ComWire News from the IWU Division of Communication & Theatre Tue, 08 Mar 2016 01:31:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Studio Production “Kashed In” on National TV Award Tue, 08 Mar 2016 01:31:58 +0000 Sitcom audience

A semester long project for IWU’s 2015 Studio Production class paid off twice – once in a completed sitcom aired on WIWU-TV and then again several months later, winning Best Comedy at the College Broadcaster’s Inc. (CBI) National Student Production Awards.

The show, “Kashed In” was an original 30 minute program, developed, written, staged and produced by the class in front of a live, studio audience, and then edited for broadcast.

AwardThis marks the first time an IWUCom program has won at the national level of CBI. Finalists in the TV Comedy category included programs from Ithaca College, Loyola Marymount and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

“I knew this was a good production and a great script,” said Dr. Randall E. King, class instructor.

“But I think we were all a little surprised to win among such great competition, so much so that we didn’t have anyone at the ceremony in Minneapolis in October to pick it up,” King said.

No worries, since CBI put the award and certificates for each student in the mail. The studio production class is offered every other spring semester in the Division of Communication & Theatre and class members choose the production type.

Kash Gets Mothered

Kash and Mom discuss his new apartment.

Previous classes produced late night talk shows, a sketch comedy, and a sitcom the first time the course was offered in 2009. This class also had an option to travel to Los Angeles during spring break, attending studio tapings and meeting with entertainment industry professionals.

After choosing the show type, the class divided into 3 teams: Producers, Design and Production.

These teams went about creating the script, building sets, auditioning actors, shooting and editing pre-produced video roll-ins and then rehearsing and blocking cameras right up to the night the audience was invited in.

The laughs you can hear on the final show are real, and each scene was performed in sequence, just as it’s done in a Hollywood, multi-camera sitcom.

Fresh Brew Set

The coffee shop set in Studio B

At the end of 14 weeks, the payoff was a complete, original television show and an experience unlike most in college since the instructor required the class to direct itself through every stage.

“It’s not every day you gather together and share ideas with other creative classmates you sit next to every week,” said producer Shaelie Clark.

We all walked away with something we could be proud of,” Clark said.

Kashed-smStudio Production Class 2015: Zach Allen, Michael Arn, Shaelie Clark, Ryan Flaherty, Brianna Garr, Sean Huncherick, Nic Kursonis, Seth Lawrence, Peter Mercer, Brandon Rees, Tim Tedeschi, Kyle Uitermarkt, Jenn VanRavenswaay, Hannah Whelchel.

Watch behind the scenes of “Kashed In”:

Watch the finished production of “Kashed In”:



IWUCom Gets Closer to Hollywood Fri, 31 Jul 2015 17:11:39 +0000 Sign-lgIndiana Wesleyan University students gained stronger ties to the entertainment industry in 2014-15 with a new film concentration in the Media Communication major, a class visit to Hollywood studios, and greater participation in the Los Angeles Film Studies Center (LAFSC) semester-abroad program.

The new film concentration allows Media Com majors students to count all LAFSC credits towards their plans of study. LAFSC is open to all students in the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities and several IWU Communication alumni are still working in Hollywood after their LAFSC semester.

Emily Walker's Team on location

LAFSC students work on group film project

Emily Walker, Media Communication and Theatre major (December, 2014) attended LAFSC her last semester at IWU. She spent the fall of 2014 taking film production and screenwriting classes at the center and most of her weekends and evenings working on film projects. The program also includes a 20 hour per week internship, which Walker completed at Alcon Entertainment.

“You’re really doing what people do in the industry,” Walker said. “Being out here for the semester, I feel like I have gotten my hands into so many more things that I would not have been able to touch if I had just moved out here (without LAFSC).”

Rebecca Ver Straten-McSparran, LAFSC Director and Professor of Film, sees the program as a great vocational extension of what communication students receive at their home schools.

