Moderating Symposiums

In the spring of 2018 I took my second class in the Multimedia Cinematic Production program at HPU. This post is mostly what I wrote for one of the essays on the final exam. Its a story of the process of the production of two symposiums from my perspective.

Modern Media Symposium-2018_1

Modern Media Symposium2-2018_4-10-2018v2

The story starts before the spring, in the fall when I took my first class with Dr. Britos, and before I joined the dark side and I was still a computer science major. I did not do any blogs for that class and I still got an A! (I did do some extra credit blogging for the fall HIFF) I felt like I did not deserve the A, so I was going to put forth more effort in my next class to make up for my deficiencies of the previous class.

The essay question was : 

  1. Multiple Media Literacy, and media literacy in general have been discussed this semester in terms of how to be competent decoders of media content, but as well, the necessity of being competent producers (or encoders) of media content. With this perspective in mind, consider the two Modern Media Symposiums the class produced this semester: the John Fink Interview, and the Gaming, eSports, and Cinematic Panel and Team Dance Competition. How and why did the class turn these encounters into media events? Is there a difference in learning in this kind of active-production environment versus the traditional lecture-oriented classroom? What are some of the benefits and/or challenges to this kind of engagement? How do you think the introduction of a formal setting (i.e., production design and staging), multiple video cameras, boom mics, audio mixers, still photographers, dedicated lights and auditorium style seating influence the quality and nature of the events, including how the guest(s) interacted, i.e., with cameras rolling, and when they were off? What were some of the lessons learned (or not) from class participation in the workflow process as preproduction producer/writers, media and production crew, interviewer/moderator, audience, observers and critic/discussants? Why do you think the class production included the team dance segment of the event, and the panelists as judges? Consider these issues from a content analysis perspective (what we shot and what was said/performed) and systemsperspective (i.e., structural/organizational/workflow…).

 

Yeah, that’s one of those elephants you gotta eat one bite at a time.  Anyways this was my response minus the pictures…

I suppose this essay will be unique from the rest of the responses from this portion of the final as I had a significant role in both symposiums as the moderator and producer of both. Both symposiums were informative and interesting in different ways, but my favorite was the John Fink interview.

I volunteered for the role of moderator for the interview of John Fink. I have never interviewed anyone before, but I have been in front of the camera several times being interviewed, I have hosted events, coordinated community relation projects with various entities on the local, national and world level, and I have theatre staging experience.  With all of those combined I mustered the courage to volunteer after a long period of silence that followed the request for volunteers. I knew this was one of those experiences that people were going to remember me for, for better or worse. With that in mind I took on the task headfirst.

I started my work by sitting down with the professor and asking a few basic questions about the symposium. The first question I asked was what is the purpose of the interview and why are we recording it.  The reply I got was to preserve the experience and wisdom of the media industry, in particular for Hawaii and the news, of John Fink. John Fink is the General Manager of KFVE and has been in the media industry for over 20 years. The other reason was so that students can begin to get hands on experience with the tools of the industry. I asked a few questions in the direction of the style my professor had envisioned for the symposium. He wanted a Charlie Rose feel to it, a personal interview with thoughtful questions and follow on questions that were relevant to the response given to the original question.

After receiving that information I took to researching and compiling all the available information on John Fink. The professor, with the input from the students, came up with a list of questions; to which I arranged in a logical order and put into my own words. In my research I thought about the questions we were going to ask him and I thought about how he might respond and wrote out follow up questions. I watched every “Think About It” episode for the past two years. I was particularly intrigued by his episode “Un-loha” a critique in the day-to-day social interactions between people with a small rant on cell phone usage, I wanted him to explain that further to the class. With our class talking about encoding and decoding messages I thought it was a good piece, he talks of waving, smiling, and paying attention to others, he implies these are every day actions that sends others a message of Aloha. The implications of people walking around doing the opposite, frowning and not paying attention, convey a message the opposite of Aloha. Unfortunately when I approached the topic of that episode to him he cut me off saying that he never did an episode like that or named that. After the interview I watched the episode again just to check my own sanity.

The day of the interview I did have a moment of panic, I struggled to get out of bed in anticipation of the day’s events. I gathered my materials and selected an outfit that would be comfortable and conservative.
I arrived early to the classroom because I wanted to set a stage area. The walls are white so I grabbed some fake plants from around the building, taking note of where each one came from. I removed all of the desks from the classroom; before I did this I counted how many were originally there and wrote it down. I did this so that after the interview I could delegate the tasks of returning things to others. One of the reasons I like the John Fink interview over the eSports symposium was because it had a closed set feel. I did that on purpose, cameras were going to be rolling and I felt that John Fink would feel more comfortable in this type of setting. The setting in the classroom, for me, felt less intimidating considering my familiarity with it.

The eSports arena was an unfamiliar setting for me but that was not my only hiccup with that symposium. I had reluctance to host the symposium because first and foremost I wanted to give someone else the opportunity to shine. Also I didn’t know the subject well. The subject was focused more on gaming and the panel consisted of some of the industry’s subject mater experts. A fellow classmate and friend, Stephen, wanted to moderate but he was getting married that day, so I said I would. I got help from Stephen with questions and extra research on gaming in general. I put forth the same effort for this symposium, but the workload was greater. I had the task of converting nouns and adjectives of ideas generated by the class into logical questions that I hoped had some demonstration of critical thinking.
Instead of one person to focus on I had four, then I had five at the last minute, and I would like to point out that this was only my second time conducting an interview ever. I know that I did an adequate job, but I believe it was apparent that I knew the subject matter much better in the John Fink interview.  The day of the interview I attended Stephen’s wedding in the morning and rehearsed the interview several times, in particular saying the names.  The dance before the symposium drained what little energy I had left from my busy day.

As for the intention behind the dance portion of the symposium, this had a definite a clear message that Joe Peach demonstrated. The message was that you can make the game go beyond just the controller. There were only four controllers, yet everyone had a role. The panelist were judges, there were more of them than controllers. If the students were not on the controllers they were back up dancers and their performance determined who was going to go next on the controller. This is a clear message that game play is not limited to the number of controllers connected to the system.
This can be expounded upon to include the idea of eSports having a more interactive role than people once thought.

I hoped that other classmates would ask me about the production because that is where the real work culminated in the two symposiums. There are other things that I did that others may not think to do, those are my personal touches that I put into everything that I do. A lesson I learned in my work on the two symposiums is that most students have questions that they want answers to but they do not know how to ask them.

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