I’ve Been ScreenEd!

        Just reflecting on and recuperating from IL-TCE 2007. I think it was our best conference ever and the best time I’ve had personally and professionally. Our keynotes, David Pogue and Jason Ohler, were both very funny and musical in addition to being fonts of information and inspiration.Broll I have to admit I was more than a little apprehensive before the conference, though. Sure, there were my usual worries about getting all the speakers in with our windy, snowy weather, but I was also doing a couple of new presentations myself. My biggest concern was a full, one day workshop based on AFIs K-12 Screen Education program. Two concerns, actually: it’s really a two day workshop and I’ve never gone through the training myself.
     I knew I was going to be alright after the fifteen unsuspecting participants showed up with more equipment than we could use and eager to help me shoot some b-roll for another project.
     Yes, you can’t do a two day workshop in one day! But with the cooperative bunch of educators I had and some good advice and the regular agenda from AFI, we were able to pick out excellent learning activities and make some movies. By lunchtime they had the shot vocabulary down pat. I was hearing things like, “This close-up won’t work after that follow shot,” and “Let’s try a medium shot to POV and then back to a choker/reaction shot.” We had to experience some of the activities vicariously using video from the “Lights! Camera! Education!” clips narrated by Sean Astin and available on unitedstreaming. Everyone did get an account with AFI and were able to download a copy of the “21st Century Teacher’s Handbook” to use as a guide to the “Door Scene” and the different shots.
     Teachers who were complete strangers (well, OK, teachers are never complete strangers to each other) at 8:30 were comrades in film by 10 when they arrived back in the room with their first footage. And it was great to see how much more they valued being able to edit on a computer when the only editing tool they had for the first exercise was the pause button on the camcorder. What hidden talents emerged too! There was some Oscar worthy acting and creative, on-the-spot sound effects in addition to the fine cinematography. I’m confident these folks will be able to go back to their schools and districts with the tools to excite their colleagues and move their students’ videos up a level or two.
     The following day I had a 45 minute concurrent session to show another forty or so attendees what the handbook and the unitedstreaming videos have to offer . That was fun and even more condensed, of course. But the kicker was that I had a teacher made video of the “Door Scene” from the day before to bring it all home.
     I am even more excited to be joining California DEN members for the two day training in a week and a half out in L.A. at the AFI campus. And it’s not just the weather (forecast says “most” of the snow here should be melted by then). It’s always a great time when the DEN gathers, I haven’t seen Jannita in months, and I will finally get to meet the very helpful AFI team in person.


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