Over the last view months I’ve had the opportunity to get a glimpse at another world, live video production. It’s a world I’ve always been intrigued by. Heck, a video I produced way back in 2005 is what kicked-off my journey at Discovery. Our virtual field trips are amazing and as seen in quick behind-the-scenes footage, take a lot of planning and production know-how.
My students were always excited about doing video projects and wanted to know more about how to make them look like what they saw on TV or at the movies. That’s why it’s exciting to see one organization, BAYCAT.ORG, opening up its doors to provide professional level media instruction to students. They’ve worked with more than 3,250 students, channeling their passion into authentic technical skills while developing the confidence they need to succeed in life.
BAYCAT.ORG offers BAYCAT Academy, a hands-on experience for underserved kids ages 11-17 to explore and create digital media. All students collaborate on an episode of BAYCAT’s long-running youth-produced show “Zoom In,” but students will work within educational tracks to specialize in an area that interests them. BAYCAT is a non-profit media studio in San Francisco, CA that not only produces content – it trains hundreds of kids from tough neighborhoods in San Francisco how to work in visual arts.
Check out the overview below.
The founder of BAYCAT is Villy Wang. Her story is right out of Hollywood. She was raised by single mom who worked in the sweatshops of NYC – and in fact started working with her at 4 or 5. Her kitchen window looked out on the Twin Towers, so she dreamed of making it on Wall Street. Working odd jobs, she put herself through Brown and got that job at a Wall Street bank. She then got a law degree and moved to the Bay Area. Driven by her own rags to riches story, she eventually earned a teaching credential in SF and taught 4th and 5th grade. Disillusioned by the school system, she opened up BAYCAT to teach students technology/media skills directly. The demand is so high, now 11 years into the program, that they have to turn down some 200 applicants per year. Of the many that qualify, many, including graduates, still call her ‘Mom.’