Journalism Students Claim Overall Victory in 2007 Freshman iLife Challenge

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Columbia, Mo. (Dec. 31, 2007) — Several hundred self-made stars of the silver screen, faculty members and campus leaders, including Chancellor Brady Deaton, packed Bush Auditorium in Cornell Hall the night of Nov. 27 to honor the winners of the 2007 Freshman iLife Competition.

Lost @ Mizzou by Team iLost
Team iLost won both the freshman experience category and the overall grand prize with its video, Lost @ Mizzou.

  • Related story and Lost @ Mizzou video playback available on MizzouWire.
  • KOMU news coverage of the 2007 iLife Challenge, including an interview with the winning iLost team members, available on YouTube.

The annual iLife Competition, pioneered in 2004 by professors in the Missouri School of Journalism, introduces Mizzou freshmen to powerful digital technologies that will play an integral role in their future careers. In teams of three or four, students of all majors utilize Apple‘s iLife Suite and cameras provided by the Journalism School to create short films — between 30 seconds and three minutes — in one of seven categories: short film, news, sports, MU life, freshman experience, promotions and community involvement. More than 500 freshmen participated in the 2007 competition.

“Each year, the iLife Competition reinforces our School’s time-honored method of learning by doing,” said Brian Brooks, associate dean for undergraduate studies at the School. “I can’t imagine a better educational opportunity — or a more exciting challenge — than writing, directing and producing an original multi-media project with other students during the first semester of college. It’s always a thrill to see the fantastic work our freshmen create.”

While exposing students to digital media is of primary importance, the competition serves additional vital purposes, said Missouri Journalism senior Christina Jenkins, student iLife coordinator.

“The competition allows freshmen students to get acquainted to working in groups with their peers, hopefully learning the importance of teamwork,” Jenkins said. “The project promotes student creativity as well.”

This year’s overall winner was team iLost, comprising first-year journalism students Spencer Ernst, Daniel Posey, Alex Ruppenthal and Fred Trotman. The foursome’s production, “Lost at Mizzou,” chronicled the adventures of several students who felt lost during their move-in day, Aug. 15. The creators called upon popular TV shows Lost (ABC) and 24 (FOX) for inspiration.

In the sketch, a University professor watches a KOMU report on the missing students and calls in Jack Bauer, a special agent on the show 24, to find the students.

“In the end, Jack Bauer rescues the four missing students, and they all learn that they should never feel lost at Mizzou,” said Ernst, who was the group’s producer and co-writer.

Although the competition required a considerable time commitment, the winners agreed the experience was well worth the effort.

“I absolutely loved the entire process of the competition,” Posey said. “I loved working with my partners and playing the infamous Jack Bauer, but the greatest part would have to be writing the video’s screenplay. Writing the screenplay was exciting and challenging because I never knew what to expect, especially considering the fact that I may be bombarded with a plethora of ideas one day and suffer writer’s block the next few days.”

From coming up with original and appealing ideas to seeing the project through to the end, the winners had a host of advice for future participants. Ruppenthal suggested that next year’s competitors keep in mind how everything looks and flows while shooting to ensure clean editing in the end.

“Whatever topic or direction you choose, do it well,” Ruppenthal said. “Make sure everything is precise.”

At the awards celebration, each member of team iLost received an eight-gigabyte iPod Touch donated by Apple, one of the competition’s official sponsors. The other sponsors are the Missouri School of Journalism, TigerTech and the Ragtag Cinemacafe.

Dec 31, 2007

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