Department of Media Gains Experience in Production Partnership with Sun Belt

JONESBORO — Students, staff and faculty from Arkansas State University Department of Media and the Sun Belt Conference teamed up for a unique partnership to produce the conference volleyball championship in Arlington, Texas.

The department, in association with the Sun Belt Conference, produced all seven championship matches for ESPN3. The department’s year-old mobile TV production trailer was used for the first time outside the state of Arkansas. Seven students, three faculty members and an engineer made the trip.

“We began discussions with the Sun Belt Conference during last summer about possibly producing the volleyball championship,” said Collin Pillow, instructor of media. “The conference had been very pleased with our productions of other conference games on ESPN3 and felt we would provide a good product and a unique experience for our students. It is fairly rare for a mostly student crew to produce an entire championship weekend of events for an outlet like ESPN3.

“Our department has a history of providing professional opportunities for our students. We produce approximately 20 A-State home athletics events a year for ESPN3, but this is the first time we have attempted such a large event as a three-day championship almost 500 miles away.”

Clayton Holderfield, a freshman multimedia journalism major from Cabot, was excited to make the trip and utilize what he has learned in class.

“As a freshman, having the opportunity to assist in producing the Sun Belt volleyball championship for ESPN3 was an extraordinary experience,” he commented. “I was able to work alongside my peers and professional commentators to create an outstanding production. I hope to be able to help out next year when the tournament comes to the Convocation Center in Jonesboro.”

Creative media production major Drew Hancock, a junior from Batesville, also said, “I had been looking forward to this trip for months, and it was no disappointment. It was a great experience getting to work on real professional productions. The crew was outstanding, and it makes me proud that we surprised people (including one of our commentators) when they found out we were primarily a student crew.

“While we did have some hiccups in the productions, figuring out and overcoming them was incredibly rewarding, and only helped add to the experience. Huge thanks to Mr. Collin Pillow, Mr. Alex Brown, Mr. Galen Perkins, and Mr. Justin Rucker for helping make this trip possible.”

Trent Taylor of Batesville who is working on a double major of creative media production and agriculture business, commented, “Producing the Sun Belt volleyball tournament was an amazing experience. I’ve watched events like this one, but never thought I would have the chance to actually be there working on the crew for it.

“One key element that I learned from this experience is how essential teamwork is in a live production. Each person has an important part and without that teamwork, the final product will not be as good as it could be. Our teamwork was great and resulted with a top quality production that was complimented by numerous people. I’m proud to say that I was part of that team.

“There were long hours put into this production over the four days, but in the end it was a rewarding and incredible experience and pleased to say I was part of it.

The Department of Media began producing A-State athletics events for ESPN3 in January of 2015. Twenty-six volleyball, men’s and women’s basketball, and baseball games have been produced in the past year.

Fourteen men’s and women’s home basketball games will be produced for ESPN3 during 2017.

“The trip to Arlington was a fantastic experience,” stated Galen Perkins, instructor of media. “Our department prides itself on the hands-on opportunity we immediately afford to students, and it was great to be a part of a professional crew comprised of first-year students to professionals with 30-plus years experience in the field.

“Our students continue to surprise me with their work ethic, skill, and attention to detail. We are truly training and working alongside the future leaders in media and sports production.”

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Attached photo: Two students in Arkansas State University’s Department of Media served as part of ESPN3 production crew.

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