WIUP Football Diary, Week 7: Down Two, the Production Suffers
By David Lind
Executive Producer, WIUP-TV
The seventh in a series of weekly articles that go behind the scenes of the Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s TV production of the school’s 10-game football season. Lind offers insight into what it takes to produce college-football coverage in a cost-effective manner. In week seven, the depleted crew takes a step back.
The production of game seven of the season was not as good as that of the previous two. We had a few technical problems before the game and some miscues on opening tape and getting out of commercial breaks before play resumed on the field. We were without our normal end-zone camera operator, a cable puller, and our “fill-in” person. When you use college students as crew, there will be times when one has a course requirement on game day, but this week, two of mine did; the other couldn’t make the game due to transportation problems.
Being down two crew members did hurt our normal production process. I had to move our Web operator to the end-zone camera, and our sideline camera person did not have a cable puller. Not having a cable puller created some problems for the coin toss and post-game interviews but did not affect his shots on the sidelines. Our sideline cameraperson has really improved over this season to get in the right positions to enable him to get very good shots.
We now have three games left in the season. The crew knows the format, so I can only hope they have it in them to pull off a flawless production. They have been very close on two occasions, but I may be asking too much, since they all began at new production positions at the start of the season.
IUP-TV has been doing sports production since 1999. In 2002, I implemented the procedure of trying to have an equal number of freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors on the crew that would commit to four years for every Saturday during the football season. The freshmen and sophomores are hand-picked by me or referred by high schools or professors or made a reputation for themselves through their performance as production personnel during basketball season. Basketball season is where we weed out those who do not show a commitment or they realize that sports production is not for them. During basketball, the crew is not paid except for four “truck” experienced (seasoned) crew members from football, two for women’s games, and two for men’s games. The rest of the crew are volunteers.
Going back to our football budget
¾ our two long-distance games this season increased this year’s budget by $3,500. The C.W. Post game on
Long Island was the biggest expense, as I had planned two nights in motels, one for the night before the game and the other for stopping halfway en route home after the game. Having a crew of 10 requires five rooms plus a room for me. When you have a female crew member, then there is an added expense for another room.
Even though I had the funds for a two-night stay, the crew and I decided to drive back to
Indiana , PA, after the game; I would be the only one who would stop if I got too tired. (You have to remember, college students are night owls, and all wanted to get back to IUP.) After unloading and starting the duplication of game, I believe I got to my home around 1:30 a.m., which gave me Sunday to “recover” by mowing the lawn, doing other yard work, and spending time with my wife.
The saving from not staying the additional night will now go towards a new oil-pan cover and most likely a new muffler for the truck once the season is over. I also saved money on gas, which at the time was $3.99 a gallon. When the budget was originally submitted, predictions were that gas would be $4.50 a gallon. In the original budget, we estimated 3,368 miles for our away games at a cost of $2,525.99.
Meals for the crew for away games were estimated conservatively at $1,350, but, with the saving in the cost of gas, I increased the meal allowance, which is a good thing because college students are always hungry!
As for tolls, I hit that one, by chance, right on the button. I budgeted $100, of which $56 was just to get in and out of New York City. The rest was spent on Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls for two other away games.
I hope our budget gives you some insight into the costs involved for a 10-game season. Some of you may be asking what I am paid as executive producer for IUP football. I get compensatory time for games, which normally ends up being 150 hours, but the real reason I do this is that I thoroughly enjoy sports production and working with the students. The best reward is getting them close to a perfect production of a game. My ultimate goal now is for these students to work in sports productions that cover major college and professional sporting events.