FOX47 NEWS - UW Students Debut on MTV
A national audience got a taste of college life in Madison Monday night.
Equipped with personal video cameras, eight University of Wisconsin--Madison students began filming themselves last fall, as part of MTV's new reality series College Life.
They said they were extremely excited for Monday's premier, and packed couches in front of every TV on or near campus.
College Life is billed as a real and uncensored look at the lives of college students -- everything from academic stress to relationship adventures.
Seven freshman and one sophomore filmed themselves and their friends without scripts, without a director, without reserve.
The biggest thing that's made it real is that we don't have a camera crew, said Andrea Endries, one of the show's stars.
We didn't hold back anything, said freshman Kevin Tracy. We really put a lot of faith in editing -- I don't know if that was a good [idea].
As amateur video makers, students say it took some time to get used to the idea.
At the beginning it was awful, Tracy said. It was really awkward, especially being a freshman and not knowing anybody -- it's tough enough -- to bring the camera everywhere makes the situation a little more awkward.
It has its ups and downs, said Endries. It's been really stressful at some points because you have a camera and you're filming everything.
The university is not endorsing the show. In a statement, UW officials called the program sensationalized...with an emphasis on drinking and dysfunctional relationships...a squandered opportunity.
The stars of the program have no regrets, and stand by what they consider college reality.
Said Tracy, You handed a couple of 19-year-old kids a video camera. It's freshman year in college -- no matter where you went there were going to be some things you would not want on national television.
Said Endries, It's a drama. I think we all have our own soap operas to be made, so it'll be fun.
MTV is paying the students to videotape the stories. Anyone who participates had to sign a contract, and get release forms for others who happen to be filmed.
Filming is scheduled to wrap at the end of the semester. People with MTV say a second season depends on this year's ratings.