One of the most difficult tasks for anyone working in broadcast media is to create, storyboard and then produce a finished production in a limited time frame.
A team of Peters Township High School students were able to accomplish that recently, and won an award for their efforts.
Students in the media department classes of teachers Robin Hodgin-Frick and Kevin Bastos took second place honors in the 24-Hour Film Challenge sponsored by the Television and Video Teachers Consortium, in conjunction with Robert Morris University.
The group of 10 students was given a genre, a prop and a quote at 3 p.m. on Friday, Oct 21. They were required to write a script, storyboard, and shoot and edit the finished film within a 24-hour period.
The team worked through the night at the PTHS audio visual department creating “Double Date,” depicting twin sisters and their experience on a date with the same boy.
The video features Lindsay Spinabelli, who played the dual role, and Troy Richert. Both are members of the production team.
“Lindsay is also a member of the Thespians troupe and volunteered for the role," said team member Mandy Nerone. "Troy was kind of thrown into the role, but he volunteered too.”
Nerone helped produce the video, and handled the post-production.
She is a senior who has been involved with the PTHS media education program for the past three years. She said the goal in creating the video was to find a subject that could be enjoyed by all ages.
“We wanted to come up with a way to make the video humorous to a teenage audience as well as an audience of adults,” she said. “We were being judged 50 percent by adults and 50 percent by other students.”
Nerone said the actors did not have much time to rehearse, but rather read through the script before the actual filming began.
Like much of the process that takes place in any film production, students shot the scenes multiple times with different camera angles. “Some of the scenes we shot six or seven times, so by the end the actors knew the script pretty well,” she said.
Nerone said Bastos utilized his skills as an actor to coach Spinabelli and Richert in their roles.
Hodgin-Frick said it was only the second time that students from PTHS participated in the competition. She said that it allowed the students to put together everything they have been taught in the classroom.
“I think the best thing I can leave kids with are life skills that they can use in the future,” she said. “I teach by (film industry) standards, so that everything I teach has a baseline standard. This competition was really a practical application of all the skills they have been taught.”
Hodgin-Frick said the students in the class have been part of the media studies program for the past two or three years.
Admitting that creating, writing and then producing a project such as the video in a 24-hour time frame can be daunting, Nerone credited teamwork as a reason for success.
“I think we were able to take all the editing techniques that we learned in class, and tie them all together to create the video. Before that, we had never done anything like that to turn out a project in a short time. The teamwork was really tremendous."
Nerone said that at least seven or eight of the students, including herself, want to go into a career in television and media production, and that the experience was helpful in her career preparation.
Hodgin-Frick agreed that teamwork among the class helped lead to success.
“Everyone brought something to the table, and each of them had an individual strength,” she said. “They were able to see that the collective team was able to do something that the singular person could not.”
Hodgin-Frick said the school district was “incredibly supportive” of the program, which led to the overall success.
“This is my 17th year, and the program has been around for 20,” she said. “The fact that the district has been so supportive of it is just really impressive. The fact that the district allowed us to be in the school overnight to complete the project made all the difference.”
You can see the finished production here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m5qYt9CQRqs.