Collaborative Program Invites Young Filmmakers to Tell Stories
High school-aged students along the Shoreline have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience and training in filmmaking as part of the “Making a Difference by Making a Video” program.
The filmmaking summer camp is a four-week program co-sponsored by Valley Shore Community Television (VSCTV) and the short-video platform Flip the Lens and invites curious creators from VSCTV’s covered towns of Chester, Deep River, Essex, Old Saybrook, Westbrook, Clinton, Durham, Haddam, and Killingworth.
The program focuses on the human condition, with the overarching theme of “celebrating our unique differences and our shared community,” said Flip the Lens co-founder Meg Pier. Participants are assigned two projects and have the opportunity to step out of their comfort zones and speak with community members.
Pier understands that conducting interviews can be a real challenge for young adults, especially with current popular media. Pier and program co-leader Tom Law view that in the age of social media and platforms like TikTok and Snapchat, content creators can permit themselves to remain insular and focus on media that pertains to themselves.
“That’s a huge intention, and [the] purpose is to inspire people to look at the world around them, to engage and to connect,” Pier said.
Law added to that sentiment.
“I think we’re really just looking to get people to think about the world outside of themselves,” he said.
In realizing the program’s tagline, participants will create two projects to capture it. The first will be conducting a 10- to 15-minute interview with an individual on the subject of belonging, and the second project will be to produce a mini-documentary that focuses on a dimension of local Connecticut history or culture.
Through the two projects, Pier hopes that the participants’ creativity and desire to learn more about the world around them will shine and highlight “the idea of connection and curiosity and empathy and learning about things that maybe could possibly be out of your comfort zone.”
To create projects that adhere to the program’s mission statement, participants will learn the soft and hard skills that go into filmmaking. In the former category, they will learn about the communication and interviewing skills that go into their projects and gain the confidence to become more comfortable with that process. Regarding the hard skills, students will learn more about the hands-on components of their projects with VSCTV’s “modern state of the art, video, equipment, editing, cameras, lights,” said Law. These include using Adobe Premiere Pro to learn video editing, how to use VSCTV’s high-definition camera equipment, microphone placement, and capturing clear audio.
During the program’s first week, students will focus more on the soft skill sets, “concepts and the nature of projects, and get people kind of brainstorming about what their particular project will be,” said Pier.
When all is said and done, participants’ completed projects will be ultimately aired on VSCTV and the Flip the Lens YouTube channel, according to Pier.
Through their projects, Pier and Law hope to see participants walk away with a new sense of wonder about the world surrounding them, make genuine connections with their interviewees, and come away with “a real life skill” of empathy.
“We really want the participants to come away having felt that they develop their sense of empathy that they have put themselves in someone else’s shoes. And then the idea of mindfulness, you know, being really in the moment and listening to someone…being really present to listen to people,” said Pier. “I think that in today’s day and age, we have so many distractions, and to be able to focus and to be able to really be mindful… it’s a life skill. It’s also a business skill. So those are some of the kinds of things that we’ll be working with the participants on as well.”
Registration for the “Making a Difference by Making a Video” closes on June 9. Participants will be chosen based on a first-come-first-serve basis and will be limited to 10 students.
For more information, visit www/flipthelens.com/filmmaker-summer-camp. To enroll or learn more, contact Meg Pier at firstname.lastname@example.org.