Versatility in regards to the Video Awards Competition is anything that sets your male and female anchor entries apart from the other entries. The options for versatility are wide-open for interpretation under the judging rules. So, this is meant to assist you and your students with understanding what versatility means in regards to your entries.
Versatility includes but is not limited to:
Filming locations – Get out of the studio and even off-campus and show your anchor in a variety of locations. A quality of great on-air talent is the ability to work no matter the environment. This is especially important during interviews. For instance, your anchor is reporting on location at the Sheriff’s office, interviewing Grady Judd. Which would be a better option for an interview? Inside his office or inside the Emergency Command Center? In this case, the command center would be the most interesting option. Your audience knows what the inside of an office looks like and quite frankly they are boring. However, taking viewers into places they themselves will most likely never see, elevates your interview or report to a higher level of professionalism and makes it more interesting to watch.
The simplest way to gain access to these areas is to simply ask for a tour of the facility when setting up the interview or when requesting access to the location. Most folks will jump at the chance to show off their place of business. You can even ask if you can film all or part of the tour in order to have b-roll for your segment! Two birds, one stone.
Even on-campus filming locations can be interesting. Lunch announcements can be made from inside with kitchen or reports on health and fitness can be filmed on the PE field. Have an announcement about the recent butterfly garden installed on campus? Film a segment in the garden instead of showing just b-roll or pictures.
Note: One trend we are seeing in many entries is a still photo of a school hallway or other location around campus used as the chroma keyed background image. Please discontinue this practice. Chroma key is a way to place your anchors in interesting locations, but if it’s just a location on your school’s campus, especially the hallway right outside the studio, strongly consider filming the segment on location.
Costumes – Audiences love when anchors show off their personality. The use of costumes while reporting the news, will showcase your anchor’s personality and will help with “buy-in” from the audience. Anything, you can do with wardrobe is considered costuming.
For instance, if an anchor is on location at a Halloween or event, have them in a costume. Likewise, if they are reporting from a farm, have them in overalls and a straw hat.
Even if you are on campus, costumes can still be utilized. Reporting on the lunch, wear a chef’s hat. Have a themed show such as Thanksgiving or Veteran’s Day? Dress your anchors in clothing or costumes appropriate for those topics.
Skits/Music Videos – Utilizing skits and music videos in your news shows can elevate your anchor and your show to another level. The use of short film techniques such as scriptwriting and acting will give your anchors a chance to showcase their personality in a big way.
The most important thing to remember when doing this is that your first job is to report the news, not make a short film or music video. Writing the script correctly with regard to this stipulation is difficult, but worth the effort to your viewers.
Because of this difficulty, use the “make once, use many” mindset. Need an Instructional Academic Video? Produce your video as a music video with your anchor as the talent. This can double as both your Instructional Academic Video or Music Video entry and a clip for your anchor.
Traditional News – Don’t forget that traditional news segments such as behind the news desk, stand-ups in front of a green screen, or interviews around campus are considered part of versatility as well. For competition purposes, it is recommended to limit their use as including too many will limit your anchor’s versatility score.