Video teacher leads with film business past

Alexander Pavlicin, Advertising Editor

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LSDrew

Photo by Maddie Maroney
Debbie Drew, theatre and video teacher, no longer works for the film business, but rather as a video teacher, passing on what she has learned over the years to her students. She is reminded of old memories and creates new ones every day with students. “Being able to pass on the work ethic I learned in the film business to my students is incredible. It is quite a valuable lesson for them,” said Drew.

A dark background contrasts with the natural white light filtering in from outside. The weather is dreary; rainfall can be heard hitting the walls of the studio. Yet in the moment, once the red button is pushed and the video commences, there is nothing but the camera and scene.

The scene shifts. Noise and laughter fill the air as students discuss plans for making new videos. In both these scenes, Debbie Drew, theatre and video teacher, plays an active role. She no longer works for the film business, but rather as a video teacher, passing on what she has learned over the years to her students. She is reminded of the old memories and creates new ones every day.

Some of the memories Drew has the opportunity to create today are saved forever in the form of videos, created by students in her Cutaway Productions class. Instead of taking written notes and tests like most other classes, Drew designed Cutaway Productions like a student-run business. Local businesses hire Drew’s class to make a video, and they have to make the highest quality video possible. As one would expect, a good work ethic is key to making the videos.

“Being able to pass on the work ethic I learned in the film business to my students is incredible. It is quite a valuable lesson for them,” said Drew, whose days in the film business would often reach 16 hours of work per day.

Drew’s start to her career in the film business may come as a surprise. It was not glamorous, and fate most certainly intervened. She was a junior in college, looking in a course catalog for a class to take that was not chemistry or physics.

As she explained it, “I was searching through the catalog and said, ‘What should I major in? Oh, video seems interesting.’ I have loved it ever since.”

Even though many aspects of making a video are often completed individually, such as editing or filming a video, the overall success of a group making a video depends entirely on teamwork. Just completing a job is not enough; students must contribute to the group as a whole for a video to be successful.

“You are only as good as your weakest link. If you have a crappy sound guy, it is going to take a lot to save that video,” explained Drew.

To help bring together the class involved in Cutaway Productions, Drew recently organized a field trip to the National Association of Broadcasters in Las Vegas, where students had the unique opportunity to touch equipment worth hundreds of thousands of dollars used for making Hollywood films and meet celebrities such as Daymond John, an investor on the popular TV show Shark Tank.

For Drew, working with videos has brought more than the occasional celebrity. She has had the opportunity to meet many interesting people, from Prince to several Minnesota Vikings players.

“I have had the opportunity to work with a lot of interesting people. They were difficult people sometimes, but overall it was a lot of fun working in the film business. Now I still deal with interesting people, but they usually have an excuse because they are teenagers,” Drew said as she laughed in her office.

The “interesting” teenage students Drew works with now enjoy the open and fast-paced environment of her classes, especially in Cutaway Productions.

As sophomore Jessie Gosso explained, “Cutaway Productions is a really fun class, but it is also a good challenge. Drew has inspired me to look at my future in a new way.”

Another sophomore, Anna Scheel, also commented on the class, “It can be stressful at times, but in the end we are a family. The class has a very fun vibe.”

Making the switch from “video maker” to video teacher was a great transition for Drew. After having her first child, she soon realized that the film business just simply is not a good
“mom job.”

“I love what I did and I would never change it, but I would never go back to it now. I love where I am at now,” said Drew.

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