An Electric Atmosphere
Even as the Cleveland Indians’ season came to an end during extra innings in Game 7 of the World Series, fans celebrated a historic six-month journey that began on a cold day in April. Many alumni and students from Kent State’s College of Communication and Information and the School of Journalism and Mass Communication (JMC) were with the team the entire way. Some of them shared their thoughts on being part of the World Series.
Lillianne Peters, ’18
Digital media production junior Lillianne Peters worked as a graphics operator for the Indians’ scoreboard production crew for the entire season. She controlled the live graphics of the scoreboard and interacted with the crowd through elements like stat pillars, line scores, player headshots and crowd prompts.
“A big part of my position is to control the energy of the crowd through crowd prompts and graphics that correspond with the plays that happen on the field,” Peters said. “Helping engage a World Series crowd was surreal because the crowd's energy was so high and was impactful in critical moments of the game.”
Prior to working with the Indians, Peters worked for the Akron RubberDucks and Kent State’s TeleProductions. She attributes her achievements to her professors and their investment in her education.
“My professors really helped prepare me for what a big production would be like,” Peters said. “My professors have all worked in the industry and were able to teach from their own personal experiences.”
Nicholas Cammett, ’20
Freshman journalism major Nicholas Cammett, who photographed the World Series games played at Progressive Field, described the atmosphere as “thrilling and emotional.”
He was there to take photos for Baseball America magazine. From a young age, he worked as his father’s assistant in the field; the Cammett family owns Diamond Images, and Cammett’s father was the lead sports photographer for the Cleveland area. Since his father passed away this past spring, the Kent State freshman has been fulfilling the role.
In doing so, Cammett has experienced the Indians’ World Series journey. From the third base line, Cammett said he could capture photos of the players and the fans.
“You know that you’re going to get good photos no matter what happens on the field,” Cammett said.
Though he didn’t get to capture an Indians championship celebration, he is pleased with the direction his JMC education is taking him, even after a few years of professional experience.
“I came here because I don’t know everything, and I want to be the best at what I do,” Cammett said.
Daniel Gerbracht, ‘16
Recent graduate Daniel Gerbracht wrapped up his second season of working the production crew at Progressive Field as Game 7 ended. As a student, Gerbracht was heavily involved in JMC organizations and classes, such as TV2 and International Storytelling.
His role with the Indians is seasonal and varies from game to game. Some days, he is in the control room, adjusting and matching the colors of the many cameras throughout the ballpark; other days, he handles field producing and gets to, “make someone’s day by putting them on the scoreboard.”
During Game 1 of the World Series on Oct. 25, Gerbracht was in the control room, but even from behind-the-scenes, he said the excitement was palpable.
“Even though I was closed off from the crowd, I could just feel the energy in the air,” he said. “We had the Cavs getting their rings next door; there was a big party happening outside of Progressive Field. It was electric.”
He said he owes his understanding of how a TV crew operates to his experiences within JMC. His versatility and ability to wear many hats is what secured him a role in producing the World Series home games.
“Be well versed in as many aspects of productions as you can,” he advised current students. “If you can say, ‘I can do these five different jobs,’ it’s easier to get on the crew than if you can only do one job.”
Mike Donelan, ’16
After interning in the Indians’ production department for two years, digital (electronic) media production alumnus Mike Donelan secured a full-time job as an animator a year before graduation.
In this role, he creates scoreboard content through animation, shooting video and editing video. He was prepared to graduate from intern to full-time employee with the Indians, thanks to his experience working in TeleProductions at Kent State, where he was able to work on live sports production for Kent State games and produce scoreboard content for Dix Stadium and the Memorial Athletic Convocation (M.A.C.) Center.
“I would recommend that real world experience to any student interested in production. TeleProductions is the only place that I found where you can learn all aspects of production in a real-world environment,” he said. “It's experience that is impossible to gain through a lecture or a textbook.”
Donelan also works part time with the Cleveland Cavaliers’ QTV, so this was the second championship run he worked within one year – and the third overall, as he was part of the TeleProductions team that worked Super Bowl 48 in 2014. The World Series run, he said, was the most thrilling.
“I wouldn't want to work in any other industry than sports,” he said. “It's incredibly rewarding, fun and sometimes stressful. I'd tell students interested in the industry to do as much as they can. Work at TeleProductions, learn all the aspects of production to find a niche, talk to people and learn from their experiences, and remember to enjoy it because most people don't get these opportunities.”