Most students just need to deal with homework and tests. However, for the students participating in the television production class (TVR), they have to worry about producing and managing a cast while dealing with the technical side of television production.
Barbara Naylor teaches the television production classes at PCC. Naylor started as a teaching assistant in graduate school and continued teaching part time after she finished her studies.
“I’ve instinctively gravitated toward teaching in one form or another my entire professional life,” said Naylor. “I replaced a retiring TV production professor, so my course load at PCC has always included video production classes.”
Naylor’s courses include producing and directing various genres so that students grasp what it’s like to actually work in the television industry. Students in Naylor’s class aren’t expected to simply take notes. They also participate in several projects to broaden their knowledge about TV production.
“There’s intensive lectures and lots of hands-on experience,” said Naylor.
Students must learn how to effectively apply visual language into a shot selection, use professional terminology to talk to personnel, mark scripts, and how to best use lighting. Students must also juggle directing and producing successfully while dealing with a rotating group of actors.
“It’s very stressful,” said Sebastian Chairez, a communications major. “You’re dealing with the whole crew and also the actors.”
Although the courses are intensive, Naylor has high expectations for all of her students.
“We set the bar high because the entertainment industry is competitive and unforgiving,” said Naylor. “There’s a lot at stake for everyone, hours can be grueling and the pace is fast.”
Naylor’s expectations, however inflexible they may be, are for the benefit of the students. Naylor knows that the industry expects perfection when it comes to content creation and so she incorporates industry attitudes and expectations into every class.
“I expect students to invest in their work and pay attention to detail,” said Naylor. “I temper that with a supportive and flexible teaching style.”
Naylor’s investment in her student’s success at TV production often propels students to set the bar higher.
“She’s taught me to be more organized with my production packet,” said Chairez. “I have to put a lot more thought into it.”
Students in TVR courses must stretch their abilities and work autonomously all to work towards their ultimate objective: a polished and captivating method of communicating with an audience.
“In the intermediate class, TVR 16A, students create talk shows, PSAs or commercials, a music video and a conflict scene,” said Naylor. “The projects in TVR 16B are similar but more complex.”
Students in 16B are expected to be more familiar with the course and therefore get a more work-intensive load. They must complete two scenes in which there must be an emotional tone and conflict which is often an essential element of engaging storytelling. In addition to planning and producing, students must also take into account different locations which they incorporate into productions such as short web series, music videos, promotional videos, and lifestyle news magazines.
Each class in TV production that students take is designed to build their skills until they are ready to enter the work force.
“In TVR 7 students learn to work at each station in a TV studio- lighting director, technical directing on a switcher, camera operator, audio board, computer graphics, media manager, and camera control,” said Naylor.
Students must hone their technical skills in TVR 107 and in TVR 16A they work on learning how to direct.
“They become very well rounded which is important for their career success,” said Naylor. “Especially in the early years when your career trajectory can be unpredictable.”
With the amount of information students are expected to know and the projects they must complete by the end of the semester, it’s not surprising that many are nervous about performing up to Naylor’s expectations. Nonetheless they have fun and learn a lot from each other.
“It’s very exciting seeing your ideas translated from the page to the screen,” said Naylor. “Lifelong friendships have been forged in TVR classes, even some business ventures.”
Students who excel and come ready to learn often leave PCC ready to begin working in the television industry. Former students get jobs working for Disney, Fox, ABC, NBC, ESPN, Fox Radio, KPCC, KNX as well as many other companies.
“Our program has been in existence since the 70s so alumni are everywhere in the entertainment industry,” said Naylor.
Some of the more prominent alumni include Bryan Fugal, who directed an Imagine Dragons music video, and Jessica Chandra who landed a job at Nickelodeon’s Animation Studio.
In spite of the success of the TVR courses, Naylor is always looking to improve the classes and build on what students need to learn to be successful.
“The TVR program plans to include more location production since this is ubiquitous in video production,” said Naylor. “We also hope to provide students with more hands-on content creation opportunities via PCC’s web studio, cable station and social media platforms.”