GatorNBS takes on Hollywood, CA

Hi everyone,

What a week it has been here in Los Angeles, California representing UF’s wonderful College of Journalism and Communications. I’ve learned so many new skills and have met many great people. If you’d like a quick recap of what we did this week, I briefly blogged about it on my wordpress website.

Now, on to the exciting news! As usual, UF dominated the student competition. This year, we had 15 finalists in the national competition. That alone is a huge accomplishment. Tonight (Saturday, March 15), UF took home 6 total awards!!!

  • Leanna Scachetti, Audio News Package, Grand Prize (Plane Crash Breaking Newscast)
  • Lauren Rautenkranz, Video Feature Package, Grand Prize (Local farm benefitting from Halloween)
  • Bothaina Saleh, Video Open Category, Grand Prize, WUFT News Veterans Day Special
  • Lauren Rautenkranz, NBS-AERho Member of the Year
  • University of Florida, Chapter of the Year
  • Shahd El Lamei, Instagram On the Spot Competition

I am so incredibly proud and honored to be a part of such a great university! The Chapter of the Year award was something I have been striving for during my time as the GatorNBS President. I’d love to know if this is a first for UF!? I’m glad our hard work paid off. I’m also so happy with all 20 students who attended this week. They networked with professionals, asked questions during panel discussions, met with other students from different chapters, acted and dressed very professionally, and were consistently on their best behavior. Next year, NBS heads to Atlanta, GA for the annual convention.

I’ll be back in Gainesville for WUFT News at Six on Monday. I cannot wait to get back to my second home! Feel free to share this great news with others in our college. 🙂

Lauren Rautenkranz
GatorNBS President

UF NBS ChomPics Guest Post – Episode 1 Head Writer Rene Ciarmataro!

So now that the production for episodes 1 and 2 of “Off University” has wrapped and episode 3 production is rapidly approaching, Rene Ciarmataro, the co-head writer of the first episode, is looking back on her experience! In our next guess post for the blog, check out what Rene has to say: 

As a freshman at UF, I had no idea what I wanted to do or who I wanted to eventually be in life. I was an industrial systems engineering major for a semester before I realized it wasn’t the right track for me. In the spring of 2013, I changed my major to Telecommunication with a track in production.

I quickly realized that the college focused A LOT on news; everyone I met had their hearts set on reporting on-screen for a station, and I was constantly urged to get involved in WUFT. Though I was willing to push forward in that direction, I knew it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do. My interests had always been writing creative stories, and so focusing solely on news seemed bland to me. So instead of getting involved, I tuned out. I went to class and back to my dorm, every single day, the way I expect plenty of freshmen do.  I couldn’t understand why, in a school of over 30,000 students, I couldn’t find a group that I could really connect with.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that I started branching out. I got involved in sketch comedy, which I’ve always dreamed of doing, and started meeting some like-minded people. Then one day, while browsing through Facebook, I saw an event titled “TV/Film Writing and Producing Project” that was being hosted through NBS. Luckily for me I was smart enough to go to the meeting. I remember seeing the 90+ people in attendance and thinking “Wow, there are actual, living people who want to get involved with television, and they go to UF. They exist.” It was as if someone brave was willing to build this production group and, like the saying, the people came. The people surged.

I signed up to be a part of the writing team and, as a second option, the art direction team. Later I got an email saying I’d be one of the writers, and I remember being excited and a little nervous. I’d never written a full episode before and had certainly never had to show one to a group of people to be critiqued. During our first meeting, my idea got picked to be the central idea of the show, and so I was made head writer of the pilot episode. Stressed was an understatement. The other head writer and I sat down one day and created four characters. We fleshed out their likes, dislikes, relationships, hobbies, pet peeves, histories, favorite foods, bands, directors, and decorated their apartment in our minds. We threw them in a room together, and so began our script.

