Lights, Camera, Action
Sam Devecchis and Franchesca Marino are among the many communication studies students utilizing the production studio at Widener University.
Located in Freedom Hall, which officially opened in 2013, the state-of-the-art television studio has become a home for communication studies and digital media informatics majors to explore areas of television, film, and sports production in a professional atmosphere. With a studio complete with floor to ceiling windows, a cyclorama wall–or green screen–, HD television cameras, LED lighting, a control room, editing suites, and industry standard equipment, students in communications are offered hands-on, real-world experience during their time at Widener.
“This is the only way to really learn the material and really learn what you’re doing,” said Devecchis, a sophomore communication studies major with a concentration in film studies. “The tools in this room and the equipment in this studio are 100% essential.”
With communications being a competitive industry, media productions coordinator and senior lecturer at Widener, Timothy Scepansky feels, “It’s important for students to not only complete their coursework, but also do extracurricular work experience to hone their skills so they’re ready for the career field when they graduate, not after they graduate.”
In addition to curriculum courses and concentrations, Widener offers an array of clubs and organizations for students to be involved in as early as their freshman year that allow the opportunity to produce real-world work in the professional studio. These organizations include The Blue & Gold, Widecast Radio, WUTV, WUFilms, and WUSports. Each extracurricular is produced and run by students, which Scepansky believes allows students to take the lead as they will in their professional careers.
“We really have to depend on each other and know how to communicate with each other effectively to get the production going. We become professionals ourselves, so when we go out in the real world, we can be professional,” Devecchis said.
Marino, as a freshman, is a communication studies and marketing double major as well as an anchor for WUTV, Widener’s student-run television production. As a new member to the communications family, she believes the production studio not only prepares students for their futures, but also “gives students a chance to be someone.”
Through the communication studies program, students have the opportunity to become film directors, editors, screenwriters, producers, technicians, and on-air talent during the course of their four years. Scepansky says, “We like our students to model what they want to be while they’re in school, and really the best way to do that is to utilize the professional production studio that we have here.”