OPINIONS SHARED ON THIS WEBSITE DO NOT REFLECT THOSE OF MSTv PRODUCTIONS.
“MyScene TV” is a multi-platform series highlighting local food, music and entertainment in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with satellite branches in Dallas, New Orleans, South Korea, Washington, D.C. and Mexico City. Named for the network on which it originally aired, I discovered MSTv late one night in 2013 while putting away laundry. I loved the concept and the feel of the show, but I knew that they could use my help when it came to the visual aspect; the show was still in standard definition cropped to 16:9, and relied heavily on stock graphics that said nothing about the show.
"MyScene TV" episode #506 (2011)
An early episode before I joined the show, featuring the original virtual set.
I emailed MSTv that next day, asking for work as a means of leaving my dead-end job at a local libaray—no luck. Six months later, I heard from showrunner Kent Bloxson once again as he needed an updated virtual set; in January 2014, this would become my first official foray into broadcast production. The virtual set debuted in March of that year for their mid-season six premiere.
"MyScene TV" episode #608 (2014)
The March 2014 debut of my first virtual set.
Over the course of two weeks, I created two concepts, the latter of which would be used for interviews and an events calendar. The designs featured footage looking down Fourth Street from the capitol building. This project would lead to me joining “MyScene TV” as Visual Graphics Producer, later co-executive producer and host, producing the majority of the Baton Rouge-area packages beginning with season eight in 2016. I also began filming the “in-studio” green screen standups myself during that time, eventually editing the full episodes by season eleven in 2019.
THE VIRTUAL SET
MSTv STUDIOS 2014
From 2011 to 2014, the show used a stock design Kent found online. He wanted a similar feel once I stepped in, but I wanted to give him something far better than the trash found on the internet as we speak. This high-energy design made use of wash lights and vertical 16:9 displays, which were still in style at the time.
Since the show was inspired by the long-running Euromaxx as well as classic MTV, I created the spinning globes as an homage to MTV News. The main screen was a random idea I came up with based on the show’s title card at the time. That graphic would replace the old title for the rest of the season.
This studio contained six camera angles, plus an interview set.
MSTv STUDIOS 2015
I created my second set for the show fresh off the heels of a failed pilot. Always making use of a great design, the set was repurposed for MSTv’s seventh season, which would become my first season as host. This allowed me more control over camera placement in the design to ensure that the compositing would look as natural as possible. Much like the previous set, this one made use of imagery shot on-location in and around downtown Baton Rouge, anchored by a video loop of the city’s Town Square.
Geared towards a younger generation, I added the show’s hashtag backlit on a faux brick wall. Midseason, I’d replace rightmost corner of the set with a lounge featuring a video loop driving through the city’s Third Street nightlife district. I revived the mini-stage concept from the first design—this one was adorned with the show’s logo—with a social media wall and marquee plugging the web and email addresses.
This set contained 25 camera angles and a whopping 30 cutaway shots.
MSTv STUDIOS 2016
Before I began filming the hosting standups on my own, we filmed them in an old bank building, whose main room measured 40 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Here, built to scale, a 50” x 25” cube would serve as my muse. Elements were then copied, pasted and optimized from the 2016 re-design, directly inspired by a photo from user @notflavio on Instagram.
Most of the set pieces were rearranged or improved through increased experience in 3D modeling and virtual set design, with the studio now anchored by a hardwood stage and a curved wall that would change depending on the block (segment) of the show or the topic being discussed.
Calling back to my very first design, as well as the Instagram photo, I reintroduced wash and spotlights for accents, adding a miniature bar as a nod to the coverage of local bars in the Baton Rouge area. The far left side of the room was then filled with a video array and seating area directly based on the lounge from 2015, but modeled after a similar setup in the 4th floor newsroom at NBC’s 30 Rock.
This set contained eight camera angles and three cutaway shots.
