When Scott McClennen, Television, Film and Media Arts '11, first proposed the idea of a student-run comedy show at Temple, he could never have imagined that it would become a reality. Called Temple SMASH, the episodes are filmed and aired twice a semester and are comprised of both live and pre-filmed comedy sketches.
"Students want to be part of an experience where they can learn about producing a show that is based in comedy and performance instead of only journalism," McClennen said. "It's wonderful that SMASH is still going and it's really cool to see the creativity of new kids going through it."
Jake Segelbaum and Jaclyn Silvestri, the current executive producers and seniors in the media studies and production program, along with the current cast and crew, commemorated 10 years of laughs on April 25 at the season 10 finale. The episode included a video of contributions made by past cast and crew members, as well as short compilations of past sketches throughout the show.
"We reached out to a bunch of alumni, as many as we could get in touch with," Segelbaum said. Laughing, he added, "I don't think there's anyone else who's watched as many Temple SMASH episodes as me. It's really fun to see the production value and quality increase over the years."
"The video at the end is going to be a sweet love letter to the show," Silvestri said. "It's evolved, but we want to show that the heart of SMASH is still the same."
For many involved, SMASH helped them decide what career they wanted to pursue after college.
Kimberly Burnick, who graduated from the media studies and production program in 2011, was a previous executive producer of SMASH and attributes the show to solidifying her career path.
"I can't say enough about how Temple SMASH changed my life," Burnick said. "At that point I still didn't know what I wanted to do and ultimately it helped guide my passion in producing."
Today, Burnick is still in television and film production and works at NBCUniversal as a sustainable production manager for several shows produced by NBCUniversal.
"Coincidentally enough, SNL is actually one of my shows, so that's a real cool thing to see come full circle," Burnick said.
Throughout the past 10 years, Temple SMASH has been the arena for students to try their hands at every aspect of production, from lighting, to sound, to camera work, to writing. However, McClennen said, learning to work with other creative people toward the common goal of putting on a great show is often the most important lesson that the show gives its participants.
"It was really an exercise in teamwork in terms of giving each other notes and making decisions together and doing all of this in our spare time outside of classes," McClennen said. "I learned so much about how to work with other creative people, how to give notes and problem solve."
Silvestri said that she wouldn't have gotten the internships or industry experiences she's had if SMASH hadn't pushed her out of her comfort zone.
"Having to meet a bunch of people and work with them professionally and find out who they are as people, it's so valuable," Silvestri said. "I came to see a showing when I was in high school, and knew immediately that this was something I had to do, something I had to be involved with. I'm so glad I did."
Looking to the future, everyone expressed the wish that SMASH last another ten years and beyond. McClennen pointed out that having this show at Temple offers students a unique opportunity that sets their experience apart from other schools.
Burnick said that the key is making sure that there are dedicated people ready to take leadership roles as the writers, producers, cast and crew.
"I'm so happy it did last 10 years," Burnick said. "It was one of those things where as we were leaving it was heartbreaking because you didn't know what was coming next and we'd miss it terribly, but I'm so proud of everyone who's continued to make it a reality and a success."