Two years later, the gamble has paid off. The junior communication studies major from Charlotte is entering her second year as producer of "General College," a soap opera airing on Student Television at 8:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday.
Barnette, 20, spent her freshman year working on "Darkness Falls," another STV program, before wanting a project of her own. Sensing an opportunity, she resurrected "General College" -- the show's peak ran from 1987 to 1990 with a few short-lived revivals afterward -- and has logged in hundreds of hours in the STV studio ever since.
Her commitment is obvious. Barnette talks about production schedules and issues stage directions with professionalism. When she pops the show's trailer into STV's VCR, she watches the footage -- and the audience's impressed reaction -- with pride.
Barnette takes what she does seriously -- "General College" is not a hobby but a goal that has been part of her plans all along.
"I remember when I was in the fourth grade I set my parents down and said, `Here's my life plan -- I'm going to be a movie director,'" she said. "And along the way you become what everyone else wants you to be, and then at some point you decide what you want to do."
Whether it followed her plans or not, getting the project off the ground hasn't been easy. Barnette said "General College's" first year under her supervision was a trial-and-error affair. She admits the show has been compared to MTV's "Undressed." But this year Barnette said she hopes it will be considered a night drama by addressing issues such as date rape and alcoholism.
Regardless, students are watching the show, and Barnette and her cast are gaining a little notoriety. "The coolest thing is that we'll be at a restaurant and people will be like `Aren't you on General College?'" she said. "Other people on the cast will be on the P2P at night, and drunk people will be like `You're on General College, and your boyfriend cheated on you last week.'"
She hardly has any time to watch television herself because she's too busy making it, but Barnette cites "The Cosby Show" and "Law and Order," as shows that she feels stress quality --