By: Saya Fyock
- No one actually knows what’s going on. “DuckTV is the University of Oregon’s premiere, student-run television network full of passionate, hard-working individuals.” This is what I usually tell people when they ask me exactly what DuckTV is. Truth be told, it’s a lot more than that—it’s a melting pot of smart, driven, college students wanting to create cool (but occasionally weird) stuff. Upon entering DuckTV auditions during fall term of my freshman year, I was genuinely terrified. I assumed that everyone knew everyone else and that I was just a clueless new-kid who wouldn’t fit in. Turns out, I was (thankfully) very wrong. Just because DuckTV is a club (that you take as a class for credit—whoop!) that’s full of people, that doesn’t mean that they all know each other very well. I was cast into a show called Media Wars as an actor, and I walked into our table reading so nervous, listening to everyone interacting. I thought, Everyone is already friends with each other, I don’t belong here and I have no idea what’s going on. Turns out, a lot of these people had either a) never spoken to each other before or b) weren’t that close to begin with. Some of them even thought that I had been doing DuckTV Sports and had just crossed over to the “acting” side! That’s another thing! If you’re in DuckTV News or Sports, chances are, you’ll hardly have an opportunity to work with people who act or work as PA’s (production assistants) or even produce shows. The “Creative Shows” aspect of DuckTV is very separate from News and Sports. But the few times we break that “stigma” that there are different “cliques” in DuckTV, we end up using the studio for parody shows and have well-known broadcast journalists come in to cameo in an episode. It’s always entertaining to watch talented, confident actors who have been in DuckTV for multiple terms walk into the studio and go, “How do you put on a mic?” or have savvy reporters feel awkward acting while mocking themselves for a character they’re playing. When these “crossovers” happen, you soon realize that everyone has something to learn and that there’s no such thing as “knowing everything.” We’re all learning. We’re all growing. We’re no better than you are.
- You will never be alone. You’ll make life-long friends. There are so many different positions and opportunities for you at DuckTV. Whether it’s wanting to be on the big-screen, reporting on the latest story, or working behind-the-scenes with tech, there is a place for you here. Even if you’re not enrolled in the SOJC, I guarantee that you will find something you enjoy. We have business majors in DuckTV PR and English majors acting. Who said you had to be a journalism major to be involved? You’re surrounded by so many people with various majors and interests and talents—you’ve got options. Also, since we’re technically a “class,” there are weekly meetings that are basically just screenings you go to with your friends. Think about it as a one hour, once-a-week “movie night” that you attend for school credit. Painless, right? You’re going to be surrounded by fellow DuckTV members at screenings, on-set at productions, or on weekends in the studio. You’ll see us on social media, promoting our work. You’ll even see us wearing DuckTV merchandise, roaming campus (we have sick merch, btw). Basically, like most greek organizations, you’ll see us everywhere. #RushDTV, honey.
- You will learn to laugh at yourself (& enjoy laughing at others). I’ve acted for two terms and, more recently, I’ve been the host of DuckTV. Both times I’m on camera and both times I’ve screwed up. I’ve forgotten my lines and stared at my co-star in anguish instead. I’ve shown up late to shoots because my bike broke down. I’ve suddenly forgotten how to read/speak when prompted with a teleprompter. I even once had to run at a camera while swinging a microphone around, pretending it was a weapon (the photos for that made me look constipated). Every single time my face burns and it’s embarrassing as hell, but that doesn’t mean it’s not hilarious. That being said, I’ve watched my friends trip and fall on their faces during shoots. I’ve watched all of them forget their lines. I’ve seen them play the cringiest characters and still pull it off. I’ve seen them wear ’70s-inspired wigs on campus with equally awful mustaches. They’ve been drenched in fake blood in churches. They’ve pretended to be drunk in a library in front of concerned-looking students and frowning faculty. No matter how outrageous the task, they own what they do…and we love to see it happen.
- You will learn what patience truly is. Things fall apart & that’s OK. Sometimes the teleprompter decides to not work. Sometimes the mic hates you and the audio glitches and now you’re a mime. Sometimes people don’t show up to shoots and you end up having to do two people’s jobs at once. Sometimes people do show up, but completely unprepared and you have zero proper equipment. Sometimes you spend an extra hour (or more) on set because no one can remember their lines. Sometimes there will be deadlines that you think you’re going to miss. Sometimes the script ends up being an hour of cursing because apparently that’s all your brain can deliver. Sometimes you lose crewmembers because they showed up to the wrong location and you have to go fetch them. Sometimes it’s below 40 degrees and you’re shooting outside the Knight Library and you’re more focused on not freezing to death than you are acting. Like all things in life, you learn to live with it (and it makes for some damn good memories later on).
- You will build character (literally). Whether you’re playing a character that makes you squirm, or if you’re faking a smile for the camera while delivering news, you’re allowed to be this: human. College isn’t easy, and neither is life in general. We understand that things get tough. There may be times where your passion for learning or your need to be involved on campus suddenly wither to a deep, yearning for your bed and a heavy cry—and that’s OK. If there’s anything I’ve learned at DuckTV, it’s that you’re welcome back whenever you’re ready. I’ve had days where I would show up AWOL because my mind was too busy focused on things troubling me. I’ve spent countless shoots trying not to cry sometimes. There were moments during our weekly meetings that I wanted to run out and never come back; I would question why I was even doing DuckTV. Regardless, after taking a term off, I auditioned again—this time for a position in PR (and I do not regret it). Sometimes, you need a break. Or a different position. Or maybe, you decide that you hate DuckTV! That’s fine. The only thing you need to know about this place is that it will test you at times, but will also teach you how to handle yourself in difficult situations. So, even if the only character you’re portraying is yourself, pretending to be happy, understand that there are people here who can empathize and are willing to help. We’d love to have you here, tears and all.