TNDV Shares Production Skillset with Broadcast Students for CMA Fest

  • 18 December, 2023


Seven students from a Nashville-area high school join TNDV to produce CMA Fest,
offering students a genuine taste of the live production lifestyle.

Students from left: Maggie Lupear, Leah Taulbee, Dawson Binder, Sydney Petrel, Jonas Harmon, Kaison Carico, Dylan Hurewitz.

USA: TNDV has been in the business of giving back for 20 years both through live entertainment productions that captivate audiences and charitable work with varied organizations. The two areas converged recently for CMA Fest, a four-day country music festival, where TNDV provided local high
school students with the opportunity to work side-by-side with its professional production crew.

TNDV engaged with the media community at Stewarts Creek Television (SCTV), a student-led production and broadcast resource that operates on the campus of Stewarts Creek High School in Smyrna, Tennessee. That began with outreach to Christopher Bissinger, an instructor at the high school who oversees SCTV and the school’s A/V Production curriculum. He is also a friend of TNDV Founder
Nic Dugger, who first proposed the idea as a way of giving back.

“The only reason I have a career in television and live production is because someone older and wiser opened up their professional availability to me as a middle school student,” said Dugger. “Live production professionals are busy people, and the fact that multiple people went out of their way to help me learn from them, make mistakes and grow gave me the inspiration to give back. Smyrna is just outside Nashville and knowing the work that Chris and his students put into the SCTV program gave us the perfect opportunity to establish a meaningful hands-on educational opportunity in a dynamic production environment.”

Student Dylan Hurwitz on camera.

Bissinger chaperoned seven students, who regularly produce live-streamed events at the school and throughout Smyrna, to the festival. “Within two hours we had students behind cameras, operating equipment on the truck, and directing the production under the guidance of professionals,” he said.
“They understood their assignments and learned the importance of communication during an event between the stages and throughout the venue. It was helpful for them to experience first-hand that
what I have been teaching for all these years is a viable career path with diverse opportunities.”

TNDV produces several events CMA each year, with the relationship between the two organizations extending back 13 years. Events featuring TNDV’s production skills include CMA Touring Awards,
CMA Triple Play Awards and CMA Awards Red Carpet. The CMA Fest features multiple stages of free live music, with TNDV shooting at eight locations and managing image magnification for stage displays.

Student Dawson Binder directing.

“We had students helping us with all of the AV work to give attendees a more robust experience,”
said TNDV President Rob Devlin. “We also had students helping us with the graphics and playback, which were used for both live AV and streaming, as portions of the festival were broadcast. We even had them pulling cable. It was important to reduce the intimidation factor and make them realize that the credentials around their necks meant that they belonged there. They got the full experience instead of simply shadowing crew.”

Dugger adds that no student worked the same stage two days in a row, Instead, students were rotated not only for different technical perspectives but to meet members of the production community -
TNDV and otherwise - that cross a variety of specialties.

“They saw the riverfront stage with the big A-List artists, and worked the smaller indoor and outdoor stages to learn how productions scale in both directions,” said Dugger. “It was very hands-on and eye-on,
and was a true field study where students are fully immersed in the production environment.”

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TNDV Shares Production Skillset with Broadcast Students for CMA Fest