Indiana State University Newsroom

Student videographer captures life outside the classroom

February 10, 2009

For college senior Justin Short, life is all about embracing challenges. During his undergraduate work at Indiana State University, Short has learned that those challenges are often found outside of a traditional classroom setting.

Short is the driving force behind a series of videos designed to personalize the university's programs and activities by spotlighting the students and staff behind them. A liberal arts major, Short is spending the spring semester working with the Office of Student Affairs on the video project.

"I've always been better at learning by experience. It's really paid off because I would not be able to do what I want to do from inside a classroom," Short said.

"Justin is living what we have embraced at ISU as experiential learning," said Mark Frederick, assistant to the vice president for student affairs for research and development.

Short is responsible for creating video features for the "Sycamore Experience" segment of the "Kevin McKenna Show," which airs each week during basketball season. He shoots, edits and writes the music for each piece. His first video installment featured scholar-athlete Jay Tunnell, member of the Sycamore men's basketball team. Other projects have included a student interview with ISU President Dan Bradley and an ISU history feature that will be shown at the 2009 Founder's Day program on Feb. 11.

"The goal of these video segments is to show the faces behind the work, to showcase what individuals are accomplishing," Short said.

Short hopes that students will be inspired by the stories in the videos and gain an appreciation of the success that comes through hard work. The videos will also highlight some of the services offered by the university and how students can take advantage of them.

Though most of his time is spent behind the camera, Short is well on his way to becoming a success story in his own right.

"Instead of just passive absorption of knowledge, Justin is engaging in the creative process," Frederick said. "That is exactly what college needs to be." Short works closely with Frederick on planning each video and the first two weeks of the project were spent setting up interviews and mapping out each piece. Working under a tight deadline has helped Short stay on task and make the most of his time, he said.

He knows the skills he's learning now will be transferable as he looks toward a career in the entertainment industry. He is already building an electronic portfolio of his work samples.

"Nowadays you have to have more than just talent," Short said. "You have to understand the work that goes into each project and be able to demonstrate that."

For Short, hard work is its own reward.

"When other students are out at parties or playing video games, I'm in my room working," he said. "I love it."

Short is in a band called Stone Paisley and hopes to go on tour with his fellow members this summer. He has always had an interest in music and said the video project parallels nicely with his work in the band.

"The whole idea of the band is challenge," he said. "It's a mix of chaos and control."

Harnessing that mixture has also been a challenge of producing the videos.

Short wants to convey a sense of originality and evoke an emotional response, while still making his work relatable and informative to audiences. Short has some experience with filmmaking, but had never written his own musical scores like those he uses in the videos. While the music was different from his usual acoustic performances with his band, he finds the new challenge rewarding.

"Music does two things: it makes people feel and it makes people move," he said. "For me, creating film is very spontaneous, but there is a formula behind it."

By understanding that formula and learning to manipulate it, Short hopes to reach a wide demographic through his work as a videographer. From a professional standpoint, Frederick knows that Short's work ethic will continue to pay off long after he graduates.

"I don't know of an employer who wouldn't want to hire someone who pushes the limits yet doesn't lose track of what the world will appreciate and respond to," Frederick said.

Short's project is an example of the university's increased commitment to experiential learning, Frederick said.

"Experiential learning is great way for a student to go from saying, 'I know I can do this,' to actually doing it," he said. "It's not lack of confidence that works against some students, it's a lack of demonstrable skills." Short has planned out a series of videos for the rest of the semester. While he knows it means late nights and the occasional 60 hour work week, he's looking forward to furthering his skills as he learns by doing.

"It all comes down to the challenge," he said. "I want to challenge myself to do something no one else can do."

The "Kevin McKenna Show" airs Tuesday nights at 10:30 on Terre Haute Fox affiliate WFXW.

View a sampling of of Justin's videos
Student interview with President Bradley
ISU history
Sycamore basketball player Jay Tunnell

Justin Short, senior liberal arts major at Indiana State University, is living what ISU has embraced as "experiential learning" by shooting video segments about fellow students and university programs.
"Lights ..." Indiana State University student videographer Justin Short sets up a light for a video feature.
"How about ..."Justin Short, senior liberal arts major and student videographer at Indiana State University, discusses a video shoot with Tammy Schaffer, director of the ISU Sparkettes.

Contact: Mark Frederick, assistant to the vice president for Student Affairs for Research & Assessment, Indiana State University, 812-237-3888 or

Writer: Emily Taylor, assistant director of media relations, Communications & Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

For college senior Justin Short, life is all about embracing challenges. During his undergraduate work at Indiana State University, Short has learned that those challenges are often found outside of a traditional classroom setting. By producing videos spotlighting the university's students, programs and activities, Short is living what ISU has embraced as experiential learning.

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