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The Saratoga Falcon

The Saratoga Falcon

‘Out of This World’-themed SMASH’N event to show off the best of MAP

Anamika Anand
Smash’n will orbit around an “Out of this world” theme. 

On the most special night for the MAP, the McAfee will be lit with blue fairy lights and outer space-themed decorations as formally dressed MAP teachers, students and family file in, taking pictures and creating a lively buzz of anticipation. 

Each year in MAP, dozens of films, 2D art and projects of various genres are created by students of all grades. To celebrate students’ work, the formally dressed yet fun event Saratoga Media Arts Showcase Night (SMASH’N) brings together the MAP community and caps off the year. 

This year, SMASH’N will occur on June 2 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. and attendance free for anyone. 

SMASH’N is set up to run like the Oscars, with different award categories that have nominees selected by teachers and industry professionals. Snippets or pictures of each nominee are displayed before the winner of the category is announced and played fully for the audience. 

MAP Curriculum Coordinator Jason Friend said the first SMASH’N happened about a decade ago. The event has since evolved as students contributed new ideas, award categories have changed and projects have seen overall improvement with each passing year. 

Friend anticipates a successful show with roughly 400 attendees filling the McAfee Center, a common sight in pre-pandemic years. After coming back from the pandemic in 2022, MAP has been functioning at its highest level all throughout this year, he said. 

The various awards include the MAP 9 Curricular Project, MAP 10 Be the Change documentary, MAP 11 Video Poem, Senior Capstone Project and 2D Design, along with the grand prize, the Industry Award. This award recognizes the student with the top project of all nominees, determined by five judges who are professionals in the field of media such as filmmakers and animators, some of whom are even MAP alumni. 

Friend emphasized that SMASH’N takes a lot of effort to produce and many people have to work together to make the show run seamlessly. 

“I don’t think people understand just the many, many hours of work that go into creating the show,” Friend said. “It’s basically an all-year collaboration between the student-led committee, the teachers, and the MAP boosters.” 

According to senior SMASH’N co-head Miranda Yee, the planning kicked off at the beginning of the second semester. The first task was to pick a theme: This year, SMASH’N will incorporate an “Out of this World” theme to unite the different aspects of the event, such as the outer space-themed advertising posters, decorations and 30-page script that weaves the awards together. 

Since most of the show happens on screen, Media Arts teachers Joel Tarbox and Alex Hemmerich take over most of the video editing. The show will open with a fun introductory video called the “Cold Open,” followed by  awards and nominees introduced by volunteer emcee students. 

The biggest challenge in planning was the budget, Yee said. It was tough to know how much to spend on what and decorations such as fairy lights turned out to be quite expensive. However, the planning has overall gone smoothly; staff are now setting up decorations for the actual show. 

“It’s our biggest production year yet [in terms of preparation],” Friend said. “I want to give a shout out to the student-led committee this year, who has been incredibly on top of it and putting in a ton of work behind the scenes all year long.”

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