Friday, March 28, 2008

The First Post and the Finale

For my first post I thought of nothing better to talk about than the first annual Rock, Paper, Scissors championship. It was coordinated through the Calvin Video Network and seemed to be a great success.  I joined CVN during the “Cokes and Clubs” activity early in the year.  One of their first projects was the planning of a campus wide tournament of determination, luck, and intricate strategy (a.k.a Rock, Paper, Scissors.)  This plan only came to completion after Interim, however, under the very capable direction of Mike Rohlfing.  It all began with a group of us CVN folk holding tournaments at each of the seven dormotories as well as a special wild card tournament.  That footage can all be seen on the RPS website at  After two weeks of intense filming, Calvin’s sixteen best Rock, Paper, Scissors players had been found.  Finally it was time for the finale.

The RPS finale was set up in the Fine Arts Center.  It was going to be a massive show with two hosts (the very humorous Nick Vera and Ben Buursma) ten cameras rolling (including yours truly as cameraman #2) and even a fog machine (so you know it was cool.)  Before the show, everyone was running around setting up the final adjustments.  I had never done a live performance of this magnitude before and I was a bit nervous.  Not because we were doing it in front of a live audience, but because I was worried I would miss something crucial in the filming.  I could just imagine myself daydreaming and totally missing something important.  Also, I had gone rollerblading the day before and hurt my arm (the same one that was going to be holding the heavy, expensive camera for an hour.)  I have recently discovered that rollerblading, while fun, is definitely not my forte.  In fact, I am really, really bad at it.  I was unfortunately born without the gift of balance.  But, as they say, “the show must go on, regardless of rollerblading injuries.”  So I did some stretches and got into a concentrative mood.

The show began with Nick Vera giving an intentionally, overdramatic introduction while the fog machine coated him with smoky mystery.  I then swung my camera around to get Ben Buursma’s entrance and subsequent interview with the finalists.  He asked them important and relevant questions such as:  “If you could describe your feelings as a fruit, what would they be?” and “I see you throw a lot of paper.  Are you environmentally conscious about that?”  Then the contestants began their bouts of hand signals and I was right in the thick of it, capturing close-ups of the elation of victory and the sadness of defeat.  Before you knew it, it was down to the last two finalist, Sean and Griffin.  They took their seats while the fog machine really went to work and low tones built into a suspenseful crescendo over the FAC’s sound system.  After a couple nerve-racking bouts, Griffin was finally able to cover Sean’s rock with his paper and became the first Rock, Paper, Scissors champion of Calvin College.

The show was over and the audience left while Griffin and Ben were being interviewed by a local news station.  Personally, I thought it was a great experience.  I think it’s so cool when a group of people put on an elaborate performance for the sole purpose of making others smile.  This was one of the leading reasons of why I chose to go into film.

Posted by Joe Sonheim on 03/28 at 02:32 PM

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