Behind the scenes: capturing the KU experience

Posted on Aug 25, 2017 in Alumni News and News

Ben Brodsky
Ben Brodsky, c’17, produced a video chronicling his KU experience with familiar campus scenes sure to resonate with alumni. After posting his homage to his alma mater on social media, the video quickly went viral, generating more than 100,000 views during the first week of KU classes. Students and alumni alike could relate to his moving images and the poetic word play provided by Brodsky’s classmate and collaborator, Amie Just, j’17, profiled here. We caught up with Brodsky to go behind the scenes and learn more about the project and his KU journey.

Ben, we love your video. What inspired the project?

During my second year at KU, I took a class called After Effects where our professor showed us a short called “Traditions.” A combination of the cinematography, KUs rich history, and the intentional rhythmic storyline combining both narration and film left me inspired. I wanted to create something that left viewers feeling the same emotional connection and pride in our University as it did to me. On top of that, I’m always looking to grow as a filmmaker and this style of short allowed me to challenge myself.

(Editor’s note: We remember that video! We profiled KU alumnus and spoken word poet Topher Enneking, who was involved in the project, in 2014.)

How do you want Jayhawks to react after watching it?

As I said before, I want viewers to feel an emotional connection to KU and pride for their campus.  At the same time, I want all future Jayhawks to see this video and become excited about the 4-year journey they’re about to embark on.  With KU’s rich history, there are so many traditions and experiences all Jayhawks share. Experiences that are multi-generational.  As the narration and scenes cuts to different locations on campus I want viewers to see themselves having those experiences.

I want alumni reminiscing about the hours they spent camping for basketball, the classes they sat through at Budig Hall, the organizations they met at Wescoe Beach, and the feeling that, while we all become Jayhawks, the Jayhawk becomes apart of us.

I want them to be present in that shared KU experience, whether they’re a future Jayhawk who is looking forward or an alumnus looking back. Everyone who goes to KU–and even people who just visit–know there is something special about our campus and culture. As those who live it, we understand it. For those who don’t live it, I hope they’ll understand it through this video.

We definitely think they’ll understand after watching. So how would you describe your KU experience?

Throughout high school, I struggled to find myself. I remember the day my twin brother, Sam, and I received our acceptance, it was an easy decision for us to attend KU. From the first time I stepped foot onto Jayhawk Blvd to walking through the Campanile at Graduation, KU was home. I was supported academically by incredible professors who continuously challenged me and my skills. Ben Brodsky I was supported socially by the community I found in fraternity life, and I was supported professionally by my friends and other community members who gave me the opportunity to create films for them.  KU was everything I was hoping college life would be and more.

Now that you’ve walked down the hill, what’s next?

I am passionate about cinematography and media, as I hope my video, KU- A Journey, showcased. My twin brother Sam, and I started our own video production company in the Minneapolis area called Brodsky Productions. Right now, we are focusing on creating our business plan so that we can continue to grow and provide spectacular cinematic and emotionally moving short films for our clientele. So far, we’ve provided photography and videography services to create documentaries, music videos, wedding videos, event recaps, retail and product spotlights and much more. We’re hoping as our company develops, we will find our niche and focus our efforts in that direction. We’re also hoping that as we continue to meet and network with professionals in the area, we’ll find mentors who are eager to help us grow and succeed. So far we’ve been very fortunate and we’re excited to see where the future takes us!

No doubt your talents, developed and honed at KU, will take you far! But no matter how far you fly beyond the golden valley, remember–as your video reminds all Jayhawks–that there’s no place like home! Rock Chalk!

–David Johnston

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Viral video captures the KU experience

Posted on Aug 25, 2017 in Alumni News and News


KU: A Journey

“As new Jayhawks arrive on the Hill, it’s hard not to get nostalgic about our four years.”

Before Ben Brodsky walked down the Hill last May, he could sense it was coming. That feeling of nostalgia that all alumni understand was becoming all too real, and Brodsky, c’17, wanted to hit save and preserve his time at KU. Fortunately, the talented film and media studies major had shot hours of footage during his time on campus; timeless scenes that also captured a place in time.

His memories. His journey. But one with which we could all relate.

Brodsky got right to work, even before walking down the Hill. With the help of his twin brother Sam, b’17, he founded Ben Brodsky Films and Photography in 2013, applying his talents and education to projects for clients. As his commencement loomed, one project became more personal.

The result of the effort that he began as a student and finished as an alumnus, was a three-minute and forty-two-second video that was posted on social media this week, as students returned to the Hill to start the fall semester. Almost immediately the video became a viral sensation, with views topping 100,000 in the first three days.

Naturally, this time of year makes all of us remember what it was like heading off to college.

“Feels like yesterday I was jumping out of the mini van, unloading my college dorm room onto the hot Kansas pavement,” Brodsky posted on YouTube. “I remember my mom telling me ‘these are the best 4 years of your life, enjoy every minute of them!'”

Brodsky offered his own advice to freshmen flocking to the Hill.

“To all incoming Jayhawks,” he added, “experience everything you can; there is no limit to what you can do.” On Facebook, he added a shared sentiment.

“New Jayhawks, we hope you love this place as much as we do.”

Brodsky could have been referring to all alumni when we said “we,” but in this case, it was a nod to his project partner and collaborator, Amie Just, j’17, who scripted the video. Her words, which resonate with all Jayhawks, constitute a poem she calls, simply, “Home.” (Read our interview with Amie Just here.)

We love the combination of moving images and words that so beautifully capture the KU experience, drawing us closer together and to our beloved alma mater.

“Through the good times and the stressful ones,” he concludes, “KU was, and will always be, home.”

–David Johnston

Go behind the scenes and learn more about Ben Brodsky in this interview.

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