Senior Alex Chan manages SHS TV as the executive producer

January 23, 2011 — by Dylan Jew

On the average day, SHS TV executive producer senior Alex Chan can be found in the MAP building, where he is in charge of an entire staff of broadcast journalists.

His position is analogous to the duties of an editor-in-chief of a newspaper. All the videos have to get signed off by him before they can be published. He spends much of his time checking and editing videos made by on-air reporters.

Chan’s favorite part about being executive producer is the “freedom of being the boss and not having anyone in control of him.”

Chan’s path to this position began when he took Media Arts 1 as a sophomore. From there he became the unit producer in his first year at SHS TV. As the executive producer, he must know how to run everything. His advice is to other student applying for the sought-after position is to be interested in the production and produce quality work.

As a unit producer, Chan managed a group of six reporters. This year, Chan has the responsibility of making sure the other producers along with the entire staff are on task and on top of their deadlines. He keeps the operation running smoothly by checking in with SHS TV adviser Tony Palma and the other producers.

One down side to being the executive producer is not reporting and making videos or projects.

“I miss [the videos] sometimes,” Chan said. “I miss being creative and seeing the final product when it’s finished.”

In order to be a member of SHS TV, a student must have taken either Media Arts 1 or Journalism 1.

“I recommend taking media arts,” Chan said, “because Mr. Palma is the teacher, and it will help if he already knows you.”

There are many characteristics that define an executive producer. Students must be responsible, organized, assertive and good in both the media arts and journalism aspects of SHS TV.

“Students need to have a real interest in filming and journalism,” Chan said. “Don’t apply for executive producer just to put it on college apps.”

Having good leadership skills is also extremely important for executive producers. The executive producer needs to make sure the entire staff is on task and must have a lot of dedication. Good candidates are people who naturally lead group projects and team captains for sports.

With SHS TV still in its early stages, having started in 2009, the executive producer must be flexible and willing to learn at all times. Saratoga’s multimedia journalists are still settling into their $3 million facility, and they are constantly experimenting with new applications of the technology at their disposal. Chan has been busy this year making sure everything is set up the way he wants. As executive producer, he has launched the SHS TV website, advertising opportunities and the openings for videos.

Aspiring executive producers apply for the top position in May of their junior years, and Palma selects the applicant he feels is most capable of handling the position. “The best way to prepare for the position is to put yourself in producer-like situations,” Palma said. “From there you can learn and grow during these experiences.”

Above all, the executive producer must have a love of journalism and filming.

“If you want to lead, you’ll choose to do so,” Chan said. “Some people are leaders, others are followers. Know what you’re good at.”