Things I learned at local high school film festival

Sunday was the 2nd annual Northern California Media Educators (NCME) Media and Film Showcase.  It’s an opportunity for media, film, and broadcasting students from the region to submit some of their best work to be judged by industry professionals.  Five of my students and I made our way to San Juan High School for the showcase and awards ceremony.  Even though we didn’t come home with any awards this year, it was a great event.  Here are some things I learned:

  1. Students in this region are creating excellent work.  I was blown away by the quality of some of the work that was submitted.  As I sat in the theater and watched the screening of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners in each category, I had to regularly remind myself that this work was created by high school students.  The quality of some of the news reporting, video storytelling, and motion graphics was as good as what you might see on television today.  Some of these students clearly have a future in the industry.
    *The showcase was recorded and I’ll post a link in the comments once they have it online.
  2. Competition = Motivation.  As soon as the lights came on at the end of the show, I overheard two students talking about how to “beat” this school or that school next year.  On the walk back to the car, plans were already being put in place for upcoming video projects that will be submitted to next year’s showcase.  My constant attempts to motivate my students to do extraordinary work (or even to turn things in on time) often fall pretty flat.  But all of a sudden they are in some sort of competition with rival schools and motivation is no longer an issue.  I like it.
  3. There are some incredible Broadcasting and Multimedia programs in this area.  The local connections that I have made as an educator through the NCME community have been invaluable as I’ve been building a Broadcasting and Filmmaking program at Del Oro.  Whitney High School recently won an award for having the best high school daily news show in the nation.  Of the 40 or so awards that were given out yesterday, Whitney students took home over half.  Wow.
  4. Sometimes submitting to the right category will make all the difference.  A few students had created a fantastic 30 second chase scene for an assignment earlier this term.  I encouraged them to submit it to the festival even though there wasn’t the perfect category for it (it’s really just the middle of a story without a beginning or an end).  They submitted to the Short Film Live Action category.  After seeing the other entries at the showcase, we all agreed that with a few adjustments (like a “Coming this Summer” title) they could have done much better in the Movie Trailer category.  Lesson learned.

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