The necessary evil that is the student-worker (Collegiate)

The necessary evil that is the student-worker (Collegiate)

Sorry professional organizations, this one is for my college bros/sistas.
And now, my screenplay which is a recreation of a typical headset conversation with a student-worker….


“Camera 4, you’re looking kind of hot. Can you iris down a little bit?” -Me 

I could only assume this guy sucks in real life. Source:
I could only assume this guy is a terrible human being in real life. Source:

“O, um, ya.” – SW

“Okay, that was your focus ring.” -Me

“Sorry, which one is the iris again?” -SW

“O dear god. IT’S THE 30TH GAME OF THE SEASON!?” -Me


Pretty much every collegiate institution is reliant upon student-workers in order to make it’s gameday productions. So just like how it is with the amateurs on the field/court, your fans are expecting a professional grade product from you in the production booth. As impossible as that may be on certain days, there is a means to finding success and that is through constant training and nurturing of your student-workers.

If you have properly prepared for a production, you should always have sufficient time prior to any game where you are doing nothing. I typically have a three hour cutoff for any new materials to be inserted into the show. That way I have an ample amount of time to get settled in before the stress inducing ride that is a live event. One mistake I use to make early on in my career was that I would fax my cameras and then I would wait until our script would begin. What that caused was a never ending cycle of student-worker headaches and on-the-fly teaching moments like the conversation above. The last thing you need to be doing in the middle of a broadcast is to be clogging up your communications with these moments, because it will lead to a number of compounding problems.

This is why you need to take advantage of your pregame downtime in order to constantly educate your student workforce. These kids are already college students, and they are (for the most part) eager to learn, so treat each gameday as if it were a classroom and have a lesson plan ready. Typically you can find 30 minutes every gameday to teach the students about camera controls, situational sport practices, troubleshooting, depth-of-field relations, shutter speeds, social awareness, etc… If you don’t have that time available to you, fight for it and make it available. There is always something new to teach these kids, and it is your responsibility to educate them. Especially for how little you pay them (if you even do pay them.)

God help my kids when I have them.

One last thing. Keep in mind that these are young adults, and they do not respond well to yelling. I know most control room environments involve some form of harsh criticism, but it is my personal belief that speaking to anyone in a belittling manor will only hinder their performance. If you facilitate a hostile environment, you will find that your workers will be scared to branch out and try new, creative things. So keep in mind that your student-workers are amateurs and try to provide the nurturing environment needed for their, and your, success.

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