Redwood TV prepares to become a class

Alexander Lieberman

As the crew of Redwood TV (RTV) has grown over the past couple years, Leadership teachers Dave Plescia and Kendall DeAndreis have decided to offer it as a class for the 2017-2018 school year.

The class will be offered after school once or twice a week as an eighth period, according to RTV crew member and junior Ines Schwartz.  With the new class, individual RTV episodes will be the same but additional staff will be working on the production, according to sophomore and filmmaker Charlie Werner.  

The class will enable the RTV crew to lessen the time commitment of the filming process during the weekend, according to Plescia and Werner.

Garet Jatsek adjusts a camera during the production of a Redwood TV episode.
Garet Jatsek adjusts a camera during the production of a Redwood TV episode.

Plescia says that RTV will not become an independent class but will be run by Leadership students and teachers.

The RTV staff is currently made up of 16 students. Of those 16, only nine will be returning next year, said senior and filmmaker, Garet Jatsek.

Through an application process in January and February, Plescia and other teachers hope to limit the class to 24 students.  

“People on [RTV] this year that were sophomores and juniors are going to stay on next year.  We have the seniors who are graduating who are obviously moving on, and so one of the things that we’re trying to do is tell people that this can be a class that maybe some people could come into with the skills already, as a sophomore, and be in the class for three years,” Plescia said.

The application process included a variety of components that determined whether or not  students were qualified for a spot in the class.

“They went through an application process that included both a written application and they also submitted videos and tapes of some previous work, and most importantly, they collaborated with other students to create a mock RTV,” Plescia said.  

Some students applied for an editing position, some wanted to operate the camera or other tools and others hoped to be in front of the camera as an anchor or reporter, according to Plescia.  He also stated that many drama students applied for on-screen positions.

“It’s kind of a natural crossover. . .going from theater to film, so we definitely have a higher percentage of drama students than others,” Plescia said.

As of now, Jatsek and senior Sam Slade are two of the show’s most experienced producers.

“[Jatsek] and [Slade] are essential parts of the team,” Werner said. “We have extended the crews and the side crews, such as sports and culture, and have a lot more power now and the main crew now has myself, Ines Schwartz and Jack Green. We are just going to power through and pray for the first couple episodes.”

With the additional students added to the crew, there are some worries about keeping everyone focused.

“Since the class is so much bigger, our main concern is making sure everyone is going to be doing something and not just sitting in the back of the class just watching and waiting around,” Schwartz said.

Schwartz also said that with the transition to a class, RTV will be produced with more organization and teacher supervision.

In order to make sure everyone has something to do, current RTV students are hoping to create more teams and responsibilities, according to Werner.

Throughout her time on RTV, Schwartz has dedicated extensive time outside of school to film and edit.

“An average RTV [production] might be about a few hours, maybe one hour during the week to film club announcements and on the weekends we are doing a lot of work. We film the hosts, the side projects and skits. Saturdays and Sundays are a lot of filming and editing,” Schwartz said.

One episode of RTV, including skits created by clubs or crew, takes between 20 and 50 hours to film, edit and produce, according to Jatsek.  

Sophie Landeck and Ned Peterson presenting the bi-weekly school announcements during a March 20 episode of Redwood TV
Sophie Landeck and Ned Peterson presenting the bi-weekly school announcements during a March 20 episode of Redwood TV

Schwartz also feels that, since the RTV crew is so small, the students participating are all really close. She is unsure of what the relationship will be like in the future with the new students.

“Everyone is always learning from each other. Since we are spending so much time together, I am really close with everyone and it is a really fun dynamic. I am the only girl and I think it is still fun,” Schwartz said. “Next year it will be different. I think it will still be the passionate environment that it is now.”