“We are the school’s program,” Ver Stratten-McSparran said. “So if you’re in high school and you’re thinking, ‘I really want to do film,’ find the school that you really want to study in and explore the best of their programs…and then when you’re a senior and you think this is the place you really want to be, come out to LAFSC…”

LAFSC Students hear from Christian professional working in Hollywood

LAFSC students hear from Christian professionals

LAFSC faculty also build strong ties between student’s faith and the film industry through classes focused on integration and networking with Christians in the industry.

“I would say, very conservatively, there are probably 10,000 Christians at all different levels in Hollywood…it’s a terribly exciting time to be here,” Ver Straten-McSparran said.

With the concentration, the IWU Communication & Theatre Division faculty hope more students will consider LAFSC, particularly in their senior year.

“We make sure every student has a strong foundation in media storytelling through our television, radio and digital outlets on campus,” said Randall E. King, Professor of Communication and Director of Broadcast Media.

“LAFSC is that extra edge. If you think you want to work on the entertainment side, you should consider going there, learning from the pros and immersing yourself in that filmmaking culture,” King said.

Watch student filmmakers at work at LAFSC:

One other bridge to Hollywood came during spring break, 2015, as students from Studio Production class spent 4 days in Hollywood touring studios and production facilities, including LAFSC, watching show tapings such as Conan and Jeopardy and meeting Christian professionals working in Hollywood.

They brought much of that knowledge back for their class project, the second half of the semester  – an original situation comedy, produced at the WIWU-TV studios.

Click to view slideshow.

The film concentration and IWU production classes  help round out the media com experience.

“God gives our students many different creative gifts that could be used in news, sports, film or entertainment media. We want them to have every opportunity to discover and develop those gifts, and for some that may ultimately mean working in Hollywood,” said King.

“Wherever they go, the fundamentals they learn at IWU will take them to some very exciting places.”

TV Truck Stokes Sports Coverage Fri, 14 Nov 2014 19:21:47 +0000

Watch how IWU media communication students are enjoying the new WIWU-TV mobile production truck on many types of production shoots this fall, including increased coverage of area and university sports.

Zach rules sideline

Zach Allen (Jr, Huntington,IN) on sideline for WIWU-TV

In October, WIWU-TV finished six weeks of Grant County high school football broadcasts, a new experience for station staff and students, and the areas’ first televised football coverage of football in nearly 10 years.

Now the station transitions into 2-3 live IWU basketball games every week using the remote truck, along with other musical, chapel and special events on and off campus.

Bri on cam

Brianna Garr (Fr, Marion, IN) on camera for WIWU-TV

WIWU-TV produces over 225 hours of community programming each year with students filling major roles including show producing, on-air announcing and key technical support roles. This video showcases some of the fun and energy of sports broadcasting on the go.

Convergent Journalism Gets COnnected through Digital News Fri, 31 Oct 2014 16:21:08 +0000 GrantCO launch party

Journalism students gather in the IWUCom digital newsroom for the launch of

(By Jillian Fellows, reprinted courtesy Chronicle-Tribune, Marion, IN)

Indiana Wesleyan University journalism students have launched a new digital platform to report on breaking news and community events. Grant is designed to give students real reporting experience while offering Grant County residents a new source for news.

“This is the second time we’ve had this as a class. It was very different two years ago and I did not teach it. When we rebranded our major a few years ago as convergent journalism, part of what we said we wanted to do was get really serious about what convergence means and to have a class that would require you to use a variety of multimedia skills,” said Dr. Randall E. King, professor of communication and director of broadcast media at IWU. “What made the most sense to me was really having a digital platform, because that’s the place where you put audio, video, text and photo together.”

The website launched on Tuesday, October 28 and already has a multitude of stories up and running, with several more planned over the next few days.

“We think there’s a need in this community for a digital news website,” King said. “The Chronicle does what it does and the radio stations do what they do but really both of those sources are sort of tied to their mainstay, whether it be print or radio, and online is not as much of a focus. We thought that this community would respond to a digital news site that could maybe do things like breaking news and multimedia and social media and find its own niche. It would be another media outlet that turns to the community.”