I’m not saying it was easy or that this just flowed perfectly out onto paper. We were on a two-week deadline to have the pilot written to begin shooting. We sat in Weimer for hours on end creating plotlines and distracting ourselves with pizza and cookies. Our first script finalized only to be thrown out two days later in a writer’s meeting. Let me tell you, throwing out a script feels like someone kidnapping your newborn baby. It hurts. But I agreed with the group and so we trekked on. We spent some 12+ hours over two days writing a second script and guzzling Starbucks to keep ourselves awake. I was sick with a cold and had to schedule time around work. And through all this, we had to be funny. And we were. We finalized the second script with the help of our writing team and had it set to begin shooting on time. We held an episode one team meeting and met some really passionate people eager to send the script through the production process. I went to auditions and had my dialogue read out loud by actors and actresses that had their hearts set on making these characters, the characters that we’d created, come to life. And it was the most fulfilling feeling in the world. Every laugh heard in that room on the third floor of Weimer Hall made those 12+ hours of writing more than worth it. Looking back, I wouldn’t have done it any differently.

The creation of Chompics and this amazing 1st show has been the greatest experience in my college life so far. Never have I been around such a large group of amazing, talented people who want nothing more than to see each other succeed. Every single person I’ve met in this journey has their own creative spark that helps this show mesh into the wonderful work that it has. We operate as a team and as a family, through the good days and the bad days. And every bit of work that I put into this is done with serious passion for writing and producing stories, and I know that everyone else feels the same way. I’ve grown such confidence in my own writing and learned more than I could ever imagine about the production process than I ever would sitting in a classroom. This experience has only further justified my dream to one day be a part of creating Television and Film. And the best part is, the writers, the technical directors, the producers, and the whole episode one team have become some of my best friends. I feel at home when I’m sitting in a writer’s meeting, discussing what characters are having for lunch or what they’re doing downtown on a Tuesday. The environment on set is like nothing I’ve seen before and I’ve fallen so in love with it. Chompics has truly made my experience at UF so much more fulfilling. If you’re thinking about joining the Chompics family, I’d say jump right into it. Join a team that you’re interested in or passionate about, and don’t look back. I promise you it will be the greatest decision you make.

-Rene Ciarmataro

Contact her on social media:




Welcome back!

Hi Gators!

With the first week of the semester already in the books, we (the GatorNBS executive board) are excited to announce a rundown of what we have in store for our members for the next few months. We hope you’re excited about GatorNBS and if you have any suggestions, we want to hear them! This is all about YOU, the members. Here’s a look at what we’ve got coming your way:

  • Jan. 20 @ 8PM in Library West: Pre-Convention Meeting (for those members who are going to the March convention, or who are still considering)
  • Jan. 21 @ 6:30PM in Reitz Ballroom: MLK Event, Keynote speaker T.J. Holmes (join the event here)
  • Jan. 30 @ 7PM in Aha! Lab and adjoining conference rooms: “Get Your Act Together with GatorNBS” (resume building, career development, internship/job search help)
  • Feb. 11 @ 7PM in Weimer G030: “Learning with Les” (Les Rose is visiting again!)
  • March 26-28 @ TBA: Telecommunications Advisory Council visit
  • March 28: Relay for Life (more info to come)
  • April 19 @ TBA: ChomPics Marathon

We will also be hosting former SNL cameraman, Jan Kasoff again, but the date is still up in the air. We will have other events to add to this calendar, including socials and general body meetings. Until then, we hope this can get you excited about the semester and what’s to come with GatorNBS.

Have a great weekend!

ChomPics Guest Post – Episode 1 Head Writer Katelyn Mears

Here’s the next guest post from ChomPics personnel! This time it’s the head writer for the pilot episode of “Off University,” Katelyn Mears: 

This project kind of fell onto my lap, since for the most part I delete all the J-school e-mails I receive. I joined the Telecom program as a Junior, so it wasn’t instilled into my sporadic brain how important those e-mails (some of them) are. I didn’t know many Telecom kids and I wasn’t involved in NBS or anything of the sort, so I had basically cut off anyway for me to find out about awesome opportunities like this one. I mostly focus all my attention to Theatre Strike Force (TSF), a comedy improv and sketch troupe, where I am Fall Show1 Director. Luckily, Connor and I share a love for sketch comedy. Through a friend, Rachel Newman2, he found out about TSF Sketch and decided to apply to the team. On the first day on RTV3320, Rachel introduced us and I thought Man, this kid doesn’t look like a degenerate problem-causing punk; remember that when you’re lookin’ at applications.


