By Darq Neimark | firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Augustine and some of its residents can prove to be very quirky and interesting people. “Ancient City Stories” is a new series first aired early this October produced by Flagler students and alumni that seeks to shed light on notable St.Augustine locals. The show has been picked up by CW-17 in Jacksonville and airs once a week on Sundays at 6 pm.
“Ancient City Stories began after a meeting between (between Flagler and CW-17). We discussed what St. Augustine had to offer and saw the potential to tell stories about the vast history and unique community,” said Josh Wallace, executive director of the new program.
The crew that helped craft this first season includes: Shannon LeDuke, a Flagler alumni with a BA in communications; Madison Ciklin, a producer for Ancient City Stories; current Flagler senior Ben Whitson, another producer for Ancient City Stories and a student and artist at Flagler; Brady Bigalke, who is a Flagler alumni and creator of Noble Light Productions; Sina Eslami, a senior at Flagler majoring in Cinema and Media Studies; Elizabeth Eustace who is a senior at Flagler studying media production; Bernadette Januska, who studies Graphic Design here at Flagler; and Samantha Brown, another senior at Flagler.
“This is an opportunity for them [the students] to figure out what works for them and what makes them unique and valuable to future employers as well as creating feature stories for television,” said Wallace on the experience that Ancient City Stories is giving to students.
Being a crew composed of Flagler students and alumni, the team meshed easily in coming together to produce a complete first season.
“It was fun working with Ancient City Stories. We all usually have classes together so we know how each person works. We didn’t always work together since we’re all producers for the show. We each had our own stories to tell and only worked together when needing assistance.”
To give you an idea of the types of St. Augustine residents that Ancient City Stories features, their first episode aired this season included Stephen DiMare, owner of The Hyppo — a gourmet popsicle shop and artisan cafe; Yannick Burklin, one of Flagler’s young, up-and-coming artists; Alanna Donnelly, a mother and sustainable liver living in the heart of Lincolnville for the last 30 years; and Dawn Nebergall, an employee at the local carousel. Crew members pitch ideas on potential filming subjects to Wallace, who has final say and seeks to include people who demonstrate good things about St. Augustine living.
“We have a piece called “Cookin’ for a Cause” that is about a restaurant in Hastings that gives 5 cents per plate sold to the Council on Aging. This may not sound like a lot, but it is the idea that they are embracing — that a little can go a long way — that is interesting to me and I think it deserves some time in the spotlight.”
A lot of work goes into the collaboration and execution of producing an episode, from agreeing upon a time with the interviewee to going on location and actually filming.
“Filming takes a lot of planning. You have to agree on a time, place and date with the interviewee and make sure you get there early to set up. There’s a lot of odds and ends that you have to make sure are just right like the lighting. Once you have figured out how everything will be set up and have filmed the interviewee you need you take it to the editing lab and log it,” said Ciklin.
Hard work and a lot of creativity has gone into the filming and production of the first season for the show. Wallace believes that the future can be very bright for “Ancient City Stories.”
“I hope the show has multiple seasons and we get to the point where I have a student crew that produces, directs and does the final edit as well as delivery of the show. For now, though, I will be happy getting through the first season.”
Catch episodes at ancientcitystories.com