Dr. Randall E. King teaches students to shoot video on an iPhone. (photo courtesy Chronicle-Tribune)

So far, the students have reported on school board meetings and Halloween safety tips among other topics.

“We just launched our new website this week and so it’s really exciting. We’ve been out in the community doing all types of stories, some more news and some more features,” said junior Shaelie Clark. “We have a lot of content already on the website but it’s growing every day, I think we posted a story every day this week so it’s been really exciting,”

Clark, who is studying media communication, said the class is useful because of the reporting and newsroom experience.

“Being a student that wants to go into this field, this is so exciting for me because I actually get to go out and learn how to be a true journalist,” she said. “It’s not just on campus stories, it’s learning how to deal with the police and the fire department and making calls. I feel like I’m going to be better prepared when I go out into the workforce when I graduate because this gave me a real world experience, which I think is great.”

Providing real world experience for students while they are still in school is one of the reasons why this class was created. King said it helps, “take it out of the theoretical.” Part of that experience is a rotating schedule of working in the newsrooms, listening to the police scanner and covering breaking news if necessary.

“The best part would probably be how on Tuesday night I got to work office hours at our hub and it was nice seeing what journalists in the real world do and then I was able to cover an event and then post it on our website, ‘said sophomore Lauren Carpenter. “It’s been cool being able to integrate all of the different aspects of journalism into one website and one news team. This week we’ve been really focused on school board meetings and the election. For next week, we’ll actually be covering some of the things happening on election night.”

Carpenter, who is studying convergent journalism, said that the class is helping her get a better feel for the local community.

“I hope to learn more about the community,” she said. “I don’t know too much about Grant County, since I’m not here from here, and in this class I have learned more about the community and the different schools and leaders in the county. With this class I can continue to do that and that will help me in my job and career after college, just knowing how to reach out, find stories and communicate people outside of my comfort zone.”

“We want our students to be engaged in news gathering and storytelling that takes them out into the community. There is something about having to do it in a community that advances your learning. We wanted our students to have that experience while they are here,” King said. “Although you can never feel totally ready to launch an operation like this, we thought this class could be the one to do it and put it into the curriculum that this class would not only learn all the skills, but would actually do a real life new site.”

King added, “One of the things that is clear to me in university education is it is very difficult to replicate the environment of a daily newsroom. This doesn’t totally get us there but it gets us a little closer to that.”

The digital news site can be found at, with new content planned for every week.

“The Guys” Connects IWU Stage with Community Wed, 08 Oct 2014 01:59:04 +0000 IWU Actors

IWU actors portray 9/11 aftermath

Campus and community came together at IWU’s Blackbox Theatre in September around a tribute to men and women who give their lives to save others. The play was “The Guys”, based on the memories of a real fire captain in New York City who lost people in his unit responding to the 9/11 tragedy.

The IWU Theatre Guild invited Grant County first responders to a free preview showing at the opening, simply as a tribute to their work.

Marisa Hinderaker attended the special performance and talked to some local firefighters in this feature story for Crossroads on WIWU-TV:

WIWU-TV Rolls New Mobile Truck Sun, 21 Sep 2014 19:37:59 +0000 Elder-smMedia Communication students returning to IWU in fall 2014 were greeted by a welcome sight in the Elder Hall parking lot – the new WIWU-TV mobile video production truck.

Before classes even started, the students joined TV station staff and faculty on Labor Day weekend at the Marion Fly-In/Cruise-In, learning production on-the-go with a self-contained, TV studio on wheels.

WIWU-TV staff members have dreamed and prayed about a production truck since the station went on the air nearly two decades ago.

For all of those years, every mobile production was handled by transporting or literally pushing equipment racks across campus to set up makeshift control rooms in venues such as Luckey Arena, the Phillippe Performing Arts Center and the Chapel-Auditorium.

Control room

WIWU-TV staff works football game from the mobile control room

“Some years I tried counting how many times we had to move the gear but usually once I hit 200 times then I even lost interest in counting,” said Paul Crisp, current station manager who was a student in those early years.

