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Friday, November 27, 2020

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UH, Baylor partner up for STD awareness


Students worked long hours to film and produce the online series “Caught Off Guard, ” which will premier in mid-March to raise HIV awareness among low-income teens. | Courtesy UH CLASS

Media productions students joined with Baylor to produce a web series to raise awareness about STDs for teens from low-income neighborhoods.

The 17 students from the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication worked for the past year on putting together the six-webisode series “Caught off Guard.”

“It’s been a great experience,” Jennifer Vardeman-Winter, associate professor, said. “From the beginning to the end it’s been a great partnership.”

Students gained work experience during the filming and producing.

“These students have gotten the chance to write and develop these scripts, and they have videos now that they can put on their resume,” Vardeman-Winter said.

The series is about a couple named Brandon and Ashley, and the unexpected behavior of the boyfriend, who contracts chlamydia from a different sexual partner.

The students’ webisodes will premier on Baylor’s website starting in mid-March.

The project required the students to work long days, mostly on weekends, with early 6 a.m. call times to load equipment and get set up at the shooting location by 8 a.m., media production manager Ward Booth said.

The students would shoot at two or three different locations in one day and be back in school by 7 p.m, Booth said.

Baylor decided to work with UH’s media production department based on the resources and equipment it had to offer.

“What we had to offer was what they needed,” Valderman-Winter said. “They needed someone who could do the research and they needed a facility that could do the media production, and we have both of those.”

Booth and Valderman-Winter were the staff and faculty members working on the project. Valderman-Winter was in charge of doing research for the series, while Booth was in charge of the media production aspect of the project, which included working with the students.

Tamecia Henderson, a UH alumni, was a senior when the production started, and she served as the writer, director and producer of the film.

“I stumbled into the producer-director role,” Henderson said. “Originally I was recruited as just a writer.

“My manager and teacher at the time, Professor Heath, offered it to me. He said, ‘You wrote the script, do you think you can take on these other roles?’ That’s what I did and I embraced it.”

Students selected for the project received credit for the communication’s Special Problems course and had completed basic and advanced production courses.


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