Northern Illinois University

Northern Today

Communication students win Foot Locker video contest

February 17, 2009

by Tom Parisi

When it comes to their future careers, it’s safe to say Amanda Stevens and Theresa Miller are a step ahead.

Amanda Stevens (left) and Theresa Miller

The two seniors recently won “first prize” and a $1,000 Foot Locker gift card in the “Share Your Sole” national video competition sponsored by the footwear retailer. Their 39-second video uses stop-motion animation and follows the adventures of several pairs of empty sneakers.

Both Stevens and Miller are majoring in communication with an emphasis in media studies. They entered the contest as part of an assignment in an advanced short-film production class taught by Professor Laura Vazquez.

“Actually, I tried to talk them out of doing this because (stop-motion animation) is so much work,” Vazquez says. “Now I am glad that they didn’t take my advice.”

Stevens and Miller, both honors students, used about 300 still photographs to create their video and make it appear as though empty pairs of sneakers are on the go – skateboarding, toe-tapping at a concert and playing soccer and basketball.

“Neither of us had ever used stop-motion before,” says Stevens, a Belvidere native who hopes to go into commercial advertising. “It was pretty tedious. Every time we moved a shoe we’d have to take a still image.”

The hard work paid off, though.

“I knew that the video was going to be fun and kind of quirky, but I didn’t know it would come out so professional-looking,” Miller says. The Hazel Crest native is planning to attend graduate school next year and ultimately wants to be a screenwriter or director.

All of the students in Vazquez’s class last semester competed in video contests as classroom assignments. Besides a good grade, there’s always the possibility for an added bonus.

“At least Amanda and Theresa will be in shoes for a while,” Vazquez says.