“Through snow, heat, broken truck lifts and broken elevators, we still managed to do the work…but it was never a real joy in that moving process,” Crisp said.

The truck dream finally got rolling in fall 2012 when then President Dr. Henry Smith authorized IWU facilities to purchase a used vehicle which could be adapted for television production. The vehicle was delivered later that year to Shook Mobile Technology in Texas to build a new TV control room “box” on top of the chassis, customized for WIWU-TV needs.

The process was delayed several months later when the station accepted an offer to rent the truck to another Shook client in exchange for infrastructure upgrades that improved the vehicle at no additional cost. Once delivered to campus in spring 2014, the TV staff spent the summer months engineering the many cables, switches and routing systems that make it operational.

Though it took two years from project inception, the upgrades, improved wiring, and new control room equipment significantly enhanced the end product. When students and visitors look inside, they see the result – a first-rate mobile facility, equipped for a variety of TV productions and a professional learning laboratory for students in media production.

Click to view slideshow.

“Every time I get behind the wheel of our mobile production truck it puts a smile in my face,” said Garrett Matney, WIWU-TV Promotions Manager who worked on much of the internal engineering.

“I know when I turn that key and put it in gear, the day ahead is going to be full of excitement…from seeing our students and staff put on a top level production, from serving the wonderful community we live in, and from watching our students learn real world practices,” Matney said.


On location at the Marion Fly-In/Cruise-In

Now that going mobile is not just a dream, WIWU-TV has the added benefit of producing television programs off-campus throughout the Grant County community. The truck debuted at the Fly-In/Cruise-In with segments for the newsmagazine Crossroads.

In September the station added its first ever local high school football games and it’s now planning community concerts, events and selected IWU basketball away games.

“WIWU-TV is always focused on two things, serving our community audience and increasing educational opportunities for our communication students, so this is a win on both counts,” said Dr. Randall E. King, Professor and Director of Broadcast Media.

“Besides, if you love TV control rooms like most of us do, you geek out just a little looking at everything we were able to pack into this space and you have to admit, this is really cool. Just think what it’s going to mean for our students who get to learn here, ” King said.


Football at Eastbrook High School, Marion, IN.

That “new car smell” and cool factor may linger just a little while longer for the TV staff and faculty, but as they use the truck for years to come, the long-term benefits will go on.

Communication students now have a new way to extend their media skills, giving voice to stories, from a new set of wheels.

(Visit the WIWU-TV Facilities page for more information and photos)

Intern Brings Com Touch to High Tech Fri, 19 Sep 2014 16:46:15 +0000 Julie Kamp at Bluebridge DigitalWhat’s a nice Strategic Communication major like Julie Kamp doing in the high tech world of coders and apps? Answer: communicating, of course.

Kamp (Sr., Frankfort, IL) spent the summer of 2014 interning at Bluebridge Digital, an Indianapolis startup company founded in 2012 by IWU alumnus Santiago Jamarillo. Bluebridge builds mobile smartphone apps for colleges, churches, tourism companies and other businesses throughout the U.S. Since starting in 2012, the company has grown to more then 22 full-time employees, with over 100 clients and customized apps created and serviced.

Intern Pod

The intern “pod” at Bluebridge Digital

Kamp, also IWU’s PRSSA president for 2014-15, joined Bluebridge early in the summer and was soon supervising a team of interns through research projects, presentations and various PR strategies at special events and product announcements.

“I knew about her background, leading PRSSA, jumping headfirst into everything,” Jamarillo said. “I knew she’d make a responsible sort of go to person…and knew once something gets assigned to her she’d get it done and done well.”

Kamp’s “go to” reputation also helped in a field that was new territory for her, just like her previous internship at an advertising firm servicing automotive dealers.

“I know nothing about cars and nothing about technology and these have been my two internships,” Kamp said. “It’s fun getting thrown into a new world of jargon and lingo….I did a lot of research on the company before I got helps not being afraid to talk to others.”

Bluebridge LogoShe said it also helped learning where her communication skills fit into this different world. Sometimes it came through writing news releases in a new, conversational style. Other times it was exhaustive research or giving multiple group presentations for company leaders.

