Film and Video department’s alumni podcast returns


Courtesy / GVSU

Allison Bair, Staff Writer

Grand Valley State University’s film and video production program’s podcast, “Alumni Live,” is airing its second season as the fall 2022 semester begins. This season will explore film and video related issues. 

The podcast connects current GVSU students to alumni working in the field who are able to share relevant, career-focused information.

The first season of the series totaled 14 episodes, each about an hour long, that discussed the film and video major.

GVSU alum, “Alumni Live” Board member and television production specialist, Randy Strobl, hosts the podcast where he interviews and explores topics with GVSU alumni and faculty who have succeeded in the entertainment industry.   

The series started during the COVID-19 pandemic when many students were forced to go remote, canceling many workshops meant to help them work toward their future career goals. The film and video department decided that in order to bridge this gap in resources they would create new opportunities virtually.

The podcast originated as a livestream where viewers could ask questions to featured speakers and receive answers in real-time.

GVSU film and video alum, professor and campus liaison Suzanne Zack said since college life can be fast paced and hard to schedule around the board decided to repackage the sessions as a podcast to expand their viewership.

“We turned all of the content we had created thus far into podcast episodes and we’re going to begin creating more podcast episodes this year,” Zack said. 

The podcast works to connect listeners both to information about specific areas in filmmaking and to alumni spotlights who work in the entertainment industry. The podcast has developed beyond basic resources but Zack said she hopes to connect students to a wider community of professionals. 

“We were trying to figure out how to best connect with students, still connect with alumni and bring the two together,” said president of the Film and Video Alumni Network board Katie Dehn.

Strobl said they found that with the podcast they had the ability to expand their reach across the country.

“We learned that we can bring alumni from other cities and all of the sudden it’s coast to coast and it’s not just people who are local to West Michigan,” Strobl said. “We even had some international people come in and talk about their experiences.” 

Students have the opportunity to work on “Alumni Live” as an internship opportunity. Through this experience students can gain valuable skills and experience in related fields, such as contacting people, working closely with production, conducting research and networking.

“We were trying to figure out how to best connect with students and alumni while bringing the two together,” Dehn said.

All alumni interviewed on the podcast have approved contact information for students to reach out to. The podcast acts as a guide for students to gain resources for capstone courses, learn more about different aspects of the field and review outside of a classroom setting. 

“The idea is to get people aware of this resource and start using it,” Zack said. “This is one of my go-to resources to say, ‘Here, you want to learn about working in the game industry? Listen to this one.’ And then you can reach out to the people who are in that video.”  

The second season of “Alumni Live” will focus on issues in the film industry and is set to release Sept. 6 at 8 a.m. New episodes will be available every Tuesday at 8 a.m. All episodes are available wherever listeners podcasts.