TV Broadcast Students Produce Virtual Gala for Pro-Life Medical Clinic

November 4, 2020

On October 24th, Prof. Tom Dunn led his TV Production II class in producing the 11th Annual “Pro-Life is Good” Virtual Gala for Culture of Life Family Services, streamed live from JPCatholic’s soundstage. The event was hosted by Dr. George Delgado, Medical Director of COLFS, and featured keynote speaker David Bereit, Founder of 40 Days for Life. The Most Reverend Ramon Bejerano, who was appointed as an Auxiliary Bishop of San Diego earlier this year, also attended to offer the opening and closing prayers.

The COLFS Gala has taken place annually for the last decade; this year, COVID-19 restrictions prompted the organizers to pursue a virtual gala. Over the summer, Joe Koller, Professor of Marketing & Advertising, connected the gala planning team with Prof. Tom Dunn, Chair of Communications Media, to explore the option of JPCatholic producing the event on-campus.

Dunn led a team of six students in producing the broadcast. Four students are enrolled in the TV Production II class, and an additional student and alumna joined from JPCatholic’s Live Broadcasting Club.

Broadcast Club

Dunn commented on the value of the hands-on experience: “It was a great opportunity for the students to be able to do something that was more than just a class assignment or a class project, that had very real-world, tangible benefits for a great organization – saving lives around the country.”

Carley Kormanis, a junior studying Film Production, has been involved with the Live Broadcasting Club since taking TV Production I last winter quarter. Now in TV Production II, she described how she and her classmates were well-prepared to deliver a professional event, but that there was still a lot of adrenaline involved: “There’s a real excitement level when you’re doing a live event. There’s no take two or take three - it’s more nerve-wracking than a traditional film shoot, but also a lot more exciting.”

Virtual Gala for Pro-Life Medical Clinic

Students joined Dunn in pre-production for the event on Week 1 of the Fall Quarter. They had the opportunity to build experience in designing lower thirds, preparing the set, and rehearsing camera set ups.

On the evening of the gala, Dunn directed the production, with three students working the cameras and three students working the TV Control Room adjacent to the soundstage. Brandon Kalinowski, a senior studying Film Producing and the leader of the Live Broadcasting Club, was Technical Director, overseeing on-screen graphics like the fundraising meter and the news ticker that displayed the names of new donors. “I encourage students to try live production,” he shared, “because it gives you a whole different perspective on editing as well as working with clients.”

The event was a success, with over 100 participants watching virtually on YouTube and YourStreamLive, and nearly $100,000 raised for the organization. “Of all the multi-camera productions we’ve done at the school,” Dunn said, “from a production standpoint it was the best one we’ve done.”

Virtual Gala for Pro-Life Medical Clinic

“Professor Dunn and his team of students were very professional, competent, and pleasant,” said Dr. Delgado. “The virtual gala was a masterpiece, in large part due to their great help.”

Ministry Operations Manager Vanessa Alves added: “Without a doubt, this event was not possible without the students. They were vital to the success of our first virtual Gala, and we look forward to working with them for future COLFS events!”

Building on the success of the gala, the TV Production II class is exploring additional events for later this quarter, and is already in contact with a potential client who attended the virtual event.

Photography Credit: Maria Bowman

View a recording of the virtual gala broadcast on YouTube

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