Behind the Scenes at the Recent Siemens Competition

A story of teamwork bringing an event to life through TV and Social

Recently the DEFINITION 6 Siemens team traveled to The George Washington University in Washington, DC for the finals of the Siemens Competition, the nation’s premier math, science and technology research competition for high school students. Six individuals and six teams (21 kids total) competed. One team and one individual would take home a $100,000 scholarship, so the stakes were high. 

In the weeks leading up to winner’s announcement, D6’s production department delivered multiple videos for social media, built and populated landing pages inside the Siemens Media Center and pitched and successfully booked a Satellite Media Tour. On top of that, D6 produced the awards show that is live streamed on Facebook, so scripts and show flow were determined, discussed and approved prior to the Thanksgiving break.  Five landing pages and 20 video shorts were complete for social media.  The first wave of 22 media interviews booked. 

As the weekend began, our production team was on hand to shoot pre-ceremony and student events to be edited together into 12 profile videos of the six team and six individual finalists. The videos would be presented at the live ceremony and for the media before the announcement of the winners. By late Monday, show rehearsals were complete, script revisions were made and the Satellite Truck was parked with its dish pointed into the sky waiting quietly to “put it on the bird” the next morning. The team was huddled into a hotel conference room with a feast of San Gennaro proportions, editing videos, finalizing show graphics, and making the last few confirmations for the 22 media interviews. The media interest was solid, including national outlets, large local television and radio stations plus two on-site Washington, DC-area news stations.

On event day, the team arrived dressed to impress with coffee in hand, and entered George Washington’s Jack Morton Auditorium. At the brisk 6am hour, the satellite truck parked outside, editors plugged in, the Facebook Live testing complete, the stage manager doing the final mic check, the director giving last minute instruction…it was time to begin. The media team was preparing for the first interview and wrangling students from the hotel for the next batch of media. The sun was coming up, but the lights were already shining bright for Siemens and all the talented students. The first student stepped on to the stage and through the ear piece heard a news anchor in a far-away place like New York, Chattanooga or Flint say, “We now go live to Washington, DC…”. 

Nine hours later it was over.  The lights on the stage dimmed.  The satellite truck’s electronic feed into space shut off. The final moment:  A New York radio station saying, “Thank you” to the grand prize winners who are from Long Island.  Siemens Competition 2017 was in the books.

Additional post contributions by Curtis Schick