TGC/TMS Media Literacy Production History
The Generation Connection (TGC) is a one-week traveling day camp in East Nashville, TN where older adults and young people ages 8 to 12 participate in a variety of physical and educational activities designed to connect them to their community, the environment, & each other.
Since 2002 The Media Spot (TMS) has partnered with TGC to teach campers the basics of video production through documenting the camp experience. Small groups that include campers (old and young) each TGC activity, then work with TMS and a team of Jr. Counselor editors throughout the day to edit their footage into the Clips of the Day. The traditional final camp event is watching the "Clips" with parents, campers and staff, then publishing the clips to the TGC website. The camp media literacy production process is explained in the TGC 9 Media Literacy Story video (top left).
The Lesson of 2012: Daily Authentic Media Literacy Discussions
What we took away from this year's experience was that we need to schedule daily "video debriefing sessions" when we return from our trips. The first morning of this year's camp started with a media literacy crash course covering the vocabulary of framing shots, and how "shots" are put together into "sequences" to make meaning, followed by small group filming sessions on our trips throughout the week focused on alternating between close-ups, mid shots and wide shots to capture the camp story. We had our first all-camp debrief on Thursday afternoon to review the best raw footage of the week assembled by Teague, our high school assistant editor, who took the footage home each day and cut it down to what he thought would give campers the best chance of editing strong Clips of the Day.
The review session generated great conversations between old and young campers and staff members who all had very clear ideas of what should be done with the footage. It also provided me chance to check in with the camp as a whole to see if the media literacy lesson from Monday helped campers express their thinking to the group about how specific shots, and other video elements they would like to use to tell the story of camp through video.
Teachable Moment: Kid & Adult Imagine a Video Differently
An example of the success of this session was when Elizabeth Smith, the camp director, expressed strongly that she thought our canoeing footage from Wednesday should be shown with the natural, tranquil sounds of nature because our audience in the city should know what that was like. Camper hands went up in response, and Ryan, a 9 year-old respectfully and articulately explained that he thought some country music would help people get into a "country mood", that he felt while on the river and thought was important. The final Wednesday Clip of the Day (left) features a compromise: half way through the video we break to text that summarizes this discussion, then fades from the selected soundtrack music to the sounds of nature.
TGC/TMS Goals: Engage Audiences in Media Literacy along with Campers
It is always a goal of TMS/TGC productions to expose this decision-making process within our videos to not only demonstrate the building of media literacy that goes on at camp, but to expose our audience to those lessons as well. We hope to engage viewers in critical thinking about the constructedness of all media as they watch campers make editorial choices, and also transparently share the camp video production process to those who would like to try it for themselves.
The 2012 Productions
Watch the TGC 9 Media Literacy Story 2012 video (top left), and check out the Clips of the Day on TheGenerationConnection.com for a look at how this intergenerational experience takes place and is captured by our campers. Next year, look for more examples of critical thinking "in the field", as well as videotaped discussions from our DAILY video debriefing sessions.