1 Fall Show: A mind-blowingly “oops I peed my pants” hilarious sketch show TSF puts on every fall. What’s that, “You missed the show because you’re a self-destructive human being?” It’s okay, check out the sketches here:

2 Rachel Newman: A super cool person who wrote the 2nd episode and is now interning for David Lettermen


It turned out I was right. He wasn’t a degenerate problem-causing punk and it also turned out that he was a great sketch writer and over all human being. During the first sketch meeting I was reading stage directions for “You Got A Problem3,” a sketch Connor wrote and I literally started crying from laughter. At that moment I completely trusted Connor creatively; later I would come to trust him as a producer and friend. The second he asked me to be a part of the writing team, I was in. I knew that anything Connor believed in I could as well. I remember him nervously talking about the first meeting in that room we all know so well now, 10904 and how he was afraid no one was going to show up even though the Facebook event had 68 people going.


3 “You Got A Problem:”

4 1090: The writing team spent 6 consecutive hours outlining the pilot episode in there where most of the ideas are unsuitable to annotate


At that fateful first meeting when we contorted our sweat young adult bodies into that small room I felt the excitement. None of us had ever had an opportunity like this before. The energy wasn’t the best part of that meeting though, Beth Benge was. This was the first time I met Beth. And it was great. I thought, This chick and so many other things. During the first meeting Beth played a Ben Wyatt5 to Connor’s Chris Tragger. Connor talked about the love and preparation that has gone into getting this project started and Beth would jump in with how serious everyone needs to take it. They were a perfect team and everyone could see it. We all knew that this was going to happen and it was going to be great6.


5 Ben Wyatt: A hard ass on Parks and Recreation. Beth is much sweeter and easier to talk with. Also, Benà Beth; Chrisà Connor… Weird.

6 Great: my favorite adjective


For the Writing Team, things got started pretty quickly, since we wanted to finish the pilot in time to submit it to the NBS National Convention. We all came to the first pitch meeting with a lot of ideas, but we weren’t really sure about anything. Rene Ciarmataro7 had an idea about girls wanting their MRS degrees (which led to Kelsey’s character). This was our best idea and with the time crunch we decided to run with it. Rene was assigned to do the pilot and knowing I would work well with Rene, I signed up with her. When the two of us met up to start writing, we realized that we had nothing. No outline, no character, no idea really. We just sat there for a while thinking what have we got ourselves into. So we went to the drawing board (a table in the Reitz across from Pollo Tropical). And we created the Mia8, Cody, Kelsey, and Johnathan. Then we wrote the first draft… and it was bad and a little sad. We had no plot and had no idea what we were doing. So we had another writer’s meeting to work shop the script and we decided to throw it out, but Rene and I were very pleased that all our characters remained. We knew that sending the writers off blind would not work, so we spent six hours outlining the pilot in that dreaded room. Rene and I were sent off again and this time we came back with the script you will soon be seeing.


7 Rene Ciarmataro: Also on TSF Sketch. She was pretty patient with me not knowing how to spell anything during our writing sessions.

8 Rene and I originally gave Mia the name Lacey, but apparently that name as certain connotations that we did not think of.


The writing process was new and exciting. I’d written many five-minute sketches before, but nothing with any meaning or depth. I feel very attached to these characters mostly because they all have weird quirks that come from my own life9.  I really enjoyed working with people I trust and I’m thrilled to continue on this journey. I’m very proud of what Rene and I wrote and I’m excited to find out what everyone thinks.


9 Like Cody, I am often found on the floor or in bushes.



Posted in Uncategorized.

