When one door closes, another one opens — namely, the door to Hawk Studios, the newest production studio on campus formed by the merging of New Paltz Campus Television (NPCTV) and the Video Production Club (VPC).
The merge had been in the works since the end of last semester, when a lack of student involvement in NPCTV lead to doubts surrounding the future of the organization, which is housed under the Center for Student Media (CSM). While discussing this with members of the organization, CSM Graduate Assistant James Heffernan got the idea to form a single, merged production club with the VPC.
“We were running out of E-board members. People were studying abroad, people were graduating. There were only two or three people left,” Heffernan said. “We thought it was a great idea to inject new life into both orgs.”
While NPCTV was struggling with membership and involvement, VPC was in a much better place, according to Heffernan, with 10 to 15 dedicated members actively producing content for the club.
“I would consider them to be thriving, but maybe not perfect,” Heffernan said. “The president had graduated, so their E-board was kind of shotty, much like ours.”
In what Heffernan called a “match made in Heaven,” talks began with representatives from both NPCTV and VPC, as well as the Student Association, to combine the two clubs into one. Once this ball got rolling, the merge was executed fairly seamlessly, and at the start of the Spring semester, meetings were ready to be held for the new organization.
The only minor roadblock in the new studio’s way? Choosing a president. Since the respective presidents of both NPCTV and VPC had gone abroad and graduated, the search began for the student that would oversee the studio. Though searches for CSM managers usually consist in an interview process, Heffernan explained that this was a “special case,” in which their ideal candidate could be found in the student who showed the most dedication to the organization, and was willing to take charge.
Their answer was found in second-year graphic design major Dillon Finch. Finch had briefly done work for NPCTV at the start of her freshman year, before discovering VPC and fully immersing herself in their projects.
“I started as an art director on set, then I hopped in other roles like gaffer or boom, and then eventually I went on to direct my own short film last semester,” Finch said, on her time with the club.
Shortly after Finch found out about the merge, she found herself the top candidate for president of the new organization. Whilst at a meeting discussing Hawk Studios, feelers were put out to gage interest in the position, and Finch volunteered.
“It kind of fell into my lap, but I’m really grateful, and I do like being the president,” Finch said. “It’s a role I’ve never taken on before, so it’s very new, too.”
Once this vital position was filled, only two decisions were left to be made: What would the studio be called, and what content would they produce? The answer to the former was found fairly quickly.
“With any sort of logos or company names, you wanna have a visual tie to the titles. Think along the lines of Blue Sky or Dreamworks … things that put a picture in your head,” Finch said. “With Hawk Studios, you immediately think of a Hawk, which is only fitting.”
In terms of content, Finch says the team is “getting [their] hands dirty in a multitude of projects.” Currently, these include two major series — “Dorm Diner,” a cooking-instruction show that will teach students recipes they can cook in the comfort of their dorms; and “Late Night Live with Henry Mendel,” an Eric Andre-style talk show with interviews and skits.
“I think the most exciting aspect is we’re trying things that I’ve never fathomed before, and it just feels pretty limitless,” Finch said.
The studio is always accepting pitches for content, which students can either submit and allow the studio to produce, or utilize the studio’s equipment to produce themselves.
“Everybody’s really excited to get things started and get things moving along,” Heffernan said.