Drew Lojewski Interview
Drew Lojewski is a second-year FBLA member who won second place in Digital Video Production at the 2018 FBLA National Leadership Conference. As a former member of the Pennsylvania State Virtual FBLA chapter, Drew has since chartered a new chapter at Dallas Senior High School in Dallas, PA. This year, Drew is competing at NLC in Intro to Business Presentation and also actively works on his YouTube channel, Common Cents Finance. Drew agreed to sit down with Social Media Ambassador Matthew Werneken to answer a few questions on his experiences competing in Digital Video Production and attending NLC. You can view his winning video submission here: https://youtu.be/wO1Z5fdiUIo
Tell us about your Digital Video Production process.
At the time I first checked all rules and guidelines for Digital Video Production, it was already late October with only 2 weeks until the State deadline! With 2 weeks to make the video, I looked specifically at the rating sheets and performance guidelines alongside prior videos from nationals in the resource section to do well. One performance from San Antonio in 2011 was particularly helpful making my presentation for States after I qualified, and with that research I worked from there.
What is your background in Digital Video Production?
I have always been interested in creating videos. I started a YouTube Channel in 2012 called Common Cents Finance and have always liked social media and creating videos that entertain people. I believe videos are the greatest medium for amplifying your point and creating content that can share interests and sway people’s opinions is an unbelievable thing to do! Growing up, I always created videos of my own interests such as baseball and basketball or anything I did at school like student council. When I entered FBLA, I realized the experiences I gained in social media and video creation were both involved in this single event and it was right up my alley, so I competed using the skills I had learned to be successful.
What software and hardware did you use for your creation?
I used Adobe Premiere for editing, Adobe After Effects for special effects, Audacity for audio, Photoshop for some photo editing and animation, as well as a camera, some lights and a wireless microphone.
Why did you choose to compete as an individual rather than with a team?
That is an interesting question, as most would rather 3 people for a team event! For a video event, you could have one person doing effects, one doing scripting, and one doing editing, so it was difficult being a single person. What lead me to that decision was that no one in my school had similar interests and being a member of a virtual chapter, there were only two people in my school in FBLA and the other was participating in another event. I like to challenge myself and usually work by myself in creating content on my YouTube channel and social media, so I wanted to challenge myself to create this video singlehandedly. There was another member who won top 10 at nationals individually as well.
How did your experience as a member of the Pennsylvania FBLA Virtual Chapter factor into your competition?
It was difficult to learn the ins-and-outs of FBLA. Since nobody in my school district had any FBLA experience at the time, the only way I could communicate with someone for FBLA was my advisor from another district. I had to email every question I had and probably did so 20 times before I submitted my event! I also had to skype call to practice my event and didn’t even meet my advisor until I got to SLC, and Mrs. Angle is the single reason I have gotten this far in FBLA today!
In your opinion, what are some key elements of winning videos at nationals?
In my opinion, the key to winning with a video at nationals is to make sure your video follows the topic. I have seen a lot of videos in the past that spin the video topic into something else, and while that might be a great creative idea you have to make sure you follow the prompt in order to get the points! What is especially important is looking at your rating sheet; I lost 20 points at SLC for forgetting to put my copyright information in the video and leaving it in the description and made sure to fix that for Nationals. When you go to Nationals, you have to know what you are doing when you present, because you only have one chance in preliminaries and one chance in finals to make your best impression on the judges, because that performance is what normally decides who wins the event.
Do you have any advice for competitors looking to make their presentation unique?
Make sure that you tell a story. In the business world, a lot of presentations just convey an idea but can capture attention so much more by engaging with a story. When I went to nationals, I emphasized that the prompt of growing FBLA chapters lead me not only to improve my video editing skills but to improve my community by starting my own chapter through connecting with my school board. I think that was what set me apart and put me above the 115 groups that were trying to beat me and everyone needs an element that does that. Competitors should also make sure that their copyright information is taken care of, their equipment is ready for the 5 minutes to set up, and they interact with the judges to get them involved.
What was your biggest learning experience through competing in Digital Video Production?
My biggest learning experience was learning about the prompt. For me specifically, that was learning about FBLA and what the organization is about. The prompts help the national level become more involved with their cause, so for this year’s Giving Tuesday prompt all students will get to take an important piece of knowledge about the cause away from competing.
Do you have any advice for the general FBLA member looking to win at Nationals this summer?
Make sure your performance equipment is in order and you have backups for everything! The cables might not work, and you should have your own projector cable (and all other small, essential equipment!) that works with your device in case the supplied one doesn’t meet your need. Look at the national competition guidelines and make sure you know the differences between your state and national levels.
Thank you for your time, Drew!