Video: UR Baja Driven to Succeed

By Dan LaTourette ’12
Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year Student

We got in at, like, 5 a.m. I mean, I think it was 5 a.m. It was hard for me to orient myself after around 16 hours of traveling from Rochester to Indiana. In case you were wondering, it took that long because we were hauling two substantial Baja buggies in a big truck. All in the name of competition. We were headed to University of Louisville for their annual Midnight Mayhem competition. When we got to the track, some of the guys stayed up to start working on the cars while the rest of us pitched tents and collapsed in our sleeping bags. I was one of the ones who collapsed, but when I woke from maybe four hours of sleep (I needed to get as much footage as I possibly could) I found the members of the UR Baja Team working hard at getting their vehicles ready for testing.

And then that was it. They didn’t stop working, technically speaking, until Sunday morning. There was one endurance race to top off the whole competition on Saturday night but I felt like the endurance race already started. It struck me just how dedicated this team was. Everyone seemed to be working on something specific and communication was constant. And here I am, holding a camera and walking, while they are working hard with tools and some grit, and I am the one tired by midday. And, that was when things were starting to heat up. The more than 20 colleges entered their 50-plus buggies into specific competitions. Here, I got to see the fruits of the hard labor that made these moving machines.

During the course of the weekend, I observed the progress made by not just UR Mini Baja, but by many other colleges as well. The culmination of the specific events and then the final gargantuan endurance race was something of a spectacle. The four-hour endurance race was exhilarating and really showcased the determination and prowess of these students. Driving back to Rochester early Sunday morning, another grueling 16-hour trip, I didn’t sense angst or a need to get away from Baja for a period of time to regroup from any of the members. Rather, the teammates constantly discussed ways in which they could improve their cars for future competition. The biggest reason I feel thankful that the UR Mini Baja Team allowed me to film this awesome event was the passion they so obviously have for their group. I hope you enjoy the video just as much as I did making it!

Read more about Dan LaTourette’s Key Project.

Through Documentary Films, KEY Student Finds ‘Ideas Worth Sharing’

Over the next few months, The Buzz will feature short videos produced by Dan LaTourette ’12, a fifth year Kauffman Entrepreneurial Year (KEY) student who is majoring in film and media production. LaTourette’s entrepreneurial project consists of documentary filmmaking, which captures some of the insightful and interesting things going on around campus. The Buzz caught up with LaTourette to learn a little bit more about his KEY project.

What inspired this project?

Well, first, filmmaking is my passion. Film is a medium that can communicate easily on both an emotional and logical level. Indeed, something can be told to you in a film and then shown to you, capturing an idea both at a conceptual level and a visual level. I use these characteristics to promote and engage in campus activities.

Of all the things you could capture on film, why campus life?

One of the most crucial things I learned over my four years here is that I really can’t absorb all the knowledge this institution has to offer. More accurately, I can’t absorb even a sliver of that knowledge, even if I made a Herculean effort. You don’t realize how much you don’t know until you start finding things out and then you think to yourself, “Wow, this exists? What else is there?” Whether it is a strange new course offered in the Linguistics department or you went inside a certain building for the first time during your senior year, there are countless things that you can easily miss throughout your college career and not even know it. In addition to this, shall we say, natural ignorance, there are moments where you’d like to explore something more but, alas, time is of the essence, and forbids us to take further steps towards quenching our curiosity. I know this has happened to me plenty of times (I mean, I really wish I could have taken a geology class or an artificial intelligence class or, okay I’ll stop…) and it always left me wondering what else could I be missing.

Combining these two unfortunate happenings, natural ignorance and the scarcity of time, I came up with a project that would allow me to film things all over campus in the remaining time I have at this school and place these videos in a nice and neat webpage for anyone to view at any point in time. You will see such things as Mini Baja, breakdancing, audio music engineering, and even stories from individual students about virtually anything.

What message do you hope to share through your videos?

The motto (or tagline) of this project is, “Ideas worth sharing.” It is a play-on off the TED talk motto, “Ideas worth spreading.” Like TED, I see this as an opportunity to make this campus more open to the many ideas and perspectives it holds.

It should be noted, and quite boldly, that these films are not promotional videos, let alone advertisements. My shorts stress on existence of ideas and nuance of ideas as well as emotional intrigue and quenching curiosity. The shorts will not be structured in a way that formally promotes a particular group but more focus on the ideas that they express. So, consequently, promotion is an inherent facet of my pieces even though it is not acknowledged when I begin a project. So it is here I will exclaim my mission statement: To express the existence of ideas and activities happening around campus. It is an observation of the ideas and activities to share within the campus environment.

I hope you enjoy these films as much as I enjoy making them. Maybe you might learn something new or better yet, you might get curious!

Dan LaTourette’s Videos:

UR Baja Driven To Succeed

Inside a Carillon Rehersal