That’s a Wrap!!

After almost one year, the Capstone documentary  process is over. Looking back on my year long journey, I could have never imagined after the planning process of One Swing Away from the Big Leagues how many times I switched up my story. Before the Documentary Showcase I planned on just featuring Jeff Clement and his story from top prospect to minor league veteran. But thanks to the people I surrounded myself with, they were able to help make this film a valuable learning experience and a success. I want to thank and acknowledge these people one final time.

I wouldn’t have been able to put my best efforts forward without the help of my consultants Ryan McNaughton and Denny Wolfe. Denny severed as more of my content and story advisor. Without his constructive feedback I don’t think this process would’ve turned out as well as it did. Meanwhile Ryan was able to take time out of his day to watch rough copies of my production several times while letting me know what he liked and what needed fixing. I want to thank them for helping me become a better writer, editor, and producer.

As a supervising producer Bradley Weaver was able to give me the necessary advice I needed to making this documentary process easier. As the teacher of my class he helped me with any and every problem either I or a classmate had during this process. Without his help I wouldn’t have been able to bring on my consultant Denny Wolfe from ESPN. Thanks to his recommendation I was able to receive feedback from an Emmy Award winning producer. He was also able to sit down with me and watch rough cuts when I couldn’t get a hold of my consultants. This is why I want to thank him for his role in One Swing Away From the Big Leagues.

Finally I want to thank my family, especially my brother who came to the stadiums and  helped me film. With out  him learning and understanding how to operate a DLSR camera, I wouldn’t have turned out such great scenic shots and compelling interviews. I also would like to thank my family for supporting me through not only this past year but all 21 years of my life. Without them I wouldn’t be such a proud producer of a documentary.


The Editing Process

The editing process of One Swing Away From the Big Leagues has finally arrived. After cementing down a story in which I’m more than happy with, I am finally able to sit down and begin using Adobe Premier to turn out the this documentary.

The first thing I did was transfer all the video files from my SD card to the computer, while beginning to log each individual video that I shot. Logging is the process of watching all of your clips and going through each one, titling them in order so you know what they are. The overall process took approximately 4 hours due to the fact that I had to sit and watch over 3 hours worth of footage and in turn I had to come up with clever names so that I didn’t confuse myself if their were similar shots.

After I was finished logging, I moved onto the process of piecing down the clips in a way that fitted the story I had on paper. But the funny thing was I actually recreated the intro 3 separate times before coming to the one in which both my consultants and I thought would help gain viewers attention.

From their it was all about piecing together the heart of my story. I had little trouble doing so because I already knew what I wanted the audience to gain coming away from the film. The biggest hiccup occurred trying to contact Major League Baseball. I should have gave my self more time to acquire the rights to some of the footage in which I needed, but luckily I think I’m going to be able to make due without it.

As of right now I’m in the final stages of adding titles/graphics to film while adding music in the background of certain spots. For music I was able to contact a good buddy of mine, Dan Swank who graciously gave permission to use any of the songs from his bands Til’ Fridays first album.

I definitely think I’m going to be able to put together exactly what I intended for the showcase Dec 7th. But for now One Swing Away From the Big Leagues is looking to have an estimated run time of 12 minutes.

Feedback is Key to Success

Not only have I been able to gain advice from Denny Wolfe, but I was able to receive some feedback from Ryan McNaughton. As I explained in a previous post Ryan has loads of professional experience in the world broadcasting even though he’s currently a Career Counselor at Kent State University. I was able to get Ryan up to date on my documentary One Swing Away from the Big Leagues. Ryan was able to provide his expert opinion on some of the potential interview bites in which I plan on using in the film. 

After watching these unedited bites Ryan brought up a very good point in the overall sequence in which I planed on having right after the title screen. I originally wanted to show Red Wings manager giving a bite about minor league baseball and the overall anatomy behind it. Ryan was able to point out that this bite rambled on towards the end as well as it went to far in depth as a viewer could easily be confused on the point I was trying to get across.

With this advice I was able to pick out an even better bite to show after the title screen and I think I’ll be better off in the long run because of it. The feedback I got from Ryan McNaughton  is truly helpful as it definitely would be a whole lot harder keeping my story on track without his help. I feel that this project will be better because of the help Ryan McNaughton and Denny Wolfe have provided me so far as well as the advice their going to give me down the road.

