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May 10, 2001 TV3 productions teach creativity, art of compromise




TV3 professor Nikos Metallinos, technical advisorMike Smart, TV2 professorRae Staseson

TV3 Professor Nikos Metallinos, Technical Advisor Mike Smart and TV2 Professor Rae Staseson.


by Jane Shulman

Concordia students in Advanced Television Production screened their final projects for their parents, friends and colleagues at Loyola last week.

The seven productions included documentaries, dramas, comedies and experimental films produced by the 13 students in Communications Studies Professor Nikos Metallinos’s class. They covered a range of subjects—heritage, Star Wars, animal rights and nasty mother-in-laws.

“It was great to see them on the big screen,” said student Isabelle Lagacé. “Even though I’ve seen these productions to the point of knowing the dialogue, I was seeing them as if it was the first time. When I saw the credits go up, I thought, Hey, I made this.

“The audience reaction was very encouraging—it was interesting to get the first reaction of people who haven't analyzed them over and over.”

Metallinos was proud of his students, who are expected to learn time management and technical skills, while developing their creativity in the television medium. He has been teaching the same course for 21 years, but he’s still thrilled by their enthusiasm.

“I am biased here, but I say the screening was fantastic.”

The hours are long and the work can sometimes be gruelling, but the students stick with it because of the rewards of completing a project.

“You put in more than the average amount of work, far more than other classes,” said Melanie Richards. “I’ll be editing from 10 in the morning until 10 at night, and I hardly notice because I’m so involved in what I’m doing.”

Metallinos added that technically, the students are happy to work with new digital equipment. “The digital cameras we use now help a great deal. They are comparable with digital [computer] editing.”

The department’s recently acquired Avid editing system is top of the line—very few universities have them, Metallinos said.

“Our productions are a lot more innovative, and the quality is better because we have new equipment, Richards said.

With digital cameras and editing, we have the best quality you can get, and it makes it a lot easier to edit.”

One documentary profiled the Fauna Foundation, a refuge south of Montreal for animals that have been used for scientific testing or in circuses.

Another looked at Quebec history by interviewing members of several generations of a large family.

One drama examined a woman’s new-found interest in magic as an escape from her boring husband and wicked mother-in-law, and the evening’s experimental piece led the audience to wonder just what happened in the fall of 1988.

Students agreed that working as a team presented some of the greatest challenges, but also some of the greatest rewards, Lagacé said.

“It is practically impossible for everyone to have it their way, so we all had to learn to compromise and trust each other.”

Richards explained that a variety of obstacles have to be overcome for a production to make it to the final screening.

“For the Fauna Foundation documentary, the Discovery Channel had the students sign an exclusive contract that would prevent them from showing the documentary,” she explained.