Don Hancock graduated from the E-Media Program in 2006. He had a strong interest in film, so Professor Kevin Burke recommended he look into getting a master's in film at the Savanah College of Art and Design.
Don took Professor Burke's advice. He was armed with his MFA in 2008 when CET, Cincinnati's public television outlet, was looking for a video producer.
“I always watched a lot of PBS shows; Frontline, Nova, Independent Lens, even the locally produced shows like we have at CET, like Focus, which is our community affairs show.”
What attracted Don to public television was the community aspect.
“I was very interested in community involvement and you get that a lot more with public broadcasting.
Don was fortunate enough to be at the right place at the right time. A friend in the business had heard about the opening and told him about it. Don says, “It definitely pays to network”.
When Don was hired at CET he was assigned to the Voices project. Voices is destined to be a program on CET's online outlet that features interviews with people in Cincinnati who have had an influence on the city over the years.
Don has interviewed people like Buddy La Rosa, the colorful founder of La Rosa’s Pizza, influental art gallery owner Phyllis Westin, and even E-Media’s Dr. Manfred Wolfram to name a few.
Don uses talent and skills learned in E-Media and grad school to help enhance the production value on Voices.
“I handle all the lighting, directions. I want my project to be kind of different instead of just the typical three point lighting that you learned about. I try to go for a little more dramatic feel to it. We kind of break the so-called fourth wall, where the participants sometimes look directly into the camera and it gives the impression that they’re speaking directly to the audience. Just little tricks like that. We try to experiment with them to really engage the viewer with what these people are saying, because a lot of the times their stories are really interesting.”
Producing Voices is not all creative fun though, as Don tells about the work involved in making each interview happen smoothly.
“Basically I’m the project coordinator for Voices and the producer. So I’m like a one man game. I do pretty much everything. I do pre-production, so I have to research potential participants. Then after that I schedule the interview, I bring the person into our studios. If they can’t make it, we are mobile."
At the end of the day, Don Hancock feels very satisfied and proud of the interesting work he accomplishes. He gets to meet fascinating people and learn all about them.
“I ask them questions as far as their motivations and also different things that had an impact on their life. All these different people and their stories; they have a huge, huge impact.”
Voices will be shown later this year on CETconnect.
Written by Jaramy Carmody, May 2009