Week 4- CTV Calgary

I can’t believe it’s over already, and I’m not just talking about the practicum itself. It’s weird to think that this blog I’m writing right now is the last thing I will be doing at SAIT. The last two years have been the most rewarding of my life and I’m so excited to say that I am now an official college graduate! I may or may not have put off writing this final blog past since it is the last thing I have to do for the program and I’m both happy and sad about it.

As for the practicum, this past week was pretty standard. I did the usual writing web copy, transcribing clips, wrote a VO/CVO, did some chase producing, and joined in on the morning meetings. Let’s break it down day-by-day, SHALL WE!!!

Day 1- Monday

Over the weekend, Kevin asked if I could try and get a hold of a couple local artists who started an event called the Quarantine International Film Festival (QIFF). They ended up receiving over 600 submissions from 54 countries worldwide, which was far more than they were ever expecting.

Kevin was hoping I could arrange interviews and see if they would shoot some B-roll over the weekend due to social distancing. When I got a hold of them, they were all gung-ho to do the interview and were even okay with Kevin doing it at their place, so he was able to shoot some B-roll himself. He shot the story that morning and I spent the day writing his web copy and transcribing the interviews. That was done around one and I spent the rest of the day setting up the next days story.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/calgary-couple-s-quarantine-film-festival-garners-hundreds-of-submissions-from-around-the-globe-1.4904164

Day 2- Tuesday

On Tuesday, Kevin covered a story on YYC Grocery Delivery, a volunteer group organized U of C students helping deliver groceries to those in need during COVID-19. They do it free of charge and focus on helping those who are high risk. I spent the back half of Monday contacting the group and organizing interviews and shoot times for Kevin. I also did a pre-interview over the phone with the project leader so I could get a head start on the web copy. In the end, I was able to set Kevin up with 3 interviews; a volunteer, a client and one of the organizers. I arranged Kevin to meet the volunteer in Shawnessy to shoot a little B-roll of her shopping for the groceries and conduct the interview. He then went with her to the clients house and got more B-roll there and interviewed the recipient of the groceries. After that, he made his way down to interview the Volunteer coordinator for YYC Grocery Delivery. He was able to get all parts done and shot by 11:30 and then sent me the interviews to transcribe. I did that, sent the transcriptions back to him and wrote the web copy. All-in-all, Tuesday worked out very well and we were both done before three.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/u-of-c-students-launch-volunteer-grocery-delivery-for-seniors-and-at-risk-calgarians-1.4905841?cache

Day 3- Wednesday

Kevin ended up working on something else for the rest of the week and didn’t need my help so I assisted Kevin Fleming for the Wednesday and Thursday.

On Wednesday, KF was working on a story in Black Diamond about a family run film and photography company that is using their spare time to make an amateur cooking show called “Quarantine Cooking”. The show had started going viral and it made for a great feel good story! I did the usual transcriptions and web copy writing for him. I also started working on a VO/CVO but my computer started having some issues so he said not to worry about it. The story went on the five and six news.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/black-diamond-family-uses-free-time-to-cook-up-some-positivity-1.4907445?cache=yes%3FclipId%3D89531%3FclipId%3D89531%3FclipId%3D86116

Day 4- Thursday

On Thursday, KF went up to Drumheller to cover a story that was given to him by a company called Dinosaur Valley Studios. DVS normally makes dinosaur and animal props for movies but was given a new task back a central Alberta village called Rochon Sands. They were making a 25-foot Northern Pike for the Summer getaway to put in their main marina. Once again, I did the usual transcriptions and web copy and was able to write the VO/CVO for him which was used in the 6 o’clock news. It was fun working with Kevin Fleming, and I think he really appreciated all the help since he was doing a lot of driving for his two stories.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/massive-northern-pike-jackfish-under-construction-in-east-coulee-studio-1.4909461

Day 5- Friday

This was my last and final day of practicum and since Kevin wasn’t working I arranged to do my final Skype chat with him, which is posted below. I has spoken to Jeff Little, the News Director, the day before and asked him if it was alright if I only worked till noon since Kevin wasn’t working and I was hoping to jump in to the final group chat for school. He didn’t have a problem with it, so that was awesome.

During the morning meeting, I thanked everyone for all they’ve done and let them known how appreciative I was of being given the opportunity to help with such a great station. I then offered my help and ended up getting two jobs to do before noon.

Firstly, I was asked to contact multiple pharmacies and ask them about their Ventolin (asthma medication) supply as there was a release that went out highlighting the shortage on Ventolin around the city. I also asked about PPE masks and gloves for the pharmacists as last week there was a shortage on those as well and pharmacists were unable to get any for themselves. I ended up contacting eight pharmacies and they all gave me mixed answers which was great. I sent my findings to the news team and started on task two.

For my second task I was asked to contact SAIT, MRU and U of C and ask what their plans are for kids summer camps since all events have been cancelled until the end of August. It was for a story Glenn Campbell was doing on sports around Calgary and the impact the announcement would have. I ended up hearing back from MRU and SAIT but not U of C. They pretty much just said that they were figuring it out and would have a proper answer the coming week. Then I was all done and jumped in the morning meeting.

So that’s it. Like I said before, it was an amazing practicum and I learned a lot! Way more than I thought I would going into it because of doing it from home. I feel like my writing has grown and I’m more comfortable reaching out to people for interviews. I couldn’t have asked for a better end to my adventure at SAIT and am so excited for what the future holds! Thanks for following along during this journey. Till next time!

-Sean Marks

Week 3- CTV Calgary

It is I, Sean Marks, back at it again to give you the up and up on how my third week of practicum has been. I can’t believe how quickly it’s flown by, geez. It feels like just yesterday I was calling in to the first morning meeting all nervous and now it’s just part of my normal, everyday routine. This week was a pretty busy one for the most part though. I got the chance to do a few more CVO’s, write more copy and even go out and help shoot a story that I pitched (obviously keeping with the social distancing measures of course). It was a pretty good week…. so lets get into it.

Day 1- Monday

Monday was pretty uneventful to be honest. Kevin told me on Sunday about the story he would be doing and just needed me to write the web copy the next day. However, he ended up writing it the night before so it was ready to be published Monday morning as it turned out to be time sensitive and he wanted to be the first to break the story. He then asked me to set up some interviews for him for Tuesday for another story about a dog sled company in Canmore. I wasn’t able to get the interviews set up (probably because it was Easter Monday) but it didn’t end up making a difference as he came down with something and ended up not working the next day anyways.

Day 2- Tuesday

With Kevin being sick on Tuesday, I offered my help to anyone who needed it at the station. The assignment editor, Kevin Nimmock, ended up giving me two jobs to do that day. I ended up interviewing the CEO of the Calgary Counselling Centre, Dr. Robbie Babins-Wagner, and putting together a CVO on how they’ve been doing since resorting to online sessions with their clients. I also interviewed a volunteer for the Distress Centre Calgary who was organizing their 50 year anniversary and did a CVO for that as well. I wrote copies for both stories but they didn’t end up going to web. It was a super productive and fulfilling day and probably one of the busiest ones I’d had to date.

You can watch both CVO’s at the following link. Distress is at 12:48 and Counselling at 30:57.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/video?binId=1.2079720

Day 3- Wednesday

Kevin and I were back at it again on Wednesday and were assigned a story on Post-secondary schools in Calgary. It came from a tip off that the U of C was preparing to go online for the fall semester but nothing was confirmed. We were both unsure of whether the story would work or not since we couldn’t get a straight answer but ended up focusing on contingency plans that were in place for not only U of C but also MRU and SAIT. I transcribed Kevin’s interviews and wrote the web copy for the story. I was also in charge of setting up a possible interview with an administrator at SAIT. I contacted Chris Gerritsen but was unable to get an interview that day. He did give us a statement that we used in the story and the web copy.

Here’s a link to both the pack and the web copy.

https://calgary.ctvnews.ca/calgary-post-secondary-schools-eyeing-online-courses-through-2020-1.4898107

Day 4- Thursday

On Thursday, Kevin asked if I would like to join him in shooting the story that I had pitched to him the previous week. It was on a Calgary company called YYC Princesses that normally attends children’s birthday parties as princesses from Disney movies. However, with COVID-19 and social distancing they were forced to make some changes. They are now doing what they call Princess Trains where they visit kids at home and on their birthdays and sing and chat with them from the street. They also have an online presence now with something called Princess TV which you can watch on their Facebook page.

Kevin had me conduct the interviews and gave me a copy of the footage to cut my own pack to use for my demo. The story will air on CTV next Tuesday.

Day 5- Friday

Friday was another somewhat slow day as Kevin usually has Fridays off. I did the usual call in to the morning meeting and offered my help but didn’t hear anything for a few hours.

I ended up helping Timm Bruch with a story he was doing on Jason Kenney and the pipeline. He wanted me to find a clip of Kenney from a press conference he did talking about how Alberta needs north of $20 billion to get back on track. I had some difficulty finding the exact clip he was talking about and when I finally did, one of the web editors had tracked it down for him. I did end up finding another clip from a phone interview Kenney did with BNN Bloomberg where he said something similar which I sent to Timm as well.

And there you have it. Three weeks in the bag, one to go! I didn’t get a chance to do a sit-down with Kevin this week so we’re going to go over the back half of the practicum for my fourth and final blog post! As always, thanks again for reading along and seeing how things are going with this lad. Catch you next time!

-Sean Marks