Category: TCF Faculty

Faculty/Students Make Ghostbusters Fan Film

From the Tuscaloosa News:

Who ya gonna call? The correct answer is still “Ghostbusters.”

When a group of University of Alabama students had to scramble to salvage an advanced TV production project last fall, that was the call they made.

They decided to create “Alabama Ghostbusters: A Web Series,” which on Monday (7/22/13) debuted its third episode online.

For UA professor Adam Schwartz, who writes and directs the episodes, and the other devotees of the 1984 science-fiction comedy who strapped on homemade proton-packs to play parts, the series is their contribution to a supernatural universe that has captivated their imaginations since childhood.

Read more… (apologies for the paywall)

Faculty News

Congratulations to Chandra Clark, who won two Telly Awards for “Communicating Superstorm Sandy.” She and her team won Silver in the Public Relations category and Bronze in the editing category. Additionally, Chandra was invited to work with the Alabama Fire College on a media project over the summer, and was also invited to be a Fellow in UA’s “Faculty Fellows in Service Learning Program” for 2014-2015. This is a highly competitive program, and we are excited that Chandra was selected.

Congratulations to Andy Billings, who won Top Paper Award for AEJMC Entertainment Studies. Billings, A.C., Angelini, J.R., MacArthur, P.J., Smith, L.R., & Vincent, J. (2013, Aug.). Fanfare for the American: NBC’s primetime telecast of the 2012 London Olympiad. This paper will be presented at the conference in August.

Andy Billings also had 3 papers accepted for the National Communication Association (NCA) Conference:

Billings, A.C., Brown, N., Brown, K., & Avery, A. (2013, Nov.). Everyone loves a winner?:
Relationships between medal counts, media exposure, and nationalism within a six-nation composite.

Angelini, J.R., Billings, A.C., MacArthur, P.J., Bissell, K., & Smith, L.R. (2013, Nov.).
Competing separately, medalling equally: Racial depictions of athletes in NBC’s primetime broadcast of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Bie, B., & Billings, A.C. (2013, Nov.). ‘Too good to be true?’: U.S. and Chinese media coverage
of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the 2012 Olympic Games.

These 3 papers will be presented at the NCA conference in November.

Andy Billings also has two new publications!

Bie, B., & Billings, A.C. (2014, in press). ‘Too good to be true?’: U.S. and Chinese media
coverage of Chinese swimmer Ye Shiwen in the 2012 Olympic Games. International Review for the Sociology of Sport.

Smallwood, R., Brown, N., & Billings, A.C. (2013, in press). Female bodies on display: Attitudes
regarding female athlete photos in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue and ESPN: The Magazine’s body issue. Journal of Sports Media, 8(2).

TCF Professor Talks About “Object X”

Assistant Professor Matthew Thomas Payne has been selected to represent the department in Object X! Object X is a series of short speeches from different disciplines, all focused on a single object–a clock.

OBJECT X goes down this WEDNESDAY, February 27 at 7pm in 205 Smith Hall

Visit the page for more information:

View the commercial:


TCF instructor, students assist after Hurricane Sandy

TCF instructor Chandra Clark and UA senior Ashley Swafford were part of a team that traveled to the Northeast to assist with Hurricane Sandy recovery and to work on a documentary about coverage by local broadcasters before, during and after the event.

Dr. Chandra Clark, instructor in the department of telecommunication and film, is producing the second in a series of mini-documentaries demonstrating the coverage by local broadcasters before, during and after Hurricane Sandy.

The Broadcast Education Association and the National Association of Broadcasters teamed Clark with the head of Media Arts at the University of Oklahoma, Dr. Scott Hodgson, for the second time to conduct interviews and coverage following a major disaster. Clark serves as the producer and Hodgson is the director and editor of the project with the help of graduate and undergraduate students from both universities.

The filming took place Nov. 13-21  in the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Washington, DC markets. Their crew conducted 33 post-hurricane interviews at 14 different radio and television stations for an account of broadcasters’ response to the storms as well as compiling footage and audio stories from those different markets. The interviews included anchors, reporters, meteorologists, news directors, and general managers who dedicated financial resources and staff to ensure that people were informed when Hurricane Sandy came ashore October 29.  So far, 135 deaths are attributed to Hurricane Sandy.

