When I was little I never dreamed of being behind or in front of a camera. It was always my fondness with animals that drove my decision to pursue the cliché job of becoming a veterinarian. But of course as all childhood dreams do, that changed. When I was in middle school I was invited to join the morning show at school as an anchor. Sure, this wasn’t a world broadcasted morning show, but it sparked something in me. It sparked a passion for something that I never knew I loved. One day, the whole morning show crew went to Walker Valley to tour the A/V facility and host their morning show for the day. As I stood in position to deliver the weather, I realized that I could see myself doing this in the future for a potential job. (Soon after that life changing epiphany I froze on camera cause my friend dropped a stool, but that’s a different story).

So when Freshman year came around the corner I found myself choosing A/V Productions instead of Agricultural Science as my extra class. I walked into A/V the first day with a mind full of fear because this was totally out of my ball park of knowledge. I had no experience with any technology(and hated it for that matter), I was never taught about the inter workings of a production, and the obvious fact that I was a freshman and freshmen are nervous about everything. I didn’t know what to expect, because all I knew was that I had my best friend with me in a class full of strangers and not to mention a new teacher to the program. I had met Mr. Webb (the teacher the year before) when I went on the tour to Walker Valley, but I had only introduced myself to his replacement Mr. McKay at the start of the year. Soon, that fear turned into confidence as technology became less boring to me, that teacher became a mentor, and those strangers became my friends and crew members. I spent many days stressing over planning out music videos and comedy shorts in the first months of A/V. Finally, when each and every video was edited perfectly to my groups vision and was officially finished the feeling of accomplishment was indescribable. I found myself watching those projects over and over again and saying to myself “I made that”, and I was proud. But it wasn’t just making videos in class that hooked me.

Remember that spark I mentioned earlier? Yeah, it grew. One day after my volleyball practice, I heard that Mr. McKay was taking a crew out to film a Lady Mustang soccer game. The rest of my night was open so I decided to join the crew just to see if this whole “A/V thing” was really all it’s cut out to be. As soon as I got there, I was thrown right into the production and I heard words like, pull or push, track, XLR cord, and SDI. It was a little intimidating at first, but at the end of the night I discovered one of the best qualities of A/V, Live Production. From then on, I racked up hours and hours either directing on my favorite machine (the TriCaster) or behind a camera filming various sports and musical productions. In those hours I not only directed and helped film productions, but I also met some pretty amazing people who have talents I’m jealous of. (Shoutout to y’all love ya:))A/V Club can only work if your team works together using their own talents and that’s how a live production can be successful.

I really grew towards the thought of directing a camera crew on the TriCaster, but let me tell you the road to becoming a TriCaster operator was not easy. I struggled to figure out how to use this machine to create a beautiful product during every single production. I still really haven’t mastered the “art” of the TriCaster, but perfection isn’t always the point of A/V. Its learning from your mistakes and keeping your chin up even if you mess up. I can’t even count the many times that I messed up a shot change or missed an important moment in a production. But I learned from my mistakes and endeavored to get better. If you give it your all that’s all that matters.

Enough about the past, now the future. A/V Club was built on making the program larger and to show off the school’s extracurricular activities. The main thing I want to strive for this year is to get our name out. I want Walker Valley Live to be known by at least everyone at the school whether it be by they follow us on social media, watch our morning show, or view our productions online. Social media is a huge thing for people right now whether it be adults or teenagers which means it is the best way we can reach people. Our morning show is sadly not watched by a lot of people in the building. I want it to be made as something people want to see everyday. I want to include the important things about the school, but incorporate teenager’s interests in it like a current event column or sports highlights. Lastly, I would like to appeal to the public that may not even be at Walker Valley. I want to show our broadcast out on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, so that people who may be out of state can still watch a family member play in a sport or perform in a musical activity. All in all, my end game vision for when I leave Walker Valley my senior year for the A/V Club is that our group of people is full of well educated and dedicated members and that our club and program is seen as an asset to Walker Valley high school. As Mr. McKay has said, “It all starts here.”

~ashlynn akiona