Producing a GNAC Championship
On February 27, 2016, the Saint Joseph's College Women's Basketball team faced Emmanuel College in the Greater Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) Championship.
Now this is nerve-wracking enough, whether you are a player or a fan. But it is also nerve-wracking for another group of people: the production team. Ranging from stat guys to cameramen, the production crew works to create a flawless broadcast of each game, with a live audience to please. Often times successes of a production team can go unnoticed to the public, while the mistakes are almost unforgivable.
It’s a lose-lose situation. But I love doing it anyway.
With Saint Joseph’s being such a small school, our usual broadcast audience is usually about 50-100 people. Small audiences like these give our team a little breathing room. It gives us time to fix any mistakes that might occur and learn from them in order to perfect our future broadcasts. But when you have an audience of 400 viewers anxiously awaiting the next GNAC Champion, there is no room for errors.
And when you are working as the producer, all eyes are on you.
My job as the producer is to make sure our broadcast runs smoothly. For the GNAC Championship, this involves setting up, organizing the pre-game, half-time, and post-game shows with our hosts, making sure our broadcast runs smoothly throughout the game, and breaking down. We do make sure to have our Sports Information Director easily accessible during the game in case problems arise that the students on the production team cannot fix. Our largest problem is usually a lack of Internet in the gym and that our broadcasting system, Stretch Internet, runs entirely on WIFI. So if for some reason we lose the connection, we lose our broadcast.
Our women’s team was on top of the standings at the end of the regular season, meaning we would host every game throughout the tournament. This gave our production team a lot of practice in a more high-pressure environment. It also allowed us to try new aspects of broadcasting, such as adding three talk shows throughout the broadcast: pre-game, half-time, and post-game show. We have a Sports Broadcasting Intern who usually does our play-by-play, but of course, for the Championship, we had to raise the stakes.
Here is where we add Pam Roecker to the mix. Roecker, who served as the Director of Athletics at Emmanuel College for 11 years, has been seen on Regional and National Television as a basketball analyst. She has been a commentator in many various divisions and leagues, and she lent her talents to us during the GNAC Championship. It was such an honor to have worked with a field professional and I hope to work with her again someday.
Despite the fact that I mounted our two cameras on their tripods backwards during set up (this helped to ease the tension of the crew), our game-day production went extremely smooth. The camerawork was great, the play-by-play was professional, the Internet cooperated, and the scoreboard didn’t lag.
AND WE WON THE GNAC CHAMPIONSHIP.
I was extremely proud of our production team for working together to accomplish such a difficult task. For without the help of the entire crew, we wouldn’t have had such a successful broadcast. It is pretty amazing how talented our student workers are, as a lot of bigger universities cannot put on a show they way Saint Joe’s can.
It was truly a great day to be a Monk.
Shouout to such an awesome crew: Adam Brooks, Cole Milazzo, Tim Beaudette, Pam Roecker, Alex Gutierrez, and Brett O'Kelly