The GMercyU Digital Communication Student Media Crew




The Story Behind Faith and Non-Violence Content

A behind the column look at the creation of a series containing content on faith and Non-Violence.

Why Faith and Non-Violence?

iStock: NoonVirachada

During my Digital Communications capstone course this semester, my classmates and I selected one of the Sisters of Mercy’s Critical Concerns and applied the skills and talent we have developed through the program to create content exploring the concern.  At the beginning of the semester, our class got together and discussed which critical concern we would select. After many discussions, we decided to focus our content creation on Non-Violence. I chose the specific area of faith and Non-Violence. This was an easy decision for me; growing up attending catholic school and surrounded by faith my entire life, I was already aware of the profound impact it could have on individuals. Being a student-athlete, when times are tough, I always look back on my faith to recenter myself, which has helped craft me into the person I am today.  

My main goal in this series was to spread awareness of what faith can do for an individual in a Non-Violent way. I needed to highlight the importance of a Non-Violent lifestyle and how faith can promote that. The other main goal in this series was to address the fact that while many faiths are different, many of them still strive for the same goals of being and living a life of Non-Violence. These were all highly intriguing goals for me, which made it easy to select this topic. 

Lastly, not only did this project give me the opportunity to spread awareness of faith and Non-Violence, but it also provided me with a chance to dive deeper and learn more about different faiths, an opportunity I could not miss.

Skill Development

Before this capstone course, students take various courses in the content production realm to prepare them for the real world. Whether it is podcasting, video production and editing, or mobile content creation, you gain a wide range of skills needed to be successful in this industry. This class encapsulates these skills and so much more.

To produce multiple layers of content on the same subject, deep, intense research is needed to generate engaging content for an audience. Our first two pieces of content were written blogs surrounding our specific topics. This allowed me to conduct a significant amount of secondary research to learn about the subject and tell a story. Beyond the blogs, this research set me up in a perfect position for my later content. Known, deeply immersed, and informed on the subject, I was able to enter my interviews highly educated, which allowed for better interviews and better clips of the content. 

This specific instance taught me not only the proper amount of research needed to tell a story but also how to search through different, reliable sources to gather compelling information. Now, I know how to conduct research from various perspectives to help cover all aspects of the subject. This will allow me to continue producing better content and grow my overall knowledge as a student. 

 Another skill I obtained throughout this semester was proficiency in Adobe Premiere Pro. While previously involved with Adobe from different classes, this time around, many tips and tricks were learned throughout the editing process.

One tip I learned was the ability to adjust the size of the track, with options to make it both bigger and smaller. In previous times, while editing, I had always had a difficult time trimming and cutting clips because the display was so small. After finding out how to expand this and make it larger, it made this specific process a whole lot easier.

Another fast tip I learned was copy-pasting clips; this was extremely useful when using our branded lower thirds; instead of redoing the branded lower thirds each time, copying and pasting the first and changing the titles was much more efficient.

Finally, the last tip I learned was using the clip magnet to lock and place clips on the track in certain spots. Understanding when to and when not to use it is extremely helpful in editing. Obtaining these little skills helps save so much time and allows me to be much more efficient when editing, giving me the chance to have more time to focus on other areas.

Challenges and Hardships

As mentioned in the video, finding external sources for interviews was a difficult challenge, causing me to pivot from my original plans and think on the fly. But even after getting sources, I was in a significant time crunch because of my difficulties in the first place. This caused hours upon hours of editing and preparing for interviews daily. Ideally, you would like some time between sessions to let your mind freshen up and be open to new creative ideas; while this was not the case, we could still grind it out and have a great experience. 

In the future, I can learn from this and manage my time much more efficiently. I should not have waited and given so many opportunities to others where there needed to be more communication. Also, having backup plans and other strategies to prepare for things like this is crucial. 

Overall, challenges are essential if you want to be a content creator. It is in these hardships or even failures that you not only learn how you handle unique situations, but you learn more about yourself. The more you grow and experience, the more well-versed you will be in this industry, which can only lead to more success. 

Multiple Pieces, One Topic

In my first-ever attempt at creating a series of content under the same topic. It was crucial to produce diverse, entertaining content that was all linked together.

In my first multimedia piece, a podcast with Michelle Sherman, I wanted to introduce her, talk about her upbringing in faith, and touch on her impact with faith and Non-Violence. Knowing I had two more pieces of content left, I wanted to save specific clips for the final piece. This way, I grab the audience’s attention from this original podcast and then get them to view the final piece, where it all comes together. Check out the podcast here!

In the second piece, a single source video with Jeff Wallace, a similar approach was taken. I wanted to introduce Jeff, discuss his beginnings with faith, and talk about an organization involved with Non-Violence. Knowing I was going to discuss another organization in the final piece, it was essential to keep the video more surrounding himself; that way, in the final video, the audience already knows and is comfortable with him, very similar to the podcast with Michelle. Watch the video here!

In the final piece, Michelle Sherman, Jeff Wallace, and Sister of Mercy Suzanne Gallagher are present, and this is the finale. This is where I wanted to showcase their inspirations, involvements, events, and organizations. I wanted everything to come together in this final clip, taking the audience on a journey and ending with the most engaging information. See how everything came together here

Overall, having the opportunity to create content in a series like this was an incredible opportunity. With a smaller class, I could interact with my classmates and professor, work on rough cuts and edits, gather suggestions, and even brainstorm. The most unique opportunity this series provided me was the ability to form external connections in the interviews I did. Building these external relationships, meeting new people, and learning new things is what it’s all about, and it was my honor to highlight this through a series of Faith and Non-Violence. 

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About the Contributor
Tim DiRusso
Tim DiRusso is a junior digital communications major at GmercyU. A pitcher on the baseball team at GmercyU, he aspires to  work in the sports world of communication. In his work he aims to display the values individuals provide while giving them a positive platform to work on.
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