The Video and Media Services (VMS) department is used to change. In its 23 years, it’s been through multiple changes including department names, directors, student assistants, staff members, and, of course, technology. More changes are on the way for this small department but the staff is ready and willing to take them on headfirst. Ray Leyva is the first to say that he is excited and ready for anything that comes his way.
Having been with VMS since 1998, starting as a student, he was very pleased to assume the role of director last month. Prior, he was the assistant to the interim director, Linda Berardo. Since his time in VMS, he has seen numerous transitions take place, not only with staff but also the department.
“Everybody had their little territory…but now the business has changed,” Leyva said. “We had a bigger staff, and now we are much smaller. It’s important for everybody to learn everything now. I want everyone to have their hands on each project.”
Leyva said their first large project as a small team was the recently released documentary, “The True True Grit,” which was a collaborative effort with the Pioneer Library System and The Big Read. The documentary detailed the true story of the novel and movie True Grit, as well as detailing the fictional characters from their real-life counterparts. Leyva said this project was the best example of what his team was capable of.
“When the film premiered at the Warren Theater, the Norman Library actually had a waiting list because it had sold out,” Leyva said. “It was a great moment for the department since we had all worked on it together.”
Even though that project is a wrap, VMS has no shortage of things on their to-do list. They are currently working alongside InvestEd to create their fourth documentary on recent Oklahoma fraud scams and securities fraud prevention. The new documentary will feature the story of Phillip Raglin, who swindled nearly one million dollars out of investors in the early-mid 2000s. Leyva hopes they will be able to work with law enforcement to get Raglin on camera and hear his version of the story. They also plan to feature interviews with Raglin’s victims, as well as describe the signs of scams.
Beyond working with InvestEd, VMS is also working with the Oklahoma Department of Human Services (OKDHS) on several projects. In conjunction with Foster Care Month in November, VMS and OKDHS are planning a documentary about the foster care system and its importance. The film will review the history of foster care, as well as feature current foster families, and possibly Governor Fallin and Bill Anoatubby, Governor of the Chickasaw Nation, speaking on the importance of foster care in the state. They are also working on a Childcare Services anniversary video, DHS training videos, and the monthly magazine show, Inside DHS.
Looking ahead to other projects keeps Leyva on his toes and his ideas fresh. While working with the College of Architecture and the Price College of Business on promotional pieces, Leyva had the idea for departments within Outreach to do promo videos for their services, including one for their own department. While that project hasn’t taken off just yet, Leyva is working out the details with Outreach’s HR office.
“We can all help each other by looking internally first and seeing what we can do,” Leyva said. “That is the whole purpose of these promo videos.”
Leyva says that even though VMS staff members are busy, they hope to help change things here at home. Leyva looks forward to working alongside departments internally in CCE and feels like his team is prepared for any project needed by Outreach departments. Leyva says that even though the technology and the size of his staff have changed, one thing hasn’t.
“We might be a young crew, but we are a good crew,” Leyva said. “We have the crew, the equipment, and the skills to do any broadcasting that you need--whether it’s streaming, satellite, commercials, or documentaries.”