ChomPics Guest Post – Episode 1 Director of Cinematography Lizette Arocha

A couple days ago we heard from Kate Wenzel, the director of ChomPics Production’s first episode for the 2013-2014 season. Now check out what Lizette Arocha, the director of cinematography for episode 1, has to say about her experience! :

On September 15, I received an email that said “UF National Broadcasting Society TV Production Project”. Reading it, I immediately knew that I want to be part of this project. I could tell that this was something bigger than any other opportunity in the college. I marked my calendar to attend the information meeting. I found it odd that the meeting would take place in room 1090, knowing that it is a small room, because I could just picture every production student jumping at this opportunity. Like I expected, the information meeting was packed. Somehow we crammed 77 people into a room that holds 25! However, what surprised me most was not the number of people, but finding out that this entire project was the brainchild of two students: Beth Benge and Connor Hachey. I guess I was expecting it to be led by professors. It was clear that Beth and Connor had been working to bring this idea to life for quite some time, and they had clear plan of what they were doing. It was reassuring to see that, because it meant that this was not something that would die down without ever getting finished.

A few days later, I filled out my application. It wasn’t too hard to choose my team preferences. I’m into production; writing, acting, and marketing are not my things, so I chose the Technical Services/Cinematography, Directing, and Editing teams. I’m pretty sure that was the order of preference, but I remember changing it many times before settling on it. I wanted to challenge myself, but I didn’t want to take on too much. I also wanted to be part of principal photography rather than post-production because filming with a large crew would be a much more different experience than filming in small groups for class projects. Then I came to a checkbox: “Check here if you would like to be considered for a Director position within a team”. I hesitated, and I skipped over it. I filled out the rest of the application and then came back to that checkbox. I checked it, I unchecked it, I checked it again. I stared at that little box. It meant the difference between participating in the project and having creative input on it. It meant throwing a massive responsibility on my shoulders. It meant giving up a lot of free time throughout the semester. It meant adding a very impressive entry to my résumé and my portfolio. I thought long and hard about checking that box. I knew that I would be producing a short film for my Advanced Camera and Lighting Techniques class that would take over my free time the second half of the semester. I wasn’t very happy with the last short film I did for a class, so I wanted to put extra effort into this one for a kind of personal redemption. On the other hand, I didn’t want to shortchange myself by having a lower position. Although I was confident that I would be able to fulfill a Director position, I was scared of not living up to that potential, of being overwhelmed, or of jeopardizing my short film. After a very long time, I psyched myself up to check the box. I told myself this was an opportunity I could not pass up and that I was perfectly capable of doing it. I also kind of tricked myself into calming down by thinking “they might not choose me anyway” and “I can do one of next semester’s episodes.” Before I could change my mind again, I submitted the application.

The following week I received a reply: “Congratulations! We would like to offer you the position of Director of Cinematography/Technical Service Director for the 2013/2014 NBS TV Production Project!.” I was thrilled, but at the same time I got scared again. I tried not to let it get to me and decided just to approach it with a positive attitude and focus on the value of this opportunity. That worked fine until we had our first Technical Services Team meeting. Beth and Connor announced that I had been chosen specifically to work on the pilot episode because I had the most experience out of all the Directors of Cinematography. I freaked out again. The pilot was to be produced during November, when I knew that I would be busy with my own short film. Worse, the potential shooting days for both projects were on the same weekend. For the next few days I seriously considered asking to be assigned a later episode, but I kept hearing “We chose you for the pilot because you have the most experience.” I knew I would be letting Beth and Connor down if I backed out at that point. I gave myself a bit of a pep talk, shook off the negativity and my fears, and decided to buckle down and accept the challenge.

I took on a proactive approach in order to contribute my best to the project. I asked to be included in the storyboarding process because I felt that it is part of the Cinematographer’s job.  I arranged a training session with my Technical Services crew to teach to use the equipment because they were not all familiar with it. I created a shooting script and shot lists to be organized on set. When we were done filming, I went beyond my position and became an editor as well. All in all, I have dedicated the majority of my free time for over a month to ChomPics. As it turns out, the shooting days for my short film had to be rescheduled, so everything worked out so that I could dedicate the appropriate time to each project.

