The week leading up to Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis was more than memorable for Anderson University senior Andrew Stuart.
Stuart, along with recent graduate Josh Blankenship, worked as a production assistant for the Super Bowl edition of NBC’s Late Night with Jimmy Fallon at Hilbert Circle Theatre in Indianapolis. The show held three tapings throughout the week as well as the show’s first-ever live performance the night of the Super Bowl.
“I had never really watched the show before this, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect,” said Stuart. “They told us to have an open mind and expect to do a lot of different things.” The pair was always on the go, filling a variety of needs on and off the set.
[Photo: Josh Blankenship and Andrew Stuart talk about their roles with NBC's Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.]
At one point, while on a food run for Tracy Morgan, Stuart realized he was living out an episode from one of his favorite television shows, 30 Rock. In one episode, one of the characters is sent on a similar errand for Morgan before he has to go on another late-night program that evening.
Blankenship, who graduated in December with a degree in broadcast production, had a similar moment when he was asked to stand in for the Indianapolis Colts cheerleaders during a rehearsal for the live show.
“I was dancing around on stage with Jimmy Fallon,” said Blankenship. “As silly as it was, it was definitely a cool experience.”
AU junior and audio/video/cinema production major Patience Randle was also on hand working with MidAmerica Jibworks and NFL Films as an assistant jib operator. A jib is a crane device with a camera on one end and a counterweight with controls on the other.
“I think everything I’ve learned at AU helped me throughout the week,” said Randle. “I didn’t freak out because I had been through mock television productions like this before. I knew what to expect, and how to help with what I could.”
As a part of the production program at AU, students work with Covenant Productions®, gaining valuable experience in the field while working on student and client-led projects such as the annual production of Candles and Carols.
Randle's experience at AU has helped her keep an open mind when placed in new situations. “Helping to construct my first jib was awesome,” said Randle. “I had never put one together before, but the jib operator was really patient and talked me through the process. I learned so much about the television production business. Through this I realized that I'm not only interested in film, but I now enjoy television as well.”
All three students said they had amazing experiences working with professionals, despite the long hours. Stuart said that he was on hand for 18 hours on the last day.
“That is just part of it,” said Stuart. “It didn’t feel long. I truly enjoyed every minute of it.”
Other Anderson University alumni working on Super Bowl coverage include David Neidert BA '07 and Luke Renner BA '98, both working with the NFL Network; and Samuel McDonough BA '03, working with Puls4, an Austrian NFL affiliate.
— Charles Holcomb is a junior from Westfield, Ind., majoring in communication arts and political science. Holcomb is an associate with Fifth Street Communications™, writing on behalf of the Anderson University Office of University Communications.
Anderson University is a private Christian university of 2,600 undergraduate and graduate students in central Indiana. Anderson University continues to be recognized as one of America's top colleges by U.S. News and World Report, The Princeton Review, and Forbes. Established in 1917 by the Church of God, Anderson University offers more than 65 undergraduate majors and graduate programs in business, education, music, nursing, and theology.