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May 23, 2011

It's Possible to Find Reel Youth at Any Age

I spent this May long weekend in Vancouver at a two-day video production course facilitated by ReelYouth on behalf of the United Way of the Lower Mainland. 

The United Way holds an annual Care to Change video contest. Usually, ReelYouth, a non profit, run by two people - Mark Vonesch and Erica Køhn -  is focused on working with, you guessed it, youth, but every once in a while, adults come together to produce a two-minute film on some aspect of social justice. Mark and Erica are supported by a whole host of youth facilitators- especially when they put on summer camps - as they are doing on Cortes Island this summer in July. There are still 9 spots left. Visit the ReelYouth website.  

Imagine the amount of negotiation and interaction that's required (or not) of putting 20 strangers in a room, having them negotiate which topic of provided choices they'd like to work on, have people vote for which group they want to be in based on topic, take a blind vote about that choice, meet your group,  figure out the message, brainstorm a metaphor, discover where the tension of the piece is, find stats to support the message, achieve a resolution, choose a location, get a crash intro to a video camera, set up a tripod, figure out sound, and in our case, direct a member of our group - Nahani -  who is not a professional actor (but who did an amazing job), to be a mime pretending to be trapped inside an invisible box representing poverty.   And, oh yeah - do it in two days - not even full days - but from 10:00 am - 4:00 pm with one Friday night intro of 3 hours.
 As someone in one of the group's said, it renews her faith in bringing a bunch of minds and personalities together and having their perspectives bounce off each other to produce an end product and to value the process as much as the finished product, (not more, not less).
My group by sheer chance ended up consisting of four women, all very different, but incredibly respectful and easy to work with. Instead of frustration, we had fun and that's really almost more about personalities and luck as much about the way members of a group communicate with each other.  We also had the smallest group with the other two groups having six in each so that made things a little easier it seemed to us.

It was so worth the experience and now all I need is a video camera, a Mac and some Final Cut Pro Express (that's all) and I can set to work making that award-winning documentary.


Michael Becker said...

Hi Gayle: Thanks for participating the workshop and also for this wonderful blog post. Real community change on behalf of vulnerable people starts with individuals like you. Looking forward to seeing the video!

Michael Becker
United Way of the Lower Mainland

Gayle Mavor said...

Thank you Michael,
It was such a great program. Mark and Erica were excellent. I'm so glad the United Way of the Lower Mainland is able to fund these projects that lets youth and adults learn about film and increase their belief in their own abilities and in the ability of shared creativity. Can't wait to see them all myself.