The interviews also included NBC Nightly News Anchor Brian Williams and New Jersey Governor Chris Christie. Williams grew up along the Jersey shore and has anchored the show from various locations as well as continuing to cover the recovery effort. Governor Chris Christie was on the radio at New Jersey’s 101.5 WKXW-FM the night Hurricane Sandy came on shore warning people to evacuate and continues to inform constituents about the process of dealing with federal and state issues during a disaster. Hodgson and Clark interviewed Christie following his monthly broadcast Tuesday, November 20th on WKXW as he answered questions by listeners about the different situations they were facing.

Clark and Hodgson’s production of “Tornado Emergency: Saving Lives” won a Telly Award and Best of Competition Award by the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts in 2011. The mini-documentary highlighted broadcasters in Tuscaloosa and Joplin after the 2011 tornadoes that devastated those two towns.

The documentaries are produced to make federal policy makers aware of the role of broadcasters in the time of disasters in light of the proposed sell-off of a large portion of the broadcast spectrum.

Clark also has created a website to share the stories of some of the families she met while in New Jersey. You can also view Clark talking to WVUA’s Danny Salter on the network’s First at Four program.

TCF Stories for 2/1

Congratulations to Dwight Cammeron – two of his students’ projects were accepted to screen at the UNA Lindsey Festival, February 28 – March 2:

  • Never Got A Dime, Lilly Ledbetter – — Shelby Hadden
  • Amends With The Past, The Mike Parker Story —-  Bryan Anders, Jake Posey, Antara Harris, Katie Nelson and Alexandra Lancashire.

Also congrats to Nick Corrao, whose students produced Alabama Art Scene, which will air on WVUA.  Everybody tune in!  The dates are

Ep 101 – Wed. Feb. 13th, 7pm
Ep 102 – Wed. Feb. 20th, 7pm
Ep 103 – Wed. Feb. 27th, 7pm

Many thanks to Adam Schwartz, who reports that TCF students totally dominated Campus Movie Fest this week.  Adam is working on a complete list, but here is what we know so far:

Best Comedy – “No Paper, No Plastic” by Christian Magadan and Taylor Kern

Best Drama – “Rise” – directed by Alex Beatty (crew of a slew of TCF folks)

Best Picture – “Person-able” – (working on complete crew list)

Best Director – Connor Simpson for “Manta”

Best Actor – Chris Harding for “Rise”

In other news, a group of TCF students had their skit air on Conan on TBS Thursday night as part of his “Occupy Conan,” a fan-sourced episode project where people pick a clip from the show and re-create it.  This group consisted of Kamal Siraji, Rey Papa, Shane Fair, Ashley Wise, Courtney Williams, Brandon Sparks, and Justin Rudolph.


TCF/APR Students’ Anti-Binge Drinking PSA to Air in BCS National Championship

An anti-binge drinking public service announcement filmed by University of Alabama students featuring former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal will air during the BCS National Championship.

The University of Alabama’s advertising and public relations department, housed in the College of Communication and Information Sciences, launched the LessThanUThink anti-binge drinking campaign in 2010.

Last April, the campaign gained national coverage by shooting a PSA directed by Shaquille O’Neal. The PSA will play in the Miami Sun Life Stadium during the championship football game between The University of Alabama and the University of Notre Dame. The PSA, sponsored by Bacardi USA as part of a commitment to responsible drinking, will air during the first quarter of the game. Bacardi USA is a funding member of The Century Council.

Students and faculty members from the Department of Telecommunication and Film shot and edited the PSA, and a student from the Department of Theatre and Dance played the starring role.

O’Neal agreed to participate in the PSA following a student-generated Twitter campaign at The University of Alabama. The 60-second PSA premiered Oct. 18, 2012.

Mariah Fairweather, UA alum and former LTUT team member, worked on the Shaq PSA and will be in Miami for the game.

“Having both my alma mater and the PSA in the stadium on the same night is like a dream come true,” Fairweather said.

LessThanUThink is a student-based anti-binge drinking campaign consisting of advertising and public relations students at The University of Alabama through the student-run firm, Capstone Agency. The campaign focuses on college campuses and reaches out to students through humorous messages that emphasize the negative social consequences of binge drinking. Funded by The Century Council, the campaign was launched in 2010 on The University of Alabama campus.


