Film student scores by sharing secrets

Temple student Pete Herron is the grand prize winner of mtvU’s “What the Flip?”one-minute video contest.

“The harder you work, the luckier you get.” This is the mantra that Pete Herron, a junior film and media arts major, lives by.

Herron is the grand prize winner of the mtvU “What the Flip?” contest, which awarded him a Flip video camcorder and an mtvU gift bag.

Pete Herron won the “What the Flip?” video contest in January, but he’s still waiting for his prize - an MTV gift bag worth $200 (Colin Kerrigan/TTN).

“It wasn’t an easy process,” Herron said. “I was given seven days to record my footage before sending it over to MTV for editing.”

With a hectic schedule, Herron had already managed to book a video job with NBC’s Action Sports Tour when he got the lucky call from mtvU.

“I flew back to Philly the night before the footage was due and shot the video between 3 and 4 a.m., then flew back to Florida to finish my work on the tour,” Herron said.

Because he was kept busy with work, Herron had no idea that his last-minute film was being played until the text messages began to roll in.

“People I hadn’t even communicated with in years were telling me they had seen it,” Herron said. “It was crazy.”

Herron enjoyed his video titled, Share a Secret, because he had the freedom to record what he wanted.
“The video was made spontaneously with no pre-planning, which is often the way I like to do my work,” Herron said.

In the foreground of the video, Herron whispers to the camera that he likes to leave notes for his girlfriend. He also included shots of her sleeping in the background.

“I never told her I recorded her, but people started telling her how they had seen her on TV,” said Herron. “The funniest part was that the video began airing on the night of our anniversary.”
Herron takes his filmmaking seriously.

“I love the ability to take an everyday occurrence and turn it into a work of art and expression,” Herron said. “I have a Web site where I post all of my video, and it’s always rewarding to hear from people who enjoy watching them.”

Herron admitted that video-making is a passion of his, as well.

“Video-making is such a creative and exciting way to connect with people and share ideas,” he said. “I love that.”

Like many creative professionals, Herron describes himself as a perfectionist.

“I could work on editing the same video for hours and hours and still find areas to fix and improve upon,” he said.

Herron said perfectionism serves as his greatest weakness, but it also serves as his greatest strength. 

“When I set my mind on something, I want to make sure it’s done right, which more often than not requires long days and sleepless nights,” said Herron.  “I’d say I pull at least one all-nighter every week – two or more during midterms and finals.”

When Herron looks back on his experience with MTV, he is surprised at the way he was compensated.
“My video was used as an advertisement for Flip camcorders and aired during prime time,” Herron said. “All I get is a MTV gift bag [valued at $200], and I haven’t even gotten the package yet.”

Still, he is grateful for the opportunity to share his work with a national audience.

“I’m thankful I was given the chance to make a video for MTV,” he added. “I just wish they could have given something to myself and other students who have had airtime on the network.”

Herron said he recommends that other film and media arts majors submit their works for contests as a way of putting their films out to an audience.

“It’s a good way to get involved with film and video,” Herron said. “Just don’t take it too seriously, and enjoy what you can.”

Stacy Lipson can be reached at

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