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CHS alumni gains experience as media intern in Vail, Colo.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Cassville High School alumni Ben Craig is on his way to a successful career in video and film production. Craig, who will earn his master's degree at the University of Kansas this year, is currently working for Plum TV in Vail, Colo.

"I have always wanted to pursue a career in something creative," said Craig, who graduated from Cassville High School in 2002. "I first was a music major, but decided it wasn't exactly what I wanted. I then got into radio production, but again wasn't entirely fulfilled."

Craig turned his attention to film classes and decided to pursue a career in video production. During the later part of his undergraduate career, he helped create a music video, a commercial and a few fiction projects.

In 2006, Craig graduated from Missouri State University with a bachelor of science degree in mass media with an emphasis in production. After completing his undergraduate education, he decided to pursue a master's degree in video and film production.

"While attending the University of Kansas, I was able to turn out some better work," said Craig. "My first year, I worked on a short drama/thriller called 'Under the Surface,' and my second year I became focused on documentaries."

Craig completed "Nicodemus: Coming Home," a film that focuses on the history and preservation of a small African American town in Kansas that was founded in 1877. He received awards for both of the films he completed during his graduate studies.

"It seems that each time I'm involved in a production I learn more," said Craig. "You have to put in a lot of time to keep improving."

Although he has learned a lot about the technical aspects of film making, Craig said one of the most important things he has learned is the joy of working with different types of people.

"I could see myself becoming involved in any number of topics," said Craig. "I think it's all about finding someone or something that intrigues you, and seeing how far it takes you."

Craig enjoys working on music documentaries and would like to have the opportunity to use his talents to document a band's journey through the music business.

"I also enjoy getting outside and photographing nature and beautiful landscapes," said Craig.

The desire to shoot nature inspired Craig to apply for a position at Plum TV in Vail, Colo., last year.

"I had been looking for internships near the end of last summer and stumbled upon their website," said Craig. "Luckily they were still accepting applications for the winter internship."

Craig submitted an application with production samples and two weeks later received a phone call from Plum TV's human resources director in New York, N.Y. After an interview with the general manager in Vail, Colo., Craig was invited to intern at the television station.

"The majority of my time is spent working on and preparing material for our daily morning show, Fresh Tracks," said Craig. "It is a typical morning show that highlights things to do here in Vail Valley, along with weather and snow report updates and interviews."

Craig spends three days of each week serving as the assistant director for Fresh Tracks. In this role he is responsible for cueing up commercials, controlling microphone audio levels, preparing graphics for the weather and snow reports, recording the show and other tasks.

"It's really just making the show flow smoothly with the correct information and timing," said Craig.

The remainder of Craig's responsibilities include shooting interviews and footage outside the studio, making copies of the show for guests, preparing for upcoming guest interviews and creating special segments for the show. He created a short video on Vail Interfaith Chapel and is currently working on a Colorado ski history video.

"I never really focused on live television production in school," said Craig. "It is is an interesting medium. You really have to be on your toes when everything goes live. I have definitely learned how to work a camera under pressure."

In the future, Craig hopes to produce a full length documentary film. He predicts he will one day live near a large city and hopes to work for a creative network like PBS or the Discovery Channel.

"Personally, I just want to keep working with great people and have a comfortable life, travel some and eventually settle down somewhat," said Craig. "I really enjoy getting out there and meeting passionate people and experiencing all kinds of different situations.

"It's tough work at times and you have to put in a lot of hours out of the day, but I think ultimately I like to look back on things at various points in my life and feel that I was accomplishing something," said Craig. "What's great about video or film is that it captures a portion of your own life because you were involved with it, and it's kind of a window into the past."

Some of Craig's video projects can be viewed on-line at www.vimeo.com/bencraig. Craig's segment on the Interfaith Chapel in Vail, Colo., is available at vail.plumtv.com.



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