Dr. Kristen Warner Analyzes DJANGO UNCHAINED

TCF assistant professor Kristen Warner has published “Django Unchained As Post-Race Product” in antenna. She begins:

Here’s a truth: 2012 has been a hell of a year regarding the state of race and its relationship to media and real life in the so-called “Post-Civil Rights, Post-Race era.” Beginning the year with Trayvon Martin, continuing with the gradual acceptance of the varied public utterances of racism toward the re-election of Barack Obama, and, with respect to this column, and fighting back against the controversy around casting a Black girl as Rue in the Hunger Games, this year has seemed to make me and many scholars of color like myself perhaps more sensitive than normal. This sensitivity is not just one of sadness or hurt but one of frustration; one of anger and contained rage. Because the outpouring of hateful discourse is too much and is ubiquitous and because it hides in plain sight and under protections of socialized ideologies like “racial colorblindness,” many of us (myself included) opt for silence in public venues. It is far more dangerous for me to respond to hateful rhetoric with my own because then I allow myself to be read as that stereotype. Moreover, because of the power of colorblindness, my acknowledging a racial wrong—or acknowledging race at all—results in the burden of proof resting on my shoulders. Still, these issues matter because to be frank, when race is in play our lives are at stake.

I begin with this truth to discuss Django Unchained because it informs my reluctance to discuss this film. I recognize that my ambivalence belongs to me and that many folks are happy to investigate, interrogate, segment and contextualize the film to determine if the film is harmful or not or plumbinterviews given by writer/director Quentin Tarantino to locate his intent in producing such a film. Excellent pieces by wonderful thinkers have emerged and I would do no service to them to repeat what they’ve already written. Instead, I want to offer a few points about how Django actually makes sense in our Post-Race world and why its “good” fit only cements the confusion about how to understand race contemporarily.

Read more here:

New Book Chapter by a TCF Professor

Kristen Warner’s chapter, “A Black Cast Doesn’t Make a Black Show: City of Angels and the Plausible Deniability of Colorblindness” appears in the new anthology:

Beretta E. Smith-Shomade, ed., Watching While Black: Centering the Television of Black Audiences (New Brunswick, N.J.: Rutgers University Press, 2012).


Professor Warner on “Fifty Shades of Grey”

TCF assistant professor Kristen Warner curated a video piece on in media res on September 26, 2012: “Who’s Your Mr. and Mrs. Grey?”: Unpacking Casting Speculations in Fifty Shades of Grey.”

She begins:

As a scholar whose research focuses on casting processes in television and film I am both intrigued and frustrated by the frequent and insistent casting speculations around the leads in the upcoming adaptation of E.L. James’s bestseller, Fifty Shades of Grey. Intrigued because the triangulation of industry, fan culture, and entertainment news reporting never seems to tire of making creative labor the equivalent of the People’s Choice Awards. Yet, I am equally frustrated because speculation elides all the real world complications and negotiations that are part of the casting process.

Read more…

TCF Faculty Activities

“Come on Down and Pick Me Up” by Nick Corrao won the “Best Drama Documentary Short” at the Docufest Atlanta film festival! Congrats! Here is the link for the awards list:
“Come on Down” is also scheduled to screen at the Chagrin Documentary Film Festival, the New Orleans Film Festival, and the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival.

Bill Evans has a new article in The Evolutionary Review, an annual published by SUNY Press. The article is titled “Television News Audiences as Tribes, Television News as Moral Alliance.” Since this is an annual, the expected pub date is April 2013.

TCF has been invited to participate in the 2012 New Orleans Film Festival “Pitch Perfect” student film pitch competition! From their website: “Pitch Perfect is a competition for Southern film students where they can pitch an idea for a narrative or documentary film to a panel of film industry professionals. There is one section for Narrative film and one for Documentary. Students from Alabama, Loyola, Tulane, Wake Forest, University of New Orleans, UT-Austin, and more will be participating. The winners will get $500 and a MovieMaker software package.”

Based on an in-house competition, TCF selected Jazz Franklin for the documentary section, and John Avent for the narrative section. They compete this weekend, so send good thoughts their way. They will be coached by TCF faculty member Nick Corrao.

–Glenda Cantrell Williams, TCF Chair