by Reagan Wish
Superheroes, super-spies, and lion kings, and hyper-traditional Swedes got nothing on the kids in this summer’s Videography for Teens Camp. From acting, directing, and producing their new short film, The School for Deities, these young adults can do it all—and they’re having a great time with it.
My first question for the class was “What exactly is videography?” Turns out, it’s pretty much filmmaking and will likely go by that title in the future. The class encompassed everything that goes into making a film—from the camera shots to script writing to the compilation and editing of footage. The instructor John Lyons walked me through their process. First they have to determine the basics: they choose a genre, pitch their individual movie ideas, then vote anonymously to select a favorite. This is only the first part. After a movie idea is selected, each student writes their own version of the script, vote again to determine the favorite of the scripts, and then group workshop that version. It is only after a couple rounds of editing, followed by auditions and casting, that we actually get to do the “video” stuff.
With so many group decisions and moving parts, it is unsurprising to hear that communication is one of the most important skills to learn when working in the discipline. Teamwork is a must, and it’s not easy—“It’s hard to agree, and sometimes we start yelling”, laughs one of the students. Despite the strain of many minds, I was genuinely impressed by the group’s vibe. There is definitely teasing—a whole gale of laughter commenced when we brought up rejected story ideas—and a sort of teenage aloofness, but anyone watching can tell that the students really care about each other and their project. The many hours they have invested with Mr. Lyon on The School for Deities and their other exercises is admirable, and I’m inspired by how fun they make it seem. Even though everyone puts in a ton of hard work, they’re all excited to be there and help out. I love Mr. Lyon’s insight to the process: “Everyone has different skills and they really complement each other. They work together to support each other and create the best version they can.”
They all agree that the reward of crafting your own story, bringing it to life, and sharing it with others—both inside and outside the classroom—is the best part of the experience. Mr. Lyon agrees; considering film as the ultimate medium, where you create an entire world for the audience, he feels the innovation and hard work of videography is most rewarding when shared. I asked the students if they were going to take what they learned in the classroom beyond the program. The answer was an enthusiastic yes! They all agree the patience and collaborative mindset that videography teaches is a huge help for whatever they choose to tackle next. The group also feels that they will continue sharing their stories—whether in the form of mini documentaries, artistic shots, or silly videos to be enjoyed by friends and family.
I’ve read the script, and I can’t WAIT to see it recorded! Make sure, like Life, you don’t pass it by.