For the 2012 spring quarter, a handful of 7th graders from Willow Creek Academy were selected to participate in a pilot program, Willow Creek Voices. While 5th and 6th graders in this program explored digital photography, the 7th graders embarked upon filmmaking!
Filmmaking opens up so many rich possibilities…from expressing your inner creativity, to dancing the fine balance between teamwork and individual contributions. And then there is all the craft that goes into making a video…from the technical side — how to operate a camera, how to edit it, and the creative content side — what content to show, how to frame it, what angle, how close or far should the camera be. Making a video also allows us the opportunity to get up close and personal with something we care about in the world, and do something about it! While some people may think 7th graders don’t care about social issues and the culture around them past the latest fad, it’s not true. The videos created in this workshop certainly stand up to this stereotype.
Throughout the workshop, we drew from process, techniques and tools detailed in the Adobe Youth Voices Create with Purpose Video Curriculum. To set the filmmaking stage and create a film common language [Media literacy], we watched several PSA’s and short videos, to tease out the important elements of a successful video, and to witness how Story, Audience, Message and Style (SAMS), each play a pivotal role in making a video successful.
Students then got into groups and brainstormed social issues they cared about and what they wanted to contribute to the conversation. From there, students selected one topic and pitched their ideas. Building from our media literacy and critical explorations, students used the SAMS structure in relation to their own videos, coming up with a clear Story, Target Audience, Message and Style for their PSA. Students went through the process of Inspiration/Media Literacy, Brainstorming/Pitching, Pre Production (SAMS structure, script, storyboard, story arc), Production (filming) and Post Production (editing, using Adobe Premiere Elements).
Throughout the process, students crafted the video and made choices based in intention and creating with purpose, while leaving room for the artistic muse to provide inspiration along the way. Team work, as well as leadership and playing to our strengths was encouraged at every turn. For example, some students students took the lead finding copyright free music, while others assembled the rough cut, both working in tandem and with the final project in mind.
Making a video was eye opening at every turn. Perhaps the greatest impression left on the students is that each of us has the ability and opportunity to make a difference, to make a change. And with these videos, this is exactly what these youth hope to do!