“I'm captivated by the art of film and video, and fascinated by every aspect of visual storytelling,” said SSU-TV General Manager Alex Bretow. “SSU-TV gives me an opportunity to give back to students who can benefit from the knowledge I've obtained through my experiences in the industry.”
Bretow has a passion for the film and television industry, and in addition to his work in the classroom as a director, editor, producer and writer, he works as a freelance production assistant, production coordinator, production manager and occasional actor.
He has his own creative film and video company, Baldo-Bretow Pictures, which he cofounded with his creative partner, Mary-Madison Baldo.
SSU-TV is the premiere student-run television network on campus. SSU-TV produces footage which airs on Channel 27 of all university housing television networks and an online live-streaming network.
SSU-TV is also a media outlet course, COMS 369, for communication & media studies majors and other students to gain work experience in the film industry by creating the videos that are aired, including live campus-related news broadcasts, talk shows and short films.
Everything that is aired on SSU-TV is written, filmed and produced by Sonoma State University students and targets the community by offering productions considered relevant and interesting.
For example, some successful news production stories from past SSU-TV airings include interviewing Sonoma State’s former executive chef, Eric Lee from the Food Network, Green Music Center event coverage and a short film called “Break,” which won the Wild Card in last year’s the Campus MovieFest.
“It’s important for communication majors to have [this outlet] to gain experience in the field they want to go in,” said Sean Tadlock, a communication & media studies major and director of one of the short film groups in SSU-TV.
SSU-TV provides students with real-life experience of working in a studio with professional equipment.
As the general manager, Bretow shares his knowledge about the film industry with students in the SSU-TV media outlet course through weekly class discussions about film, television and broadcast industries, ways to become involved in these industries, different aspects and techniques of filmmaking, and equipment tutorials.
Bretow said he “tries to keep SSU-TV as professional as possible and model it to mimic the real-world industry as closely [as possible].”
Like Sonoma State as a whole, SSU-TV has evolved and grown over the years. What began as a simple broadcast television network has spread to include a new online live-streaming presence.
The professional equipment and editing software used have been upgraded, “improving the quality of footage and capability of students to capture footage with higher production values,” Bretow said. “What’s next for SSU-TV is big. It’s the move from our traditional, hardly managed campus-wide television to an elegant 24/7 [live]-streamed online television service.”
The internet site is designed to exemplify Netflix or Hulu and will feature special content from students, for students.
SSU-TV will provide the ability to watch live on-campus events, such as live-broadcast sporting events and theater performances for students and their families to enjoy from the comfort of their own home. Also found on the site will be pre-recorded original short films, episodic series, archived news stories, music videos, commercials and news stories available at all times.
SSU-TV surveyed students about what they would like to see on this new online service, and popular responses included live-broadcasted sports, student game shows, live coverage of Greek Olympics, theatre productions and other events, talk shows, original romantic comedy and dramatic episodic series.
SSU-TV has developed partnerships with local businesses that will financially support the communication & media studies department and the new online service.
Student feedback and suggestions are highly encouraged. For any students with an idea for new content or service that SSU-TV can provide, email firstname.lastname@example.org. Contact Bretow as well at email@example.com with any questions or suggestions.