue isn’t coming up with potential stories, but finding people who are willing to be interviewed. “We called around 30-ish businesses — it was a lot”, Olivia says. “We were rejected a lot, but in the end, we decided to go to this small business: Adelita’s Revenge”. 

Olivia is not over-exaggerating with the amount of calls we made. Going through the process of attempting to schedule an interview was a very humbling experience. We realized that it was a pretty big ask for strangers to drop what they are doing and be filmed and interviewed by high schoolers. 

Enzo and his crew working on their short film.

As Olivia mentions, our group did eventually find a small business to interview, but this was only after hours of contacting, changing plans, and walking around the streets of Long Beach to find stories. Filming and interviewing are only part of the process — editing the package to perfection is also under the eight hour time limit too, so every minute counts. 

After a hectic day of Crazy 8’s competitions, the fun did not stop there. Everyone participated in a smaller, individual competition usually with teams of four to six people for the remainder of the week. From music videos, public service announcements, to sports commentary, everyone competed in an individual competition and gave it our absolute best. 

Junior producer Enzo Bautista (‘24) expresses his overwhelming experience with filming for a short film competition “The most stressful part was definitely the short film. It was difficult to get that filmed. The editing part went well, but filming at first, we hit a roadblock”. 

Sam on the big stage co-hosting the STN Awards Ceremony.

Enzo was able to keep a pretty optimistic outlook considering his circumstances. “I’m excited for next year, and I am coming back with vengeance”. Sadly I am a senior and will not be able to see that happen, but I can appreciate the confidence for next year. 

When the Crazy 8’s and all the smaller competitions came to an end, there was a closing  awards ceremony where all the High Schools and Middle Schools competing attend on the last day. CB’s very own Sam Strachan (‘23)had the opportunity to host the closing ceremony for everyone to see. 

“I think the moment I walked out onto stage for the first time in front of 3,000 people was some of the most adrenaline I’ve ever felt,” Sam sahred. No one in CB history has ever been a host, so this was kind of a big deal. “Overall it was one of the coolest experiences of my life and I would do it again in a heartbeat”. The CB contingent didn’t win any awards at the ceremony, but Sam hosting was a win within itself. 

Mr. Hogan’s hotel room pep talks

STN 2023 came with its ups and downs, but I think it’s safe to say that everyone took something out of the experience. The number one thing that our teacher Mr. Brendan Hogan ‘95 repeatedly told us to do is finish what we started, regardless of how it turns out. “I can remember multiple STN’s where people didn’t finish,” the KBFT Program Director recalled. “Didn’t get up. Didn’t even get out of bed, just slept through their alarm and didn’t go to their competition”. I am glad that everyone exceeded Mr. Hogan’s expectations, even though we didn’t bring back any hardware.  “I am extremely proud that these kids, every single one of them, did their work. Now there was definitely a few that were like ‘I’m not proud of it, but I got it done’, I am okay with that”.

STN was definitely an experience like no other. After a year of competing remotely due to the pandemic and then actually going to the event, I know that I will forever cherish and recommend to anyone who is interested in media productions. It may push your patience a few times but it is worth it.

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