First of all, let me just say that I can’t believe how far this club has come since our first episode in the spring of 1991. Back then, we didn’t even have the “interweb,” as Al Gore had not yet invented it. That meant the only way you could see an episode of the greatest show in the world would be to wait until we showed it in one of the classrooms during “kegs” on Friday evening. And the closest thing we had to YouTube was “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” which meant if we wanted to watch a guy get hit in the groin by a baseball bat, we had to endure Bob Saget’s corny voice-over narration. It’s hard to fathom that FuquaVision is now available on demand and on DVD, and that it’s available for viewing throughout the free world.
So, how did this whole thing get started? Well, when I was a first year, I had signed up for something called “Fuqua Looks at Business” (a.k.a. “FLAB”). FLAB was a business oriented TV show that had been produced for a few years before I had arrived. (You’ll have to do some more research if you’d like to know the whole backstory on how FLAB got started. I never bothered to find out.) I had seen about three minutes of an old FLAB show before I fell asleep. Remember: this was the era before CNBC, Jim Cramer, or Suze Orman. Sure, there was Louis Rukeyser, but FLAB just didn’t have a lot of competition, so they were able to put on a low budget, highbrow program, and the Fuqua students watched. (Or so I was told.) But in the fall of 1990, Fuqua Looks at Business met an untimely demise. The second year FLAB folks had completely lost interest in producing this snoozefest, so I had spoken with some of the other first years about trying something completely different. The concept of Fuquavision grew out of a desire to produce something that the students would actually want to watch. It would be based on life at Fuqua, involving skits based on the experiences of being in business school, inside and outside the classroom. Part Saturday Night Live, part video yearbook. But we wanted it to appeal not just to Fuqua students. Cable 13 was also another venue for our show, so in the making of Fuquavision, we had to make sure that undergrads (or really anyone at all) could watch, understand, and laugh. So we avoided jokes that were too inside (those could be saved for Fuqua Follies), and we stuck with skits and reality TV elements that were universally understood.
Our first episode came together with some help from John Ferguson, Erik Codrington, Kim Bailey, and Keith Westphal (and others). I wrote a few skits, we went down into the Cable 13 studios, and I captured our little group’s comedic talents on 3/4 inch videotape, and we were underway. I started wandering Fuqua’s hallways periodically with a VHS handheld camcorder, and caught little bits to incorporate in our open, and we videotaped an intramural softball game involving the (at the time) legendary exploits of Pedro’s Inbred Mutant Hicks. I happened to be in the Cable 13 studios one evening after Grant Hill had appeared on Seth Davis’ sports show, and was able to convince Grant to do a little promo for our FuquaVision. (The first of two.) Armed with all of this raw footage, I had to learn (the hard way) how to edit 3/4 inch videotape. I tinkered with the state of the art “Video Toaster,” incorporating all of the super groovy wipes and other transition effects which are characteristic of the early Fuquavision episodes, not to mention the computer graphics of blue titles over a black screen. (The Video Toaster ran on a Commodore 64 computer and was considered state of the art at that time. Microsoft had not yet stolen Windows from Apple, and all of the campus computers ran on DOS. So, computerized video editing was not yet an option. Does anybody today even understand the pros and cons of assemble vs. insert editing?) After many late nights, and a great deal of trial and error, by late April, 1991, we had a product which we first showed to a group of drunken students one Friday evening, and we had an instant hit on our hands. Thus, the FuquaVision legend was born.
It’s interesting to see the progression in terms of the production quality from episode one through episode five. Lots of lessons were learned along the way, and we were able to get some pretty impressive contributions from students. Joe Speeney’s portrayal of Michael J. Fox in “Back to Fuqua” or Chris Szabadhegy’s impression of Arnold Schwarzenegger in “The Recruitinator” were remarkable screen debuts (and farewells). Zack Kollias and Kyle McAdams did their best Joe Pesci and Robert DeNiro impressions for “GoodFuquans.” Craig Angell was a great student, who quickly absorbed all of the lessons I could teach him about the production side, and he did a fine job the following year (along with Zack and Kyle) as co-Presidents, keeping the dream alive. Jen Orme and Shannon Maher appeared frequently. And Pete Peterson and Tim Talley surprised everyone in their last hurrah before graduation with the mega-hit music video “Down wit’ FSB.”
And with that, the FuquaVision Dynasty was solidified and has survived the trials and tribulations of the past two decades.