CHAPEL IS ONE OF THE MANY COMMON EXPERIENCES that all Oklahoma Wesleyan students share. That fact understood, it is pertinent to each student at our university to have an understanding of chapel and the way the vision for the future of our chapel services. One of the new additions to this year’s chapel services was the weekly Eagle News video, featuring the man, the myth, the legend: Gus Bucklesby. Let’s meet some of the team behind the production of Eagle News.
SETH PIPER IS THE VIDEOGRAPHER AND EDITOR for Eagle News. Seth spent his first three years of college at Biola University in La Mirada, California, as a Cinema & Media Arts/Video Production major. Seth learned many video production and film skills at Biola, but that didn’t mean that Eagle News was not a new and exciting challenge. “I had to learn a lot of new stuff on the fly. I had never really done any work with a green screen before” Seth said regarding the start of Eagle News production.
As far as strategy for producing the now well-known phenomenon that is Eagle News and Gus Bucklesby, Seth said “It was really just us filming and [Bucklesby] saying things into the camera until we found something we thought was funny. It started off as kind of an Anchorman spoof, but moved beyond that after a few episodes.”
Seth is proud of what he and the team have been able to do so far this year, and rightfully so. As he graduates this fall, Seth hopes to see Eagle News continue and perhaps grow, though he recognizes the challenge it presents: “The tough part is finding someone willing to put in the eight to ten hours per week of film and editing work. But it’s worth it.”
AKA Gus Bucklesby
ETHAN MAY (FREQUENTLY REFERRED TO AS “SENIOR P.E. MAJOR”) is the man responsible for delivering the Eagle News or “ The goings on of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, where Jesus is Lord”, as Gus Bucklesby so aptly states. Ethan is truly in his element as Gus Bucklesby due to his background in theatre, in which he has six years of training.
“I played a lot of larger than life, goofy characters. So that translates a lot to being comfortable and just being goofy” he said when describing his background in that field. It has been interesting to watch how Ethan has grown and evolved his persona as Gus Bucklesby. In the more recent episodes, gone are the heavy accent and attempt at a ‘60s newscast spoof. They have been replaced by a voice closer to Ethan’s own, but the deadpan humor and spot on reporting remain.
Ethan is set to graduate as well, and thus this could be the end of the Gus Bucklesby era of Eagle News. However, Ethan urges us to keep an eye open for what is to come, stating, “My time as Gus Bucklesby has been enjoyable. I’d like to pass the baton, if possible. I hope Eagle News continues.” Ethan also nonchalantly mentions that he and Seth may begin a non-related web video series. In any case, Ethan has brought humor and life to Eagle News, and for that we should thank him.
Assistant VP for Student Development
THOUGH NOT DIRECTLY INVOLVED in the production of Eagle News, Ben Rotz, assistant VP for student development, is intricately involved in the planning of chapel as a whole. With regard to Eagle News, Ben said, “We wanted to move past having someone stand in front of the student body and make announcements. If students were late, they missed them, and it wasn’t very exciting. We want to make it both entertaining and informative.” The humor of newscaster Gus Bucklesby fit the bill perfectly.
Ben has enjoyed the hilarious antics of the Eagle News team this year as well. He plans for Eagle News to continue, though perhaps not in an identical fashion. The purpose will continue to be both entertainment and information about events around campus. But what does this mean for the direction of chapel as a whole? Ben notes that chapel is “the only time the entire OKWU community comes together” and is a place to “understand who we are as individuals and as a community.” He also eloquently communicates that OKWU, through chapel services, seeks to “…meet each student where they are in their relationship with God. We have a greater diversity of students than we have ever had before. We need to be mindful of that.” Ben insists that this will be the vision for chapel as long as he remains in charge of that vision.
I, for one, appreciate Ben’s passion. Here’s hoping that chapel will continue to be an engaging part of the campus community that seeks to develop both the community of OKWU, and their students as individuals.