All Shamar Colon wanted to do was go to the restroom, but he ended up getting an Emmy nomination.
While in class last year, Colon’s teacher was mentioning a new television production program for high school students at Lehman College to fellow classmate Sebastian Leon.
Colon raised his hand to ask for permission to step out for a minute, but his teacher thought he was volunteering for the program and signed-up him and Leon for it and now both are founding members of OPEN 2.0, a television program on BronxNet for high school students, by high students that has just been nominated for a New York Emmy in the Teen Program/Special category.
OPEN 2.0 focuses both on community affairs, giving students the chance to interview local politicians and host roundtable peer discussions, while also getting the chance to gain experience working behind the scenes of OPEN 2.0, serving as producers, editors and camera operators.
“I think that these students are extremely motivated when they have the opportunity,” said Michael Max Knobbe, the show’s executive producer. “It’s teachers and students all working together to take advantage of the resources that are available.”
Students come from different high schools around the Bronx, but Knobbe said they’ve been able to come together easily to work as a team.
Marisa Masimino White is the show’s producer and she helps recruit new participants and works with the student team to come up with new segment ideas.
“We encourage kids to come up with the ideas,” White said. “I also guide them a little bit so we have balanced episodes.”
The students have interviewed Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and shared opinions with peers on topics like bullying and online social networking,
The teachers tell the students about the program, which aired its first episode in June 2010, and there is a formal application process, but White said that virtually anyone who is interested can participate. They put in two sessions a week after school, with each running about two hours long.
“Once they get here it takes off,” White said. “They want to bring in their friends and cousins.”
Sebastian Leon, a 16-year-old junior who often assumes the role of director of 2.0, is now considering pursuing a career as a television producer
“I want to produce comedy and drama and maybe host some of my own,” Leon said. “Directing is basically like being God of 2.0 because you find yourself running the show, trying to tell people what to do from shot to shot.”
Shamar Colon has even had the chance to showcase his cooking skills on the program, hosting an entire episode dedicated to cooking.
The program can be seen Mondays and Wednesdays at 4:30 p.m. on BronxNet, channel 67 on Cablevision or channel 33 on Verizon Fios.
BronxNet program Bronx Flavor also received a nomination for Musical Composition/Arrangement and BronxNet producer Walter Garaicoa received two craft nominations, graphics and editing.
The Emmys will be handed out at a ceremony in Manhattan on April 3.