Kamp said her communication skills from the classroom paid off in the workplace, even doing many things, such as group projects, students think they will never have to do again in the professional world.

Jamarillo praised Kamp’s leadership ability and even offered to extend her internship through the fall, which she declined because of on-campus responsibilities. He said despite all the technology at a software company, good communication is “baked in” to how they do business as they try to help clients use the apps effectively.

“We’re helping our clients communicate to their audiences…we’re trying to learn what their goals are. What message do you want to send?…then let us help you give you the technology that you need, Jamarillo said.

“If we’ve done a good job with our communication, PR, and marketing , then (potential clients) have been sort of already converted to wanting a mobile app…it’s just a matter of them wanting us,” he said.


A coder’s world, building smartphone apps at Bluebridge

Kamp said the learning curve came easier with the open team atmosphere at Bluebridge and she was able to see the potential value of communication specialists in a startup company.

“(I saw) how communication fits into this big world of marketing and business and all the things I can use communication skills for that might not all fit under the communication position but still fit into this broad role of communicating to our audiences, ” Kamp said.


Back from a New York Groove Thu, 21 Aug 2014 12:27:45 +0000 Fiebig-smDr. Greg Fiebig, Professor of Communication and Theatre and incoming division chair, says he is “back, back, [from] a New York groove (with apologies to KISS guitarist Ace Frehley).”

Fiebig spent six months on sabbatical in New York City helping build a performing arts ministry for Calvary Baptist Church in midtown Manhattan, across 57th Street from Carnegie Hall. The ministry was aimed at supplementing & complementing worship, establishing a church-based producing theatre company, and building bridges between the church and performing artists.

Fiebig formed play reading groups at the church with an eye and an ear towards suitability for worship. He then introduced the use of cuttings from contemporary scripts, including: John Cariani’s “Almost Maine,” Mary Zimmerman’s “Metamorphoses,” and George Bernard Shaw’s “Saint Joan” as elements of worship.

John Cariani

Playwright John Cariani meets Calvary Baptist artists

Fiebig met Cariani following a production of “Almost, Maine” in Greenwich Village in early February. The two struck up a conversation and continued the dialogue via email. During one such exchange, Cariani said, “I love that you are working to develop a performing arts ministry at a church. That’s pretty thrilling. Church and theater have always been one and the same in my book.”

Cariani later consented to waive performance royalties and grant permission for Fiebig to incorporate individual scenes from “Almost, Maine” into worship at Calvary and again at nearby Metro Baptist Church in the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood.

Fiebig wrapped up his time in NYC directing a production of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” for the church’s newly formed Calvary Theatre Guild featuring a mix of professional and aspiring young actors. The production exceeded expectations in attendance, production values, and critical acclaim.

Tartuffe on church stage

Fiebig directed “Tartuffe” at Calvary Baptist Church, NY

Over four months, Fiebig met formally and informally with a number of professional actors, playwrights, and casting agents. These included Garreth Saxe, performing as Scar in Disney’s “Lion King” on Broadway, Samuel D. Hunter, playwright of “The Few” premiering in New York, and longtime friend and soap opera star Robert Newman (Josh from “The Guiding Light”), who was featured in the long-running Off-Broadway production of “Perfect Crime.”

When not attending shows, Fiebig could be found on a couple of occasions working as a non-union background actor. His two claims to fame are 1) having only one degree of separation from Kevin Bacon, appearing way in the background of the final episode of season two of “The Following,” depicting a hostage stand-off inside Saint Bart’s Episcopal Church, and 2) portraying a member of the paparazzi for a museum gala in the soon to be released “Night at the Museum III.”

Sabbatical semesters are designed for IWU faculty to retool, recharge and refresh their professional expertise for future teaching. Fiebig said all that happened and in some ways, he wasn’t ready to come back.

“I was able to put into practice many of the things I’d been teaching in the classroom. Perhaps the most beneficial aspect of my sabbatical was learning the ropes of producing a show in the NYC market,” he said.

