Corey Lepak, a senior Communications major at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, recently completed an internship editing "The Space Crowd," an independent documentary created and directed by Wisconsin native Troy Janisch about the United States Space Shuttle Program.
The documentary was inspired in part by the space shuttle Atlantis’ final voyage on July 8, 2011, and chronicles the rise, decline, and future of the American space shuttle program.
"The film’s purpose is to inspire people and educate them about the space shuttle program and space exploration," Lepak said. "When it’s finished, it will hopefully be submitted to SXSW [an annual music, film, and interactive conference and festival] and may be used in classrooms or made available on Netflix and Amazon to get to the largest possible audience."
Lepak’s task was to edit the rough cut of the film. Lepak received minimal guidance as to what the final product should look like.
"It was almost overwhelming, the size of the footage, but it was a great opportunity to work on a project that large, especially when the longest video I had ever edited was a 40- minute wrestling highlight video," Lepak said.
Lepak gladly accepted the challenge of condensing over three hundred hours of interviews and official NASA footage into the two-hour documentary.
"I got an email from Jim Haney saying that there was an internship for editing a documentary. I got the position after making a demo reel that showcased how I was skilled as an editor while showing a little creativity," Lepak said.
After first learning how to use a camera in high school, Lepak developed a passion for all aspects of broadcasting and film that eventually lead him to the job of editing "The Space Crowd."
"In high school, video became a creative outlet for me. My classes were pretty open-ended and allowed me to use a camera and editing software for whatever I wanted," said Lepak.
Lepak’s interests were further developed after attending UWSP.
"I will never forget the day of freshmen orientation when Rhonda Sprague asked me what I wanted to major in. I told her I wanted to work with video, and she said they’d put a camera in my hands. And they did," Lepak said.
Lepak, currently the production manager of UWSP’s student television station, SPtv, has jumped at any opportunity to gain experience working with video.
"I sometimes think about all the things I still have to try and how every new experience exposes me to a thousand others that I didn’t even know about," Lepak said. "I want to do everything."
Lepak learned the skills necessary to take on editing "The Space Crowd" at WJFW, a local television station in Rhinelander, where Lepak filmed and edited sports content. He also worked at Practical Illusions, a production company in Wausau, where he gained hands-on experience working in a professional studio.
"Time management was the most important thing I learned in my internship. It helped a lot with the documentary since I had a lot of time to work on it but knew that an hour here or there wasn’t going to be enough," Lepak said.
Lepak has started filming his own videos after purchasing a professional-quality video camera.
"I want to get away from editing for a while. I want to create my own thing where I’m involved in every process," Lepak said.
Lepak looks forward to graduating in May of 2013 and having time to delve into new projects, such as developing a YouTube channel and creating videos with friends.
"I want to do anything in my field. I know I have to work for it if I want a job filming an episode of ‘Mad Men’ or something, but hopefully any job I get after college will be a foot in the door," Lepak said.