Checking that little box on the application was the defining moment of this entire experience. Without it, I may have ended up being a boom mic operator wishing to have a larger contribution. Now, I can claim this pilot episode as partly my production instead of just something I worked on. I am so happy that I allowed myself to be chosen as Director of Cinematography and that I accepted the challenge; and I am extremely thankful to Beth, Connor, and whoever else took part in the decision to choose me and assign me the pilot. It was hard and stressful, but in the end very rewarding to have participated in such a big way in this project. I am part of something bigger that I could have imagined, and I am happy to have helped take it off the ground.

Beth and Connor, I want to take this opportunity to congratulate you for spearheading this wonderful project. I truly admire your initiative and dedication. Thank you.

I came up with the name for this project, ChomPics. In a very special way that little contribution will always symbolize everything that I have given and will give to this project.

-Lizette Arocha

ChomPics Guest Post – Episode 1 Director Kate Wenzel

We asked a couple of the students working on ChomPics to write up a post for our blog detailing their personal experience with the project. Check out what the director for the first episode, Kate Wenzel, has to say! : 

Randomly stumbling upon a MyCJC newsletter in my inbox was one of the best mishaps I’ve ever made throughout my journey as a student at UF. When reading the letter I came across an opportunity to be involved in a project that involved producing a television series with fellow peers. I’d never really been involved within the school, yet major motion pictures piqued my interest so I put myself out there and went to the “getting involved” meeting for this project and little did I know this project would change my perspective on everything I’d want to do after I graduate.

I originally submitted an application to become a director and art director. I’ve always produced and directed my own films but thought that directing a show like this would give me an opportunity to venture down a path of exploration and fun. I received an email that I was chosen as the position of “Director” and opted to direct the pilot episode. Through casting, pre-planning and storyboarding four hours a night for a week straight, this vision of mine suddenly came to life. Filming, however was an entirely different story. Being on set with 20+ kids who all have the same vision of being a part of something great would send chills down my spine, every single day. All of my peers strived for excellence take after take and the smiles were constant, more so after lunch breaks. Yet, no matter how long we were filming everyone came together to make this project one for the books. I learned with this project that the episode is not over until it’s over. When finished filming we went straight into the editing lab and I literally mean straight into the lab bearing USB Drives and a positive attitude. Editing every night for hours on end can get very tedious, yet even when the nights were getting long and our eyeballs were on the cusp of burning from staring at the screen so long the editors for my episode persisted to continue and we wouldn’t break until we were all satisfied knowing that we accomplished everything we could that night to make this episode “stand out.”

This project has been more than just yelling “quiet on the set” until I lost my voice. This project really propelled me into realizing that directing is something I want to do the rest of my life. Being a senior in the CJC can be intimidating especially when the only “Production” opportunities are within the realm of news. My whole college journey I’ve debated on whether or not news was the right fit for my life post-college. This project helped me decide what I truly love to do and that’s make films or TV shows, make these productions come to life, make the audience fall in love with these scripts and see the mutual love of people’s appreciation for the art of making quality film. When I graduate I can easily see myself independently producing my own surfing and skating films but also getting involved within TV production.

Getting involved with Chompics is more than just joining another student organization within the CJC, it’s becoming a part of a family. Everyone with this project just wants to be successful. Everyone wants to make quality work to show off and say “yeah, I helped make this.” This project so far has already exceeded my expectations more than I could ever describe. The relationships I’ve made and team work I’ve experienced on set are just small parts of the vitally important skills that I’ll carry on with me throughout the entirety of my film-making career. Chompics is setting standards for quality of work that should be produced in this college. I am proud to represent such an amazing project in its beginning stages and I can only hope that this project carries on for years and years to come. Why? Simple. This project is more than just another project to me. This show made me realize what I want to pursue for a living and I hope that others can experience that same realization. To all students who have questioned joining this process. I just want to say don’t second guess yourself, it’s one of the best decisions you’ll ever make while you’re a student at the University of Florida. Welcome to the Chompics family and Go Gators!

– Kate Wenzel