Feedback from Mr. Wolfe

In a previous installment of this bog I shared with you that I brought ESPN features producer Denny Wolfe on board as a consultant for this documentary. I recently was able to speak to Denny about the progress in which this film has made, while showing a rough intro for One Swing Away From the Big Leagues.  Denny was able to offer suggestions/improvements based on the progress in which I had made since the last time we spoke.

He expressed great interest in the story in which I’m trying to form, as he had me create a 1-line sentence  of what I wanted the audience to learn from the film. The sentence I came up with was: When growing up kids playing in little league dream of stepping onto a MLB field, not everyone is able to live this dream but for the select few there paths are vastly different as each player has their own set of expectations set on them by the teams who draft them. Denny was happy with the sentence in which I created and reminded me not to deviate from it when piecing the documentary together or else the film will lose focus.

Meanwhile the biggest criticism so far from Denny was the way I initially put together the introduction. He was able to help me think more cinematically because the way I had my introduction formed at first had no real build up to the overall story. With his advice I was able re-create the intro where I’m showing more scenic shots of a Red Wings game that helps distinguish what makes minor league baseball so different from the majors.

Lights Camera Action!!


The first public showing of this year long documentary process has finally been set in stone. On December 7, 2013 at 1:00 P.M, in Mueller Theater, the Westminster College broadcasting department will present this year’s senior capstone documentaries.

The plan is to invite both my family and friends to show off all the hard work that has taken place in the past year. It is also my goal to invite both my consultants Ryan McNaughton and Denny Wolfe in order to recognize them for their roles in the process. One Swing Away from the Big Leagues will really the 16-50  male demographic as these sports lovers will be enamored with how many different paths their truly are to the MLB. As a whole this documentary will give sports junkies an unseen look at how not only do the top prospects of baseball organizations make it to the show, but so do the less talented gritty players as their hard work and determination will be front and center.

The other documentaries that will be seen during the 1:00 P.M. were created by fellow senior broadcast communications students at Westminster College. Josh Dunn will be showing his work The Wright Stuff: From Crutches to Catches  which follows a 5th year senior football player who is looking to fight his way back on to the football field after a career shattering injury after the 2012 season. Joe Ligo will present The Unfortunate History of the AMC Pacer, which chronicles the history of one of the most infamous vehicles in the American motor industry.

Mueller Theater will be the place to be December 7th at Westminster College as many students including myself will be featuring a year’s worth of hard work and determination.

Inspirational Faculty Member

Throughout my 4 years here at Westminster, I have taken classes that have been very informative and have taught numerous lessons not just on the subject, but in life in general as well.  It was actually one of my first ever classes taken here at Westminster in which has impacted my college career the most and quite frankly changed my way of thinking.

This class was none other then Inquiry 101, a class in which is required for you to take during your freshman year at Westminster College. The teacher in which taught my class was none other then Garry Lilly. Dr. Lilly was the chair of the department of Political Science and Sociology and taught many classes during his time at Westminster starting in 1977. During the class in which I had with him, we had to read a bunch of short stories in which at times were very boring as well as  hard to understand the meaning of them. There were day’s in which I can admit that I didn’t read for class, and Dr. Lilly took the time out of his day to sit down with me and inform me that this type work ethic wouldn’t survive at Westminster College but I wouldn’t be able succeed in the real world as well. So early on in my college career I changed my ways of coasting through classes like the way I did in high school, and the results have shown, as I’ve been able to maintain a 3.1 GPA at Westminster and become a student which is proud of his work.

Without a strong wok ethic I truly believe that I wouldn’t have made as far as I have in this documentary process. Instead of coasting through Capstone, I think I have challenged myself to make the best documentary possible as well as one that is well-produced and well written. It’s one of my main goals to make something in which I’m proud of, as well as a documentary in which the community around me is proud of.

Unfortunately Westminster lost one of it’s most influential professors in the Spring of 2013 when Dr. Lilly decided to retire. I would like to thank him for making an impact on my journey at Westminster, as well as the many other students who’s eyes have been opened up by the lessons and messages in which Garry Lilly shared with his classes over the years.



