Tuesday, 06 October 2015 18:38

Change The World

Change Your Words You Can Change The World

An Artist Residency is one of my favourite things in the world. It gives me the opportunity to spend quality time in a school investing in the lives of the students and staff. This week I got to work with 360 students to produce a multi media production called, Change The World/Change le Monde.

Words like ‘madhouse’ ‘bedlam’ and ‘creative chaos’ were used on several occasions and some of the more ‘senior staff’ were captured on video covering their ears in a desperate attempt to muffle the deafening cheers. (Though smiles tugged suspiciously at the corners of their mouths at the same time)

The Plan…produce a digital media project that celebrated the community life of the school, highlighting themes like social responsibility and leadership and really set the tone for the school year. When I arrived Monday morning, I was given a schedule that looked like a piece of homework that maybe the dog actually should have eaten. Teacher’s names were scribbled and scrawled…some were crossed out and redirected with curved double-ended arrows indicating a reshuffling of exotic ingredients in some madcap creative recipe. I kid…it showed me immediately that the staff were engaged and accommodating to making this plan work for everyone. Cooperation is key to success!

Day One…I spent the first day dashing from room to room, interviewing all the students. What words did they use to describe their school, their class, teacher and friends? I asked them for personal stories of how someone had made their life better, and how they had made someone else’s life better and wrote it all down.

I compiled word banks and created a cache of stories from these interviews. A big colourful sign in the hallway that said, ‘Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset’ really caught my eye. (and imagination) At the end of Day One I sat down and channeled all the inspiration to write a song called, Change the World.

Day Two…bright and early I was once again scampering through the hallways, drifting in and out of classrooms like a wandering minstrel, teaching the new song to each class. In between rehearsals we worked out visual components of our project. Central is a French Immersion school, so language is a big part of their identity. ARTS posters are pinned on every wall spelling out the school’s community values. Acceptance/Accepter, Respect/Respecter, Together/Tous, Security/Sécurité.

Plans emerged for each classroom make giant, colourful posters that spelled out these words. It was a tactile way for the kids to engage with the words that express the values that create a safe, encouraging environment that foster their hopes and dreams.

 

We covered a huge area in one hallway with paper, creating a ‘School Wall’ where students could write personal iMessages like, ‘I feel safe here’ ‘I respect my friends.’ In the brilliant words of one little dude, ‘this is the most awesomeist graffiti ever!’

I explored the wild side of the playground with my camera, capturing the kid’s energy and enthusiasm in their natural habitat. When you’re in elementary school, the playground is where the real work of respect, acceptance and togetherness is done.

I also found time to marvel that at some point in my life I too had been able to swing on monkey bars without pulling my limbs from their sockets.                        (those days are long past)

Day Three…flew by in a blur of filming, drawing, colouring and rehearsing as I raced from the highest room in the tallest tower to the deep dark recesses of Central’s WWII era basement. I’m not going to lie, 360 kids keep you hopping. One of things I love about being a facilitator is the energy builds exponentially because everyone is able to be involved in a way that plays to their strengths. I’m not the horse or the wagon…I’m just the wild guy with the guitar having the time of his life playing a melody that lets us sing together at ear-bleeding levels.

Day Four…the momentum continued to build through the day, coming to a deafening ‘world changing’ crescendo at the assembly in the gym, where the mood was electric and the kids sang so loud it felt like an AC/DC concert.

I set up my portable recording gear, set a stationary camera at the back of the room and gave my handheld to a volunteer and we proceeded to record and film the song three different times. Watching the footage close to a gazillion times as I edited the video, I was blown away by the power of community and creativity to change our lives and the world around us.

I love being part of a great story and happily offer my 18 years of experience as a professional writer, performer and producer in the music, TV and film industry to each school to help students discover their talents, gifts and abilities so they can tell their story in ways they haven’t before. If this is something that would interest your school or community, you are 100% free (and encouraged) to contact me anytime!  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

It is a privilege to be able to invest in the lives of others.
Merci Beaucoup…Change le Monde!

 

Published in Tour Stories
Tuesday, 06 October 2015 18:34

Change The World

Change Your Words You Can Change The World

An Artist Residency is one of my favourite things in the world. It gives me the opportunity to spend quality time in a school investing in the lives of the students and staff. This week I got to work with 360 students to produce a multi media production called, Change The World/Change le Monde.

Words like ‘madhouse’ ‘bedlam’ and ‘creative chaos’ were used on several occasions and some of the more ‘senior staff’ were captured on video covering their ears in a desperate attempt to muffle the deafening cheers. (Though smiles tugged suspiciously at the corners of their mouths at the same time)

The Plan…produce a digital media project that celebrated the community life of the school, highlighting themes like social responsibility and leadership and really set the tone for the school year. When I arrived Monday morning, I was given a schedule that looked like a piece of homework that maybe the dog actually should have eaten. Teacher’s names were scribbled and scrawled…some were crossed out and redirected with curved double-ended arrows indicating a reshuffling of exotic ingredients in some madcap creative recipe. I kid…it showed me immediately that the staff were engaged and accommodating to making this plan work for everyone. Cooperation is key to success!

Day One…I spent the first day dashing from room to room, interviewing all the students. What words did they use to describe their school, their class, teacher and friends? I asked them for personal stories of how someone had made their life better, and how they had made someone else’s life better and wrote it all down.

I compiled word banks and created a cache of stories from these interviews. A big colourful sign in the hallway that said, ