Dawson – Practicum: Week 4 (Finale)

This wasn’t just my last week of practicum, but it was my last week of classes at SAIT. I was asked to make a news pack for my supervisor that also made it into the final show–and I had to put it all together in an hour because it wasn’t really up to snuff the first time around. I was actually proud of the result for the first time since the start of the quarantine.

We had our last Newsfile class watch, and it ended somewhat somber. I still had to finish my demo website so I couldn’t stick around for a lot of it either.

There were a lot of tears from what I was still there to see. James ended the last show in such an eloquent nice way too–which somewhat added to the sting. It was difficult not being able to really engage with the class as we watched and talked.

But it’s not all about feeling bad. I think everyone shared the same feeling of accomplishment coming out of a semester that had some added challenge tacked on–especially the instructors who deserve some props for getting things together for the students on such short notice. It wasn’t easy to get everything done, and with the helpline not being helpful or online frequently (I know they have a lot of people to help) it was made pretty difficult to get things together at times. I was extremely anxious going into my last few assignments until someone at the Adobe help desk was able to set me up with a loophole for getting creative cloud back.

It’s rough looking back on pre-quarantine because in many ways it felt like I wasn’t grateful for how much more facility we had over what we could do, how and when. I remember just before the quarantine started some of us spoke about how it felt like something disastrous was coming up–like how the air gets thicker before a storm. It hasn’t been a disaster, but it’s been hard. Knowing that we may not get a chance to be a relatively full class together again will be hard too. Now it’s over, and it’s been a few days of listless, zero-activity days. I go on walks when I can, and get fresh air, talk to people online or over the phone, but something about it is so much more confining–even though it’s all what I’d likely be doing right now anyway.

This is my last “assignment” for the class, and I was putting it off a bit because I don’t know if I’m alright with it all being truly “over”, you know? But it is.

It’s been fun, but nothing fun is permanent. Thanks RTBN, I’d do it all again in a heartbeat (that is not a request to fail me please don’t do that).

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

Working during COVID-19 vs staying at home

COVID-19 has effected everyone around the world one way or another. Many people are stuck at home quarantined with little to do in terms of entertainment. For some people, they were able to keep working because the business they are working at was deemed an essential service by the government.

“It’s nice to be able to get up and go to work.”

Some business that have been deemed essential services are Retail, Construction, Agricultural and Horticultural. “It’s nice to be able to get up and go to work, and there isn’t a lot of people out on the road. So, its a little bit more quiet than usually, its a nicer pace.” Said Kim Zaharia a Receptionist at CBI Manufacturing when asked what is it like working during a pandemic.

CBI Manufacturing as put in a plexiglass shield around the reception desk and making sure that staff cleanup and use disinfectant as often as they can.

Kim also says that the easiest park about working during a pandemic is being able to have that routine in the morning and being able to stay busy.

“The job I was on has been postponed for now.”

Most people have been laid off or fired because of COVID-19 and have been financially impacted by this pandemic and don’t know when it will end. “The job I was on, has been postponed for now. There will be a time, when we will return to work on that job. everyday that goes by without making any money is one less day to make money.” Said Quentin Zaharia a contractor when asked how this pandemic has impacted him.

People have been starting to find ways to keep themselves busy like finding a new hobby or learning a new skill., and have been able to make the time go by easier.

By: Declan Zaharia