Alumni from BSU Tonight attended a reunion show taping on Sept. 23. At least 10 alumni were involved with the taping of the show.
Peter Ellingsworth, a 2004 alum, was a BSU Tonight producer for three years. He majored in telecommunications production and said the show has become much more technical since his days in Studio C.
Thanks to technology, Ellingsworth is able to watch the show on YouTube.
“I feel like they’ve taken what we’ve created and just have upped the ante. They post everything online, which is great. YouTube didn’t even exist when we were in college,” Ellingsworth said. “It’s exciting [to be back] … [a] blast from the past.”
Ellingsworth currently lives in Burbank, California and works as a senior producer for reality TV.
“Pretty much everything that I used to get the job and in the job, I learned just working hands-on at BSU late night,” he said.
Shane Heimann, also a 2004 alum, entered his freshman year of college as an undecided major.
“I thought maybe I’d be a physical therapist or a dental assistant or something lame and I met Kevin [McCaffery] and he was like ‘hey, I’m getting involved in this show, you’re weird, you wanna come to a couple meetings?” Heimann said. “I went to a couple meetings and it was kinda interesting and it kinda steered my path towards tcomm and film and television.”
As a producer for the show, originally called Sum it Up, Heimann wrote, directed and edited in addition to creating packages.
“I spent five times as much energy and time doing the show than I did class. I skipped class all the time because the show was the most important thing to me.” Heimann said. “It defined my college experience. That single show, BSU Late Nite, was everything … if someone says ‘tell me about your college experience’ that’s the first thing I would talk about.”
He currently lives in Queens, New York as a sales support associate, but previously did work for the Travel Channel, VH-1 and The Late Show with David Letterman.
For Heimann, the reunion show was surreal and a dream that he was thrilled to be a part of.
“I still think about it, we still talk about it, we still reminisce, we’re doing it again, we’re back,” he said.
Jamie Jones, a 2005 alum, discovered BSU Tonight at the activity fair and participated all four years. She worked with producers, acted in sketches and did teleprompter and camera.
At the start of her Ball State career, Jones wanted to be a journalism major and eventually write for a magazine.
“I switched to tcomm so I could do broadcast journalism because I really loved working with the camera, I loved filming things,” Jones said. “I learned how to edit, so [BSU Tonight] really just kinda transformed what I wanted to do.”
For her, the show felt similar and she could see the level of involvement and excitement among the Ball State students currently working on the show.
Jones transitioned from a career in marketing and promotions to finance, but the skills she learned in BSU Tonight have benefitted her in her current career in Las Vegas.
“I’m very good at communicating and helping people reach their goals, so i just think being able to do a show like BSU Late Night where you get to tell a story and you get very good about clearly giving your message has helped me do my career now,” Jones said. “It definitely gave me a chance to have a strong voice and communicate with others.”
Nick Pride, a 2005 telecommunications graduate, also participated in BSU Tonight for four years as a producer.
He discovered the group at SuperParty. an event that allows students to meet representatives from each CCIM organization on campus.
“Something about this Sum It Up show … really appealed to me. I just wanted to write funny stuff and they seemed like my people,” Pride said. “I probably worked more hours at that job than my current job in the real world.”
Pride currently works for HGTV in Knoxville, Tennessee as an integration producer. He currently watches BSU Tonight online.
Pride spoke to some BSU Tonight students earlier in the day as part of a panel.
“[The students] reminded me a lot of myself, and I’m sure I went to similar things,” Pride said. “I feel like I connected with a few kids.”
Camille Suknovich, current executive producer of BSU Tonight and a senior telecommunications major, has been involved with the show since the first semester of her freshman year.
Suknovich was also able to attend the BSU Tonight alumni panel.
“It was a networking opportunity, but it was definitely cool to get to talk to them about what they do for a living and kind of the different things they do in the industry,” she said. “Most of us at BSU Tonight want to get into that industry, so getting to ask them questions and kinda pick their brain about what to do post-grad, that was awesome.”
Written by Michelle Kaufman