Week 4 – Story Ideas from the Youth

This week, a great opportunity to hear from the youth about their story ideas. You know you’re getting somewhere when the students are talking about it outside of classroom. It indicates motivation beyond what we are telling them to do.

Kate has been incredible at managing this video project with the other curriculum topics. As much as possible, we are integrating curriculum with Reel World Youth. Ideas for story ideas can come from current events, while fleshing out story structure is a refresh of the literature curriculum.

Like I say many times (almost as a mantra to myself), this is not a film studies course. This is an excuse to learn about the world beyond the classroom. And as such, it should have applications in life. For example, next week I intend on teaching the class about interviewing. Learning how to talk to people in authority, asking them questions, listening and thinking about what they say are all very valuable skills to develop.

But I digress. Each of the student teams presented their ideas to each other and received feedback and questions. (Critiquing is going to be a crucial skill particularly when they start showing each other footage; better start now!) In listening to the presentations, I was impressed with the wide variety of topics covered.

Here were some of those ideas:

  • Clara Hughes and the struggle to overcome mental health issues.
  • Importance of firefighters and paramedics in protecting our lives.
  • The life of a small business owner.
  • Impact of Nenshi on Muslim youth.
  • School for the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Tania, park ranger in a man’s world

There were fourteen other topics, all promising.

The challenge, as is often the case in documentaries, is access to the subject you are filming. Nenshi probably gets requests from every school, every day. Nevertheless, there are ways around it. For example, you could use archival footage and focus more on the impact Nenshi has had on a youth giving his or her own testimonial.

I’ve realized the key role Kate’s network and my network play in giving the students accessibility options. I’m sure that the students have their own valuable connections they haven’t considered, but it also helps that Kate and I can bring in voices that they normally wouldn’t have thought about.

Wherever we can I’d like for them to push the boundaries of what they think they can do and who they think they can contact.