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Digital Portfolio: Ryan Mahaney


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My name is Ryan Mahaney and I am a Senior in Alden High School.   Currently, I am a news reporter. Next year, I plan to go to Genesee Community College and study photography and screenwriting.   I also plan to swim in college. I enrolled in Multimedia Production because editing is one of my favorite things to do. Not only that, but I’m fairly quick at it.

At the beginning of the year, Mr. Currin, a few others, and I went to the Intermediate school. I filmed the grand opening of the school and the renovated playground.   It felt very awkward and terrifying at first, but as the year went on, holding the camera and interviewing others became easier. The fun part of the year was filming an intro. It wasn’t used many times, but an updated intro made the videos better.   All County was a project where I had to interview Mr. Larrabee about an event involving some school band members participating in a concert. B roll wasn’t my forte, but I managed to utilize it by filming the instruments. This was another difficult aspect of projects. Getting great b roll without overdoing it or making the audience bored. The Congress Turkey was a project I could have done better on. When I interviewed Mr. Domino, I set the camera at a low angle. This made the video more embarrassing than pleasing to watch. The rule of thirds was also left out which contributed to poor value. Another problem was b roll. The turkey was taken down before I could get b roll. In the end, the scheduling for the interview was clearly procrastinated. It was on the very last day the student congress would have it up on the wall. Right before Regents week, I went to the middle school to film the battle of the books. The tough part was finding out that the battle of the books wasn’t just yet. It would take place nearly two months later. I had to come up with as many questions as I could in order to do the interview without sounding clueless. I quickly filmed the books back to back as their names were read aloud. A brief synopsis was given for each of the novels. I went online and surfed for pictures related to the books in order to construct a more engaging video.  In my opinion, my projects had higher quality because I was assigned to National news. It was difficult to keep it as far from the political landscape as possible. All of the stories I looked up online were either very short or were drab to the highest extent. My first assignment was about sanctuary cities. For b roll I used online images. I also used a speech from attorney general Jeff Sessions to fill in for extra b roll. In order to make it more interesting, I decided to ask a question at the very end of the video so the audience can ponder what they think. It helps them to understand what the debate is all about.  The second video was about the national security advisor’s possible disagreement with the president. I used similar tactics for the video. Once again I asked a question at the end in the form of “what could this mean?” I didn’t want to just report or regurgitate news.   One of my best projects was about the Star Tax Relief program. I used pictures throughout almost the entire video. What made this project easier was the ability to read the article that I had typed beforehand. Usually, I’d have to figure out a separate script. My final project was the American Health Care Act. I researched and looked up many videos that spoke more in detail about the Act. When there was time, I managed to put in some footage of various politicians expressing their views about the act with one negative and one positive. Once again, I tried to get the audience to make a choice for themselves on what they should think of the topic.

Future students can be successful in this class by being aware of current events as they happen. They should be searching the many sources of the internet to see what’s out there in the world. The challenge is getting enough information for your story.   What I could’ve done better is planning better and filming earlier.

I can’t exactly say that every project was a blast, but there were some fun moments. On the bright side, I was able to land some stories I was passionate about.   WACS News serves the school by giving out information that would normally be difficult to get your hands on. The class was fun to be at when working on a story that was really intriguing. Over the course of the year, I’ve earned that editing can be difficult on iMovie. It takes a lot of practice. This shouldn’t necessarily discourage anyone from taking the class, but it should get upcoming students to know what they are signing up for.

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Digital Portfolio: Ryan Mahaney