How To: Co-ordinate NaSTA Entries
This article contains tips on how to organise both the Best Broadcaster showreel and the NaSTA awards entries as a whole (mostly written by Kieron Moore, Head of Presentation 2013 - 2014, based on my reasonable success, but feel free to add to it).
Constitutionally (wow, that's a boring way to begin), the Head of Presentation and the Production Director should work together to co-ordinate NaSTA awards entries. In recent years, however, the Head of Presentation has taken charge (all the fault of Steven Perring). Hence this article may be a useful guide for future HoPs.
N.B. You don’t have to take any of this advice. After all, we won Best Broadcaster for “doing whatever the fuck [we] want”, so stick to that ethos.
- In the Christmas break, discuss with the Production Director and Station Director what to enter for everything. If you unanimously decide there’s an obvious entrant for something, great. Make shortlists for the others.
- Share what you’ve worked out with the station via email. Let them give their thoughts before the first station meeting discussing this.
- In the first couple of station meetings of term, hold discussions followed by votes for the undecided entries. Keep it democratic and open to opinions from all.
- Make sure you choose what the entrants are in the first two or three weeks of Spring term. Don’t be afraid to make station meetings go on for a while – it’s better than taking over a little bit of every station meeting until week 6, then realising you only have a fortnight to actually make the entries.
- Make sure producers know what's expected of them if their show has been nominated. If they aren't able to edit their own entry, find someone who can as soon as possible.
- Read the guidelines properly… Some awards need text submissions alongside the video, you may need to submit an image or short clip too – you don’t want to remember you have to do this ten minutes before the deadline.
- Consult with the computing team over technical specifications. Make sure you know what you’re doing well in advance of having to submit anything.
- Get someone who can use After Effects to create a title card template that can be placed in all the entries. Make it purple, because purple is the official colour of YSTV, because I say so.
- Keep a spreadsheet detailing where you’re at with all the awards. Google Docs is useful for sharing spreadsheets if you want someone else to be able to see and edit it. Here’s what mine looked like. (also, if any member of the computing team is reading this, the docs wiki image uploading page is fuct)
- Don’t leave things right up until the deadline before submitting. If your computer sets on fire (which, in YSTV, is more likely than not) and you miss the deadline, NaSTA won’t be sympathetic.
Throughout this section, I refer to the 2014 showreel, available here.
- Throughout the year (as in, starting from the week you’re elected as HoP), keep a document noting down EVERYTHING that is eligible for NaSTA. That’s every show uploaded to YSTV from the time last year’s submission window shut. Basically, elections result night onwards.
- As well as this, if you have an external hard drive, make a backup of all of these shows from Finished Shows. You’ll thank yourself for it later.
- You may also want to add notes as to good shots and quotes – quick, snappy sound bites which sum up shows are good.
- If a show includes lines you may want to use, but these lines have music in the background, ask the producer to export a version without the music (or do it yourself) and put this on your personal backup. This makes it possible to use these clips alongside different music.
- For an example of where I failed to do this, check the Guides to York clips at 1:33 - 1:41 – “York is… your home for the next 3 or 4 years” – there’s clearly another music track playing as well as the one I used. We’d lost all the original footage so couldn’t fix this.
- Get a crack team together before the start of Spring term. Four people is a good size. Track down YSTV’s best editors, invest in a leather coat and eye patch, and spring upon them like only Peter Eskdale can. Or send them a Facebook message.
- Have a meeting with this team early in term.
- List out all the shows you have and plan a structural order that makes sense – such as Freshers being the first section.
- Bunch shows together by genre (e.g. a section of Factual shows with one overriding song).
- Cool ways to link sections are good (like my transition from elections coverage to Union at 9:08).
- Also, decide how many seconds to allocate to each show. We gave 25 seconds to shows of a higher quality/quantity, going down to 10 seconds for shows that… weren’t like that. It doesn’t have to add up to exactly ten minutes, because timings are likely to change when editing has begun.
- Discuss what songs you’d like to include. Go for a mix of what’s ‘popular’ and actually good music. Don’t be afraid to stand up for your own tastes – I promised in my speech when running for HoP that I’d include the Rolling Stones, Bowie and Primal Scream in Best Broadcaster, and I stuck to my guns.
- Allocate sections to editors and give them a timeline of when to have a first draft of all their sections by. Write this all down in (another) spreadsheet. Here’s mine.
- Timetable when everything will be done by, and start early. You may hear horror stories from other stations or previous teams, but if you organise yourself, there is no need for any all-nighters. In the week leading up to the NaSTA deadlines, I was in YSTV every day, but the latest I left was half past midnight – and that included the Production Director and I having to re-edit several minutes of Best Broadcaster when the hard drive of a particular Student Activities Officer-elect died.
- Don’t stick rigidly to the amount of seconds allocated to each show – if a section feels like it needs to be a few seconds longer or shorter, let it be. Update this in the spreadsheet immediately so you can collate how long the finished showreel will probably be. Things can be adjusted in the final edit to make the whole showreel the right length, but at this point, concentrate on making each individual section as good as it can be.
- A show’s section of Best Broadcaster is NOT a collection of pretty shots randomly placed together. It is a narrative, a 20 second episode of that show with a beginning, middle, and end – and at least one sound bite for each. Thinking of it this way will undoubtedly improve how engaging your edit is. Take a couple of examples from the 2014 showreel:
- Fresh As (1:13 - 1:33):
- Beginning: Opens with the presenters realising they’re on camera and welcoming the viewer. “Are we on?” … “And welcome to Fresh As”
- Middle: Showing off the show’s content and interviewees. “We’ve been joined by people, haven’t we, Liz?”
- End: Chris and Grace sum up the show’s focus on student activities (where’s that presenter now?) and wish viewers a good freshers’ week. “You can get involved in comedy, you can get involved in juggling. Whatever you want, do it. Enjoy university and enjoy the rest of your freshers’ week.”
- Union (9:08 - 9:35):
- Beginning: Chloe Kennedy is introduced “Our brand new president, it’s Chloe Kennedy”
- Middle: The problems pile up for Chloe… “Just so you know, the editor of Vox will be here in a bit” “So, you’re a mug?”
- End: Chloe dejected, having had a disastrous first day. “Keep it up, Maggie”
- Fresh As (1:13 - 1:33):
- If you have a silly idea late in the game, it’s probably a very good idea, go for it. Starting the final section with Lloyd tied to a chair (9:35) was a last-minute brainwave.
- Book out all of the edit computers for a weekend before the deadline and politely request that members of the station not editing for NaSTA avoid coming in unless it’s urgent for the duration of this weekend, allowing you and your team to concentrate.
- If NaSTA deadlines clash with YUSU elections, you may have to make some compromises. But make sure elections producers are aware of where you’re at and know not to get in your way.
- Aim to get a full draft of the showreel edited in good advance (two or three days before the deadline is ideal – for me it was the night before because of the hard drive incident), and then send it out to everyone you know can edit well and who hasn’t seen it yet for feedback. Fresh eyes are incredibly useful and make sure you have time to act upon their feedback.
- Follow this Twitter account.