Students extend invitation to Oprah
by Trent Carruthers
It started as a dream. Lynn Barth, a longtime fan of talk show celebrity Oprah Winfrey, had attended a taping of Winfrey’s show in Chicago. When Barth returned to the Valley her dream quickly snowballed when she shared it with several women friends and some Sierra Crest Academy students.
If the combined efforts of the women and seven students are successful, then the national television celebrity will soon be coming to the area.
Winfrey, during her syndicated show, will periodically visit small communities around the country in search of women age 50 and older who have a passion for life and interesting stories to tell.a
To entice the entertainer to pay a visit and promote the beautiful Valley and tell stories of several inspiring women to millions of her fans, the six women and students worked together to produce a video in hopes of bringing the media star to town.
The creative 38-minute, 45-second and 10-frame DVD titled “Passion in the Carson Valley” served as a school project for the students. The final version will be sent to Winfrey’s senior editor and producers to help persuade them to consider taping a show in the Valley.
The video features the jobs of Jan Shaw, owner of Body by Pilates Ð a favorite exercise routine of Winfrey, Sue Knight, owner of Wild Rose Inn, Rosina Bena, director of Sierra Nevada Ballet Company, Shiela Byington, creator of quilts depicting “The Creation,” a Negro spiritual poem, Sonnie Imes, artist, Sandy Goodfellow, Sierra Crest Academy, and Paula Corley, owner of Corley Ranch.
The video was directed and produced by Sierra Crest students Michelle Gibbon, Natalie Dunleavy, Billie Eisele, Kyle Liddicoat, Emily Shultz, Maggie Lee and Andrew Solomon with the help of Theresa Abraham-Noble, co-owner of Abraham-Noble Photography &Video Production in Minden and Dixi Dougherty of Sierra Nevada College.
The production features the motivational stories of six successful and passionate Valley business women age 50 and older. The women were interviewed and videotaped by the student crew while they worked under the tutelage of Abraham-Noble, who also donated much of the equipment.
Michelle, an eighth-grader, and Natalie, a seventh-grader, interviewed the business women on the video.
“At first I thought this project might be boring, but it was actually enjoyable. I learned so much,” said Natalie, who admitted to being “really nervous” during her first interview. “The women were inspiring and I quickly learned what an impact they have on the community. “Learning the technology was the hardest part. But Ms. Abraham-Noble was very helpful.”
Michelle said she dressed professional for her role as a reporter and took her responsibility seriously.
“These older ladies were not afraid to go for their goals and overcome hardship later in life,” Michelle said. “Their experiences in life were motivating to me. I think Oprah will also find it motivating.”
While Natalie and Michelle asked the questions in front of the camera, behind the scenes were Billie and Kyle operating the camera and Emily and Maggie doing the directing. Andrew handled the editing.
Goodfellow, an employee at Just Roses in Minden, enjoyed being interviewed by the girls.
“The crew was nervous and giddy, but they all did a good job,” said Goodfellow, who also attended the videotaping of the other five women’s interviews. “They kept getting better as their skills developed. What a great group of kids. They certainly learned a lot from this project to bring Oprah to town.”
After the interviews were completed, the hard work of post production began.
The students went to Abraham-Noble’s studio where they spent countless after-school hours electronically slicing away unwanted portions of the interviews and adding personal commentary on why Winfrey should come visit their school and community.
“The kids found out quickly that there was a lot involved with this project and it was going to require plenty of work,” Abraham-Noble said. “But it was their work. They made all the editing decisions. The final version of the video was entirely their piece of work.”
The students’ and women’s joint effort in producing the video was a learning experience for everyone involved.
They all agree that hopefully their combined efforts will entice Oprah Winfrey to bring her popular talk show to the Valley in the near future.
The final product will soon be available for viewing on a local access television cable channel.
— Trent Carruthers can be reached at 782-5121, ext. 210 or email@example.com.