Recently we coordinated with the Special Interest program at CVHS to host 18 students to learn about video production - the cool part was that none of them were aware of the purpose to the Mystery Trip!It started out with a friend of mine from Jump Street needing a commercial to promote their involvement with The Big Read - part of the National Endowment for the Arts. She had the idea getting students involved with the project. As our discussions went on, it turned into the Mystery Trip for CVHS students to actually create the ad.
I’m a huge advocate of job shadowing, career days, talking up classes at local schools… anything to help them make informed decisions about possible careers. Well, they arrived at 8AM and I had the typical soapbox about video and showed them some of our work. We then went to a meeting area and discussed the career options and had a few of my crew members on hand to share their educational and real-world experiences. It’s now going on 10AM and no one had a clue what was about to take place. Not to mention engaging high school kids in the morning is a feat in itself.
So it’s nearing 10AM and now I let them know what the day holds: A brainstorming session to meet the client and figure out the audience and message; then breaking into groups of 3 headed up by a team member for specific tasks of documentary, writing, editing, graphics, location production and audio. We ate lunch and went at it! The van was loaded and headed for the location for setup. Graphics started gathering information and logos. Audio searched for music. Editing studied other ads for concepts. Writers wrote and got the script approved.
Once approved, Producers headed to the location to work with talent. By 3PM everyone was back at FFP to review the footage but the school day was over. So it actually took a 2nd day for the editing. But I was really amazed what took place that day! The students really took hold of the project and made it happen.
I’m not sure if we created any Spielburgs in doing this but we had a great experience!
From the Cumberland Valley website:
Students create commercial that airs on WHP CBS-21
Lights, cameras, action.
And the action -- which features students from Cumberland Valley High School -- is airing on WHP CBS-21/CW-15 about 100 times.
In October, Steve Kownacki of Final Focus Productions engaged a crew of professional videographers to coach 17 Cumberland Valley High School students to create and film a 30-second commercial for Jump Street, a non-profit arts agency in Harrisburg marketing a program called The Big Read.
Special Interest teachers Anne Marie Miller and Edward Schatz worked with Jump Street and Final Focus Productions to coordinate the annual “mystery trip,” a field trip designed to expose high school students to memorable experiences off campus.
“Jump Street needed a commercial to advertise the events organized around the novel, 'Fahrenheit 451,' for The Big Read, a national initiative to get people to read and discuss the same book,” said Cindy Dlugolecki, Arts In Education Consultant to Jump Street. “A student-created commercial with a unique teen perspective was a creative way to use funds provided by the National Endowment for the Arts and to simultaneously encourage reading.”
Jump Street has provided resource materials for “Fahrenheit 451” (study guides, teacher guides, cds, and bookmarks) to any school, library, or book group requesting them.
The field trip in October took the students five minutes away from their school but deep into a professional world filled with creative thought, writing, acting, camcorders, cameras, computers, visual and audio components, collaboration, editing, and deadlines. The students had one school day to create the 30-second commercial, a project that, according to Kownacki, would typically take three days. Kownacki divided the students into teams and paired each team with a professional to guide the process.
Student orientation and planning began at Kownacki’s office in Mechanicsburg and then the camera crew and actors shot the commercial “on location” at Mechanicsburg’s Washington Fire Station on Main Street. As paper burns at 451 degrees Fahrenheit and the major characters of Ray Bradbury’s novel are firefighters who burn books, the students created a commercial that included firetrucks, firefighter uniforms, and a firefighter, Dalton Peters, in the footage.