Civic Engagement

One of the main goals during the documentary process that was required by the Drinko Center at Westminster College has the students connect their Capstone project which is this documentary to civic engagement. The definition of civic engagement is demonstrating a commitment to lifelong learning and acquiring skills for your career while providing a responsible service to the community.

The opportunity to demonstrate civic engagement was being able to make a documentary for my hometown of Rochester, New York. Not many people are aware of how long the minor league baseball team the Red Wings have been around for. Dating back to 1899 the Rochester Red Wings have been a staple in the community. As a child and baseball enthusiast who grew up in the city of Rochester, the Red Wings have always been there to root for as long as I remember. It is my goal for this production to show the appreciation in which I have for the Red Wings. As well as making  something in which my community is proud of while preserving the history in which the Red Wings have had.

After the completion of this project at the end of November I’m going to be entering the final product into the Rochester Film Festival in order to be judged. This will stand to be a great opportunity to show my hard work to the community in which I grew up in.


The Westminster Way

At Westminster College and unlike other big universities the  students can easily become engaged in the real world.  The students who attend Westminster  are able to be engaged with the community through internships, and capstone on the way to experiencing real world situations.  While filming this documentary, I have gained skills that could not be taught in the classroom.

One Swing Away from the Big Leagues will capture a special piece of the city of Rochester’s history. The Rochester Red Wings are a Triple-A baseball team that was founded in 1899 and in which currently plays in the International League. Through the research and interviews I have conducted for this production, my goal will be to preserve the organizations rich history and the amount of grit and determination it takes to be an aspiring professional baseball player.

This finished project will help open doors into the Red Wings organization for possible job opportunities in the future. As well as the networking in which I have done with my advisor Denny Wolf will hopefully make the transition from going to college to working in the Sports Broadcasting Industry go as smoothly as possible.

Westminster has allowed my passion for the Sports Broadcasting Industry to grow.  With Westminster College being a liberal arts school, it has given me the the tools both inside and outside of the classroom to be more then successful in career exploration.  I believe that when I graduate from Westminster College in May 2014 I will be ready for what the world throws at me, and hopefully success will follow in my future endeavors.

A Professional Opinion Pt. 2

For my second consultant, I needed someone else who had real world broadcasting experience to go along with Denny Wolfe. That someone who is going to be a helping hand in all phases of One Swing Away From the Big Leagues, his name is Ryan McNaughton.

Ryan McNaughton and I met last year when he was an adjunct professor at Westminster College.  Upon graduating from Syracuse University Ryan worked as a sports reporter in upstate New York area. Although he is currently a Career Counselor at Kent State University, Ryan is still able to do Freelance broadcast work with Sportstime Ohio.

With his knowledge and contacts in the Rochester area Ryan has/is able to use his expertise and experiences to help with the technical side of my production.  His role will be more involved with the editing, script writing, and story telling as I will be remaining in touch with him throughout this year long project.  With his help and  experience in the newsroom I plan on making sure I’m able to convey  a story in which will keep viewers eyes glued to the television.

I want to once again take time to thank Ryan McNaughton for coming on board as a consultant for this documentary, and I look forward to working with him more down the road.


A Professional Opinion

For One Swing Away From the Big Leagues, I have chosen two consultants to help me along this journey of a documentary production.  Along the way they will be to offering  criticism as well as expert input on what needs to be included in order to convey the best possible story.  So in this blog and the following, I will introduce you to my consultants and how they have/will impact the success of my documentary.

My first consultant is Denny Wolfe.  Denny is an alumni of Westminster College and graduated with a degree in Broadcast Communications in ’97. He currently works as a Feature Producer at ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut.

There have been many Broadcast Communications students who graduated from the small college of Westminster and have made it in Broadcasting business. But not many can say they work for the cable television sports network ESPN. Denny Wolfe is a three-time National Sports Emmy Award winner, while he has also earned 10 Emmy nominations for his work. Denny is known for being an excellent writer and story teller as well as someone who will push you past your limits in order to get the best.

I chose Denny for this project knowing he is going to be someone who is  going to view my work with close scrutiny and honest feedback. He knows what it takes to succeed and I hope to make the best possible documentary. As well as I hope to become a better overall producer with his help along the way.

I want to thank Denny for his willingness to take part in this year long journey and the advice/criticisms so far.