Like the Back of Your Hand

As my senior year community service/creative project, I drafted an incomplete curriculum for first-year high school journalism students. My plan was to lead a series of short seminar-like sessions, during the regularly scheduled television production courses at my school, that would introduce these freshmen to the core concepts of journalism, with an emphasis on their connection to television production and cinematography.

While the plans themselves were never fully completed (much like a teacher that finalizes only half the curriculum and develops the rest based on how the first half of the school year goes), I was still granted the opportunity – both by the administration at my school and by my television production instructor – to carry on with the project.

So far, it’s been going absolutely great. The group of students in the class is a good one, a lot of them know each other from middle school, and they’re a very open and accepting group when it comes to learning the material. Having been a student of the broadcasting program for three years already, it pleases me to see a completely new set of kids being so interested in learning about what goes on behind and in front of the cameras.

It’s also got me thinking. Today, when I was doing a brief lecture on the do’s and dont’s of a film shoot, I realized how I’ve internalized so many concepts of video production. I did the entire lecture with nothing but one-word headers describing each topic I wanted to talk about – the actual examples and descriptions came from me, on the spot, with barely any premeditation or accompanying handout.

My broadcasting teacher – rather, the one before the teacher currently leading the program – used to do the same thing. He would write chicken scratch on a 3 x 5 index card and that was his outline. The rest came from his own knowledge, his own experiences.

When I arrived at the topic of music in movies during today’s lecture, I thought of an example off the top of my head – as I was explaining the concept, mind you – that directly applied to what I was talking about. I used it, and it worked! It made the kids better understand what I was trying to say. And that moment was perhaps the highlight of my day.

I’m not lauding myself for being such an A/V geek. In fact, this is not a self-congratulatory speech at all. What it is is an homage to the program, to the art of television and film, to my program instructor – both the former and the current – and to all that in between. To come to the sweet realization that I’ve come to know all these concepts like the back of my hand, to be able to instill my knowledge through the spoken word into kids that are completely new to the whole enterprise, is intrinsically rewarding.

It’s reminded me why I drafted the curriculum in the first place. And since the year’s only barely begun, the project’s only got one direction to go. Up.

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