Friday, 9 January 2015

Time Wise


On Wednesday I had my first session back after the Christmas break with one of my classes. They're a group that often arrive early before the class starts (it's first thing so it's OK) and they take that time to share stories, listen to music together and joke around. I'm often included too which is a nice way to bond with them.

Pretty much as soon as they arrived on Wednesday, one of the girls eagerly told me that a small group of them (including a student who has since left this school and moved to Paris but with whom that have maintained a connection with) had been working on a series of videos over Christmas and asked me if I wanted to see them. Absolutely, I wanted to! I'm always curious what these kids in particular get up to online, because they're not the type just to make funny vines or in-joke videos. These guys produce some pretty interesting stuff sometimes.

So, we pulled up their Youtube channel and what I saw really surprised me. Not only had they made a series of films, written, filmed and produced themselves, but they had actually done something of real value. A series of films, some a little bit abstract, some in a Film-Noir style, all really impressive. Especially when you consider that these students are only 15, this is the first time they've got their hands on a decent camera and most of the production skills they've got are self-taught.

And seeing their creative entrepreneurship was a reminder of my attitude when I was a similar age. I have always had a need to create, to produce things that I have in my head, and so often I have had to teach myself the relevant skills I needed. I was often making videos with my friend's old VHS camcorder (a huge piece of equipment, the fruits of which still exist somewhere on tape at my friend's house), and in my own time learning how to use Photoshop so I could make photos like this

(Yes, I really did have highlights in my hair at that age)

I managed to get myself to a fairly decent proficiency with the software, by reading online tutorials and following the steps, and by watching videos posted by other budding Photoshop amateurs and professionals. I taught myself how to use Final Cut, so I could edit videos and I learned some basic InDesign techniques, to arrange my posters. Now I'm at a stage where I can make posters which I can hang on my walls at home, like this

and I can make the posters I've needed for student performances.

 and I can edit and produce videos, (even if only to a fairly basic standard).

So as well as getting myself the skills I needed for my own creative outputs and without realising it at the time, I was giving myself invaluable skills that I would be able to use in my professional career later. In fact, I have actually managed to get myself jobs off the back of these skills (I worked as a secondary school drama technician for a while in which quite a bit of my time was spent video editing and photoshopping) and I continue to use these skills on a weekly basis.

For that group of students, they could have spent their time over the vacation doing something else, making stupid videos, or even not at all, but instead they chose to do something else...
As well as producing something of real artistic value, as well as developing their own styles and techniques, they are actually independently advancing their own learning and setting themselves up with skills that they will be able to use for the rest of their lives.

So, time wise, that's time wisely spent!

1 comment :

  1. It also doesn't surprise me Carl that you are inspiring the young 'uns to get out there and be creative - your energy is totally infectious!!!!