For the first time, on April 30, 2023, Notre Dame’s famous Bookstore Basketball Tournament was streamed live to the world. It was made possible by four Notre Dame Studios (NDS) / Fighting Irish Media (FIM) Producers Program students completing their capstone project for the newly created 3-credit course.
The NDS / FIM Producers Program, launched in the Fall 2022, offers hands-on media production mentoring and experiences for a small group of talented students seeking careers as producers in the entertainment/media industry. It’s an elite opportunity for participants in the NDS/FIM Student Production Program, which trains students in a variety of aspects of media production, including live production, post-production, engineering, communication and innovation.
Four students completed the Producers Program in academic year 2022/23 and were the key members of the Bookstore Basketball production team. Ben Swiderski: Producer/Director/Technical Director, Daniel McFarlane: Producer/Director/Technical Director, Grace Beutter: Content Producer/Utility and Michael Simon: Content Producer/Utility
Daniel McFarlane noted how the program stretched him and provided motivation for improvement. “The producing program was a great opportunity for me to go beyond what I was doing as a student worker for ND Studios,” said McFarlane. “This program has allowed me to take control of new, exciting projects and work with my fellow classmates to create content. My favorite aspect of this year was the fact that we were pioneers in this field, building the foundations for broadcasts that will be expanded upon through future iterations of this program.”
Film, Television, and Theatre Associate Teaching Professor, Ted Mandell leads the Producers Program, instructing them in all aspects of visual storytelling from creation to distribution. “The Bookstore Basketball broadcast was a tremendous learning experience for our four student producers,” said Mandell. “Working together in the cold rain, they got a true taste of producing real world broadcasts, making creative decisions under the pressure of a live telecast.”
The Producers Program also provides access to Notre Dame alumni in the industry, through career discussions and mentoring. Alumni participating this year included NFL Films senior producer, Margaret Ruffing Morris, NBC/Universal studio executive Michael Swanson, and ESPN live sports producer/director Chris Ohlmeyer.
The students in the program are responsible for producing a capstone project, which included a podcast series as well as the Bookstore Basketball Championships. (Women’s and Open Tournament championship games produced with an all-student crew.) The 3-hour livestream kicked off with a 15-minute pre-game show featuring the history of the Bookstore Basketball tournament dating back to 1972. Technical aspects of the Bookstore Basketball live stream was made possible with engineering support provided by NDS staff members Shawn Deweerd, video engineering and Nick Ruthrauff, associate video producer.