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Saint Vincent College Faculty Blog

My Year in Video

Posted by David Safin on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 @ 16:06 PM
Last year, I did a recap of my year in video, and I see no reason why I shouldn't do it again. Being that I work in academia, a year for me begins when an academic year ends, so for the purposes of this blog, I will be recapping videos that I made from July 2012 until now. 

In September of 2009, we hosted internationally-acclaimed poet Jose Kozer, and in one of his talks, he said that he "measures his life in poems."  That makes me think I should start measuring my life in videos. You'll start to see why as you progress through the blog.

I will begin with a video that concluded a series begun the previous year, and that was actor Phillip Winters discussing his role as Art Rooney, Sr. in our summer theatre's production of The Chief.  

The next video I'd like to highlight also has a Steelers theme to it. It was the video that played on the big screen at Heinz Field during all home games. This ranks as one of the coolest videos I have ever had the honor making, especially when I saw it play at a Steelers pre-season game.

Once the semester begins, I start documenting many of the campus events that take place, such as...
  • Freshmen Move-In Day
  • Service to the Community Day
  • Homecoming
  • Founders' Day
  • December Commencement 

This brings me to the winter of 2012-13, which goes down as one of the most productive and rewarding of my entire video-producing career (professionally and personally).

It begins with a road trip to York, PA, to report on our Wimmer Scholarship Recipient.

All the while, I was producing this informational video about our Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice (DNAP).

And finally, Fire and Ice: The Saint Vincent Fire of 1963. I can say with all humility that this is the video I will most be remembered for. It was a daunting project that involved collaboration of the highest level with Jerome Oetgen, Albert Oetgen, Jordan Hainsey and Kim Metzgar. 

And as I was wrapping production on the fire documentary, I began production on my thesis film for my Master of Fine Arts degree from Chatham University - The Birthday Present.  

On evenings and weekends in February and March, I worked diligently on my thesis, while at work, I continued producing videos for...
  • Threshold Lecture
  • Academic Conference
  • Honors Convocation
  • Commencement
  • Summer Theatre
Even as I write this, I cannot believe how fast this year went by, and how many videos I have made.

Because the end product of my work lives on the internet, there is no physical product that I can stack on a shelf, so it is a blog like this that lets me document what I have done. 

In putting them all in one place like this, I hope all who helped me can appreciate how much they have done as well. 

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Topics: college, communication, digital media, filmmaking, degrees in communication, communication degrees, video, videos, screenwriting, commencement

An Introduction to Screenwriting | The Steeltown Writers' Pitch

Posted by David Safin on Mon, Mar 25, 2013 @ 10:03 AM
Saturday, March 23rd was the Steeltown Film Factory Writers' Pitch. As their website indicates, Steeltown is "a nationally recognized screenwriting/filmmaking competition which strives to locate and connect emerging talent with top industry professionals."

The Writers' Pitch is the first of three events that culminate with the awarding of up to $30,000 in funding for one or more of these scripts.

I was fortunate to be a presenter last year, which was a very exciting and nerve-wracking experience. And even though the script I submitted this year was not selected, I will admit, it was a far more relaxing experience to just be in the audience.

(The image above is from last year's presentation. The presenter is Nathan Hollabaugh, who recently wrapped production on the film based on the script he pitched. I am hidden behind the curtain stage right.)

Not being selected is always disappointing, but this year, it was a bit of relief since I don't know how prepared I could have been for the pitch because I am currently wrapping production on the script I submitted last year: The Birthday Present.

My experience in the audience was relaxed, but also a bit on the surreal side. Worlds were colliding as I sat in between classmates from Chatham and a Communication student from here at Saint Vincent. Also in the crowd was Randy Kovitz, a professor of mine at Chatham, and Kris Veenis, a fellow Bearcat videographer. I had a hard time figuring out who I was - student, teacher, classmate, colleague, writer, filmmaker.

And that was the best part of the experience; the coming together of all of these worlds for the common purpose of a mutual love of filmmaking. 

Anna, the student who made the trip out with me, hopes to enter next year, and used the experience to learn how to better craft her ideas into a script. My hope is that next year, I will be there with more students watching her give her pitch. 

The Producers' Pitch is on April 20th, and I am looking forward to it because they will be screening a trailer for my film! Hope to see you all there.

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Topics: communication, digital media, filmmaking, media, media studies, screenwriting, Pittsburgh

About the Authors

Michelle Gil-Montero is an associate professor of English and director of creative writing at Saint Vincent College. She runs the visiting writers series on campus, oversees the student literary magazine, and serves as guru to aspiring poets on campus. She received her MFA from the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop in 2007, and she has been on the Saint Vincent faculty since that year. She is an active poet and literary translator from Spanish. She is spending part of the 2016-17 school year travelling to Argentina on a Howard Foundation fellowship and Fulbright grant. 

Dr. John J. Smetanka has been a member of the full-time faculty since 1997 and currently serves as the Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean of Saint Vincent College, a position he has held since January 2008. Dr. Smetanka has taught courses in Physics, Astronomy, Chemistry and Geology as well as interdisciplinary seminars. He has published scientific research articles in physics and astrophysics journals, numerous conference proceedings and also works in science education reform and the interaction between science, technology and theology.

Jim Kellam is an associate professor of biology at Saint Vincent College and our resident ornithologist. He received his Ph.D. from Purdue University in 2003, and is taking this semester as a sabbatical. What does that mean? He'll explain in his blog posts.

Dr. Michael J. Urick is Graduate Director of the Master of Science in Management: Operational Excellence program, and Associate Professor of Management and Operational Excellence at the Alex G. McKenna School of Business, Economics, and Government. Dr. Urick teaches courses related to organizational behavior, human resources, culture, leadership, diversity, conflict, supply chain, operations and research methods. Professionally, Urick serves on the board of the Institute for Supply Management (Pittsburgh) and belongs to the Society for Human Resource Management and APICS. For fun, Urick enjoys music and, since 1998, has led and performed with Neon Swing X-perience, a jazz band that has released multiple albums and toured portions of the US. He enjoys watching movies, is an avid reader of fantasy and science fiction, and also likes to fence.

David Safin, C'00, has been a lecturer in the communication department since the Fall of 2003, and has served in a variety of administrative roles since the summer of 2004. Currently, he teaches multimedia in the communication department as an assistant professor. 

Dr. Michael Krom received his Doctorate in philosophy at Emory University in 2007 and is currently the chair of the philosophy department at Saint Vincent. He has authored a book on religion and politics and continues to publish works in Catholic moral and political thought. Dr. Krom also directs the Faith and Reason summer program every summer. 

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