tting in the audience of AVW’s
Fridays Live in the RTV Building, the booth seems to be a quiet place. Inside the large-windowed room, however, it’s anything but, with the director calling out “take” or “ready and dissolve” every few seconds.
That director is Chris Denzel, who eyes monitors while speaking to camera operators, the floor manager, the assistant director and technical director, all in order to make sure Fridays Live goes off without a hitch.
“I deal with the cameras and what is seen actually on the screen, so it’s my job to make sure all the technical equipment is working, make sure that the cameras are collaborated and producing the same color,” said Denzel, a sophomore studying integrated media. “I’ve got to make sure everything is on time.”
Last Friday’s edition of Fridays Live was a bit different than most: It was a 58-minute, 38-second event, 28 minutes longer than a normal show and the first-ever collaboration show with Newstime, an AVW show dedicated to making satire out of the news.
Also for the first time, the show was streamed live to the Bobcat Student Lounge in Baker University Center. It was part of AVW Week, a week-long celebration of the 12 shows put on by the student-run video production organization.
The collaboration episode opened with a nine-minute digital short featuring Fridays Live and Newstime members debating about who has the time in Studio C — which is home to both shows — all set to the music of
West Side Story.
“The idea was to do a West Side Story parody with a bunch of music and we thought it would be very cool to put a lot of the songs from the musical into it and make it flow with the script itself and to develop the story,” said Ryan McGee, out-of-studio producer for Fridays Live.
The live part of the show opened with the night’s host, Tom Wade, a writer for both shows as well as a cast member for Fridays Live. He suffered a black eye as the two warring sides battled for him.
“The whole writer’s room went to Vietnam,” said Wade, a freshman studying film, in his banter segment.
As the show goes on, it is recorded inside the booth to a tape that is then sent to WOUB, where Fridays Live is broadcast two and a half hours after the initial taping.
For this, timing is crucial, Jessica DeLuca, producer of Fridays Live, said.
“If we go over (the usual 30 minutes we have), it’ll just get cut off, it’ll just look weird for the viewers,” said DeLuca, a junior studying video production.
Friday’s show featured four sketches, two by the Fridays Live writers and two by Newstime, with a fifth segment called “A-Off.” In the sketch, the anchors of Fridays Live’s “A-News” segment, Peter Vilardi, and Gina Powers, clashed head-to-head with Newstime’s Matt Albani and Jessica Ensley.
Ensley, a junior studying journalism, is a former Post reporter.
Though this show was both performed and aired Friday, the work began a week or two prior. Plans to collaborate started right before finals of Fall Semester, said Evan Swingle, producer for Newstime. He reached out to DeLuca, his counterpart on Fridays Live.
“We gave spring break to the writers to kind of figure out what they wanted to do and then all this (last) week has been set-up and prep,” Swingle, a junior studying pre-professional biology, explained.
The week putting together the show was a long one, starting with a writer’s meeting last Sunday to pitch ideas that gestated during spring break.
On Wednesday, both Fridays Live and Newstime members met to read through all of the sketches submitted and the 16 cast members and writers chose which sketches would air.
Thursday, the two AVW shows set up the studio. Crew arranged four backdrops called flats, while McGee worked until 6 a.m. to get the two digital shorts that tied the show together finished and ready for Friday night.
McGee, a freshman studying screenwriting and producing, was tasked with organizing more than 30 people’s schedules to put the shorts together, and then shot, directed, produced and edited the shorts himself, which were written by Ryan Gabos and Vilardi, a sophomore studying audio production.
“It was a crazy week because we had this massive schedule for doing these long digital shorts and they turned out great, so that was fantastic, but that was really thanks to Ryan (McGee),” Wade said. “He’s a magic man.”
With all the work put into the show, Gabos, a junior studying video production, said he was extremely happy with the results, although the time leading up to the show was incredibly hectic.
“What made (Friday) a really great show in my mind was that everything synced up perfectly,” Gabos said. “It was serendipitous for everyone, so yeah, it felt right. … It flowed really well, I think.”
Denzel agreed, and said collaborations with Newstime and Fridays Live could happen again, maybe as an annual event.
“I thought it was great, the whole crew thought it was great, the actors thought it was great,” Denzel said. “I think this was a really good building block for us to go even further for the show.”