Workshopping the Craft in New York Sat, 16 Aug 2014 15:21:42 +0000 Dr. Katie in NY

Dr. Wampler goes to NY Acting Workshop

IWU faculty often spend part of the summer re-tooling their knowledge and skills. For Dr. Katie Wampler, Assistant Professor and Artistic Director of Theatre, re-tooling meant going back to fundamentals at a New York acting workshop just for teachers.

Wampler set three goals before she left for the Actor’s Center Teacher Development Program: Connect. Collaborate. Learn. She joined other educators in an intensive, 100 hour program from 10am-10pm, Monday through Friday for two weeks, with five master acting teachers.

Workshopping the stage fun

Teachers become students in acting workshops.

Workshop faculty included Slava Dolgachev, Artistic Director of the Moscow New Drama Theatre, Ron Van Lieu, Chair of the Acting Program at the Yale School of Drama, Jane Nichols, formerly of the Yale School of Drama, and J. Michael Miller, Founder and President of the Actor’s Center.

They discussed teaching methods, acting choices and body movement techniques. All of the participants developed and performed scenes and character assignments of their own. Wampler was given Nora Helmer from A Doll’s House.

“I stopped thinking like a teacher. I fully immersed myself into the mindset of the student. Only during the breaks would I allow myself time to think about the very different methods of each teacher,” Wampler said.

Each day, one or two scenes would rehearse and the workshop faculty gave notes, direction and led discussions around the acting choices. “The activities promoted being in the moment and risk taking,” Wampler said.

The group

Acting teachers are students again at NY workshop.

Wampler called the workshop one of the best professional experiences of her life, and said her being a student again will bring added benefits to her teaching on the stages and classrooms of IWU.

“God has revealed to me more of who He has created me to be,” Wampler said.  “That is what I have asked God for, to see students for who they think they are and who God has created them to be.”

May Term Lights are Bright on Broadway Fri, 01 Aug 2014 16:30:50 +0000 splash-smSummer break started a little later for some theatre students, but they didn’t mind, since their May term classroom included 10 days on Broadway. The New York City trip was the culmination of a special May class, which included studying plays and preparing professional audition monologues, resumes and headshots.

Theatre Group

Leaving on a late night train from Indiana to New York City

After nine class days on IWU’s campus, eleven students and theatre professor Dr. Katie Wampler loaded up and took at 15-hour train trip to Penn Station in The Big Apple.

Once in the city, the class met up with Dr. Greg Fiebig, professor of communication and theatre, and began their adventure, which included seeing twelve professional theatrical productions – Broadway, Off-Broadway, and Off Off-Broadway.

Les Miz

Daniel McMasters and Rebecca Roy get ready for Les Miserables

Choosing productions was part of the educational plan. “All of the tickets were included in the trip costs we paid before we left,” said Braden Hunt (Sr), “so on the days that we could choose our own shows, we were handed cash and told to go find tickets for ourselves,” he said.

Students saw eminent Broadway productions such as Newsies, Wicked, Kinky Boots and The Phantom of the Opera, and had the opportunity to experience the talents of famed actors such as Denzel Washington, Daniel Radcliffe, Idina Menzel and Tony Shaloub.

Aside from seeing productions, the class was also able to participate in a number of workshops planned by Fiebig. “During my sabbatical, I was able to connect with a number of theatre professionals in New York City. I was able to ask them, and many of them agreed, to meet with our students while on site in New York,” Fiebig said.

Shakespeare in the Park

Watching Shakespeare rehearsals in Central Park

The workshops included meeting with Merri Sugarmam, a Broadway casting director, and Melissa Harlow, a former student of Fiebig’s who is in New York trying to break into show business. Students found the experience to be both fun and educational, from exploring stores, Times Square and Central Park to the daily debriefs and discussions as a class.

“Going to New York City was like coming full circle for me as a theatre student,” said Rebecca Roy (Graduate, ’13). “Seeing so many wonderful actors, breathtaking sets and stories was not a class, it was a dream come true!”