Emmy, Anyone?

       Every spring, about a month before school lets out, the Chicagoland Television Educators Council gathers to celebrate and honor the best work of the students from our member schools. One of the high points of the day attended by 300+ young visual storytellers is the awarding of “Emmys” by our local NATAS (National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences) organization to the regional winners whose work is then moved on for consideration at the national level. There are seven categories in this high school competition ranging from straight news to public service announcements (PSA) to writing.
     Wait, please don’t tune me out just because you are not a high school educator or don’t have production classes. There is a lot to be learned here about good visual story crafting and being a critical viewer. Now allow me to jump up on one of my many soapboxes for just a few lines. I think one of the greatest, longtime benefits of students creating their own videos is that they become better viewers. I don’t think there are many students who ever look at movies or commercials the same way after they have made their own and watched their classmates’. The same goes for news, even if they are “just” broadcasting the day’s announcements to the rest of the school. Whether you would ever consider entering this competition or not, there is a wealth of good examples that can be imitated in any class old enough to aim a camera. You can go here for last year’s winning videos. And check this page for resources and a PDF download on best practices for TV journalism “…on how to be fair to the TV public.” Both the national and our Chicago/Midwest chapter have been very supportive. Find and see what your local NATAS chapter has to offer education.Natasbest_1

     The CTEC group has put together a list of resources ranging from the FCC broadcast guidelines to free audio. There are also some clips of finalists from past video festivals. Our fourteen categories include the likes of comedy, drama and music videos.
     For those of you who have read this far and might consider entering, the deadline is February 16, 2007. Everything must be received (physically or electronically) including a $25 entry fee by then.
     For the rest of us, we can all be inspired and learn from their work while teaching others to be critical viewers.


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