MSTv STUDIOS 2019
Virtual sets were reintroduced after a year of filming on a makeshift set. After watching old MSTv episodes, as well seeing new set designs for studio 1A at NBC’s 30 Rock and the NBC/MSNBC Democratic Deabtes, I began playing around with ideas for the upcoming season, ultimately calling back to the show’s roots.
This current design included elements from all of my other sets, while being arranged in a way directly in accordance to the show’s original backdrop. Kent noticed the parallels immediately. Trading hot pink for metals and blues, this simplified design relied more on graphic elements than structures, with images of LED panels burnt into the graphics of the video walls for photorealism.
A 72” TV was mounted to a grille pillar from my first set, with a video loop from my second design hidden behind the exaggerated “MSTv” signage—changing colors for each of the six international branches of the show. The sign lit pink to honor the Spanish Town Carnival parade.
This final set has only three camera angles.
Since assuming the role of lead graphic designer in 2015, new graphics packages were created for season 7 (2015), season 9 (2017) and season 11 (2019), all based on little montages Ken created for earlier seasons. I chose a “nightlife” motif, which led to the evolution of the logo from an aimless comic book theme, to a combination of channel letters, LED board and neon signage.
Lower-third banners made use of imagery from the various cities that “MyScene TV” films in, with full-screen graphics using footage of various festivals and landmarks in the Baton Rouge area. With the help of vector graphics, B-roll from several segments was repurposed as bumpers to introduce the primary genres of the stories: food, music, arts & entertainment, fashion, technology, health & wellness, drinks, commumity, and local interest. By 2019, some graphic elements were shot manually, directly based on “This Is Houston” and inspired by “Stranger Things.”
“MyScene TV” Season 9 Graphics Package (2017)
“MyScene TV” Season 11 Graphics Package (2019)
I also created a music package for the show, replacing file music with a remix of my 2010 track, “f497.”
I began producing the majority of the Baton Rouge packages during season eight in 2016, while working at the local NBC/Fox affiliate where I’d learn the many aspects of broadcast journalism, and augment my existing production skills. Rather flat, lifeless interviews with an overzealous host became cinematic and intimate, with the guests eagerly telling their own stories. I also began filming the “in-studio” green screen standups myself, handed off to Ken to be edited into the full broadcasts.
By season 11 in 2019, however, I had garnered enough knowledge and experience to begin editing all of the episodes that season, starting with my standups, to the intro tease and everything after. My second such edit went on to win the 2021 Silver Telly Award for the Television Craft—Use of Live Video/Broadcast.
Louisiana International Film Festival (2015)
MSTv covered that year’s event, featuring an early screening of the film Spy with Melissa McCarthy.
North Baton Rouge (2016)
This story, prompted by an open letter to Baton Rouge officials on Facebook, received recognition from the National Association of Broadcasters. The footage was also used for “The Fifth Estate” episode “Police Shootings: Caught on Camera” on CBC in Canada.
New Orleans Jazz Museum (2017)
I spoke with curator and WWOZ-FM host David Kunian about the exhibits at the Old U.S. Mint.
"MyScene TV" Exclusive - Three Roll Estate (2017)
I was the first journalist to give an in-depth look inside the much-anticipated Three Roll Estate (formerly Cane Land Distilling Company) in downtown Baton Rouge. This three-part feature introduces their team while taking you behind-the-scenes of the distilling process, as well as giving a taste of one of their creations.
A two-part story at the premier fitness megaplex in Baton Rouge, updated to reflect their move to a larger facility.
Simply Just Joe (2018)
SIMPLÍ designer Joe Hodge was featured in the 2018 Baton Rouge Fashion Week.
Stardust Roberts (2018)
Days before moving to Houston, I interviewed Star Roberts, a dear friend from college who works as a freelance photojournalist capturing historic buildings and sites in south Louisiana.
"MyScene TV" episode #1102
Shot in October of 2019, this episode went on to win a Telly Award for Use of Live Video & Broadcast.