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Best of SNO

The best stories being published on the SNO Sites network

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Film student Liam McCoy excels in school video program

A look into McCoy’s infectious personality and distinct passion for filmmaking
By Danny Phalen Natasha Torkzaban Mimi Rosado Bryndal Hoover

60 degrees Fahrenheit with a 50% chance of rain is how senior Liam McCoy introduced the weather every morning to Langston Hughes Elementary School in fifth grade.  

McCoy dabbled in video production in elementary school, where he was the weatherman anchor on the daily announcements — a broadcast program produced by his peers. Starting in middle school, McCoy began making iMovie videos for various projects using his school-provided iPad. 

As a film student at Lawrence High School, McCoy takes part in filming, video editing and graphic design. As his film knowledge flourished, McCoy upgraded the resources he used to produce videos. 

“I think it’s nice that I’ve grown and my video skills have come a long way,” McCoy said. “Back in the day, I used to use iMovie, now I use Premiere.”

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Overtime, McCoy’s responsibilities as a film student increased. He currently works on the school broadcast program, LHS Room 308 Productions.

McCoy’s main role as a member on the program’s weekly announcements, The Lion’s Roar, is a segment producer. His presence on the broadcast has changed greatly over the years. He began as an assistant teleprompter and audio editor on set, but has advanced to a more prominent role. 

Film teacher Zach Saltz has worked with McCoy for four years. He describes McCoy as a spirited film critic, who always finds a way to improve his videos. 

“Liam is really passionate about video, he has always been someone who’s curious, and someone with really strong opinions,” Saltz said. “[He has] a sense of what looks good in videos and what maybe needs to be improved.”

McCoy isn’t only passionate about his own work, but also cares deeply about videos produced by his peers. 

Junior Naomi Sui Pang works with McCoy on the broadcast every week. She finds that his determination to perfect the work enhances the overall quality. 

“He’s always the first one to raise his hand when we review The Lion’s Roar episodes,” Pang said. “All his comments come from pure intentions and heavily improve the broadcast.”

Through his time as a film student, McCoy mastered many niche media skills, such as creating music beats, VHS edits, cartoon animations and broadcast introductions with special effects.  Although some of these skills weren’t taught in class, McCoy uses school-provided resources to implement them into the academic sphere. 

“I was amazed at some of the effects that he was using, I don’t even know how to do that,” Saltz said. “He’s reached a point where he doesn’t need to go to me anymore for approval or for guidance. 

Outside of LHS 308 Productions, McCoy uses his video expertise for classroom projects and assists with visual reporting for the LHS Journalism program. Sophomore Delaney Haase collaborated with McCoy on a story for The Budget print and a video for The Lion’s Roar.

“He was always asking for my input and I felt very included in the process of making the video,” Haase said. “He was very open to my suggestions and I learned a lot from him.” 

Although McCoy isn’t sure of future plans for filmmaking, he is confident that his passion for video will follow.

“Mainly, what I want to do is just have fun and really enjoy the job I like to do,” McCoy said. “There’s nothing better than a job that gives you a smile on your face.”

This story was originally published on The Budget on February 8, 2024.