What this is all about

Based on the WMRA show "The Spark", hosted by Martha Woodroof, this project looks at the creative passions of college students in the Shenandoah Valley area.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Eric Cecchett, the Critic

            If you happen to be listening to the radio on a Sunday afternoon and are looking for something new, I would have to recommend turning the dial to WXJM 88.7. There are a number of music shows that their website lists as “Freeform”, but if you tune in between two and four you will find yourself part of the audience of the “Nate and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!”
Eric and Nate at the WXJM radio station
            Eric Cecchett, a Writing, Rhetoric, and Technical Communications major at JMU, came in to speak with me about his show and endeavors. He transferred to from Northern Virginia Community College last fall, and immediately started working on his radio show.
            “I had a bunch of friends that have radio shows at their respective colleges,” Eric says. “It was something I wanted to do before coming to a university. I very much enjoy music, and it holds a lot of significance for me. It is a very personal experience but I also enjoy externalizing that and sharing with people.”
            Eric and Nate each create an hour long playlist every week for their show, playing “Indie” music and working to spotlight lesser known bands. They have similar tastes and occasionally find they selected the same songs for their playlists, although according to Eric, Nate tends to enjoy some of the more “Folky” sounding music. They started their show last semester, originally with the 12-2am Saturday night time slot. With their new Sunday afternoon slot they presumably have a much larger audience, although Eric does miss being able to loudly blast their music in an empty studio.
            Eric has played guitar for a few years, but he does not play often or create his own music. His passion is in existing art, not in producing his own. Whether it be music, films, or writing, he is a fan of popular culture in all of its outlets.
            “I love all kinds of culture,” he says. “I just have trouble with creation.”
            His creative idol is director Paul Thomas Anderson, the mind behind films such as Punk Drunk Love and There will be Blood. Although Eric doubts his own creative abilities, saying “I don't think I have the capacity to do what he does,” he would love to work with, and be a part of, the movie industry.
In DC this past winter
            Eric was drawn to the WRTC major because of his love of writing. It came naturally to him in high school so he gravitated toward it. As he is a perfectionist and compares his own writing to other's work, he’s never quite satisfied with his work. This past semester in particular he has been working on gaining more confidence, writing reviews for some of the movies and music he enjoys. He even created a blog titled “Building Nothing Out of Something” where he can share some of his writing.
            “I try to immerse myself in critique and let people read,” Eric says. “That's why I put it out there, so I can get used to that exposure. Right now I'm going easy on myself, writing reviews on things I really like, which I think is a lot easier than reviewing something you don't like or are indifferent about.”
            Eric's ideal job would be to be a film critic, to spend his days writing and watching movies. He admires the confidence of writers who are able to put something as personal as their own work out in the open and share it with the world.
            “It bewilders me that people can do that,” he says. “They write a piece and decide that it is good enough for them, and so good enough to be read by millions of people.”
            The best way to get better at writing, and to know that it is good enough for the millions who might read it, is to write. With his busy schedule balancing classes and the radio show there is not always time to write, but Eric is trying to make time. He tries not to think of it as work, worried that may take some of the enjoyment out of it, and hopefully someday he will be able to do it full time. He posts his reviews at EricCheck.blogspot.com, and although he does not post often he is trying to change that. The best way for him to have faith in his work is to share it with the world, and to keep writing.

           Stay tuned next week for my interview with Eastern Mennonite University's James Souder.

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