Trojan Vision kicks off season with new programs

USC’s student-produced television station, Trojan Vision, now in its 15th year, returns with live shows this week. The current schedule hosts the station’s most ambitious programming yet.

Mission control · Behind the scenes at Trojan Vision’s studios in the Robert Zemeckis Center for Digital Arts, film students and volunteers work to produce a five-day week’s worth of live programming. – Austin Vogel | Daily Trojan

“We definitely have our biggest semester ever this year,” said Trojan Vision General Manager Nathaniel Schermerhorn, a senior majoring in psychology and film production. “We have 120 people in the class [CTPR409] that’s associated with Trojan Vision; we have more shows than ever. Over the past year things have really kind of skyrocketed here.”

The station is now producing six live shows every day.

“Last year was the first year we did two mornings shows every day. This is the first semester that we’re keeping our morning shows, adding two afternoon shows and keeping our staple evening shows,” Schermerhorn said. “The goal is always [to] kind of go above what we’ve done last semester — take a risk on that and then go even farther.”

The station is not only trying to increase the quantity of its shows, but also the quality of its programs. With rooms of high-tech equipment, including the studios with HD cameras that were incorporated last semester, the station is beginning to mimic the professional industry itself.

“We have industry-standard equipment,” Schermerhorn said. “You could walk out of our studio and be able to operate ABC, NBC.”

These changes would not be possible without a full-time commitment from the students involved.

“I’m definitely here at least once a day for an extended period of time. Normally I’ll go here before class, go to class, come back after class. It is a lot of time, but the people and the community makes it worth it,” Schermerhorn said. “It’s just the energy of getting something on air, having to work together to pull through and not having anything else matter but getting onto air. It’s the nature of live television: Once the clock hits 10:30 or 11:30 or whatever, you have to push that button and you have to go live no matter what.”

For the fall season, Trojan Vision plans to unveil several new shows.

Showcase, formerly known as The Cutting Edge, is a half-hour live show with reviews of student films and filmmakers.

“I’m really excited that it’s live because more people will get to know it and watch movies being made on campus,” said showrunner Cassie Casino, a junior majoring in critical studies. “On the show, we see what filmmakers did when they were here, but we also see what changed and who the up-and-coming directors are.”

Casino’s plans for Showcase include interviews with students currently enrolled in the School of Cinematic Arts who are making films on campus.

“I’m really excited to contact alumni from the SCA and have them come in and talk about what the differences are today,” Casino said.

BE the Music is another new show to Trojan Vision, highlighting the best and most inspiring music listened to by college students.

“I came up with BE the Music over the summer,” said showrunner Nate Howard, a senior majoring in communication. “‘BE’ stands for brave entrepreneurs, and the thing I want this program to do is to highlight [those] people. This whole theme is inspiration, what inspires you.”

The show, which will have live performances, exclusive interviews and freestyle rap battles, aims to highlight musicians who are using their talents to inspire change, whether it’s through their words or actions.

“More than anything, we’re being inspired [through the interviews we’ve already done] and we hope to inspire other students to be inspired themselves through what these artists are doing,” Howard said.

Another new show focused on inspiring students is Balance. Run by Theresa Pablos, a junior majoring in broadcast and digital journalism, and Laura Coholan, a junior majoring in communication, the 30-minute health and wellness variety show will feature topics from physical fitness to health news.

“Balance is so important, especially for college students,” Pablos said. “At USC one of our mottos is work hard, play hard. By keeping your life in balance it allows you to reach your full potential.”

One of Trojan Vision’s most ambitious new shows is The Toast. The new morning show will run five days a week from 10:30 to 11 a.m. Run by Mandi Brooksbank, a sophomore majoring in business cinematic arts, the show will discuss a variety of issues from fashion to sports to love and relationships.

“It’s a combination of Regis and Kelly, Ellen and Jimmy Kimmel,” Brooksbank said.  “We have different themes for each day like Dance Moves Monday, Fashion-Themed Tuesday, Just Do It Wednesdays, International Travel and Travels of the Hearts Thursdays and Fridays — a bunch of different funny things.”

Brooksbank stressed that she wants the program to be light-hearted.

“We’re featuring quirky, fun, funny things. I don’t want it to be heavy; I want it to be something fun for students to start their mornings with,” she said.

In total, there are 12 shows running on Trojan Vision this semester, ranging in topics from entertainment to politics to student health.

Schermerhorn said he is confident Trojan Vision will be able to handle all its new and returning shows because of the enthusiasm that the showrunners, producers and crew bring to each episode.

“People are passionate about Trojan Vision,” Schermerhorn said. “When people get involved they tend to stay involved and then they tend to bring their friends and their friends get involved. It’s awesome because no matter who you are, what major you are and what year, you can come here [and have a good experience].”