BY ELLEN ROSSOW
After a summer of waiting patiently, Scott Eickschen, a business administration senior, found out he won third place in the national “Freedom of Speech Public Service Announcement (PSA) Contest” in October.
The contest was produced by the non-profit organization National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation and the Broadcast Education Association.
Eickschen, who is also a mass communications minor, entered the contest last spring while taking a desktop video class required for his minor.
This year, two hundred students from around the nation took part in the competition. Each student submitted a 30-second PSA video, radio broadcast or interactive multimedia piece after being given the prompt “What does freedom of speech mean to me.”
An interactive multimedia piece can be a website, online interactive magazine or even a computer game.
Eickschen chose to do a video.
While his PSA is brief, Eickschen’s piece creatively uses a series of video clips woven together with music and text to discuss what it would be like if Americans didn’t have the right to express themselves freely.
Even though the PSA is only 30 seconds long, it took a lot of his spare time to produce.
“It took me about a week of my spare time,” Eickschen said. “But it worked well because it was an assignment as well.”
With the competition requiring students to shoot, edit and produce original material, Eickschen feels that he has grown in his skills because of the experience.
“It helped me to polish my skills,” Eickschen said. “I knew how to use Final Cut Pro, but producing a PSA for a national competition forced me to push my skills to the next level.”
Eickschen is very grateful for his professor, Martin Grindeland, for suggesting the class enter in the competition. Without his suggestion, Eickschen wouldn’t have had the opportunity he did.
For placing third in the competition, Eickschen was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and his video, along with the other winners’ entries, will be available for television stations to use.
Eickschen is proud of his accomplishment, not only because he succeeded without assistance, but also because he used his own music in the video.
“A major aspect of the PSA that I am proud of is the music,” Eickschen said. “The audio clip in the background is a clip of one of the songs that I have recorded.”
Although he is not going to school for it, Eickschen is very passionate about music.
“Music has played a huge part in my life,” Eickschen said. “I’ve been playing music since third grade. I started playing the violin, then the mandolin, then the guitar and now I can play seven instruments.”
Eickschen also sings lead vocals and plays guitar in a band in his hometown of Perham, Minn.
“And I write and record my own music,” Eickschen said. “Nothing serious, just a fun hobby.”
Eickschen is grateful that he was able to use his musical talents to help produce his video. In addition, he is glad he has been given the opportunity to participate in the contest.
The experience will be beneficial to him in his professional life, not only because of his growth of knowledge of video editing, but also because it shows a side of him that many in his major do not get to show.
“I feel that it is a good way to show employers my creative side,” Eickschen said. “Business administration is more of an analytical major, but I do have a creative side. Jobs involving creativity really spark my interest. I feel that the opportunity to display my creativity will be beneficial in the future.”
Eickschen’s PSA video, as well as the rest of the winners’ pieces, are available for viewing on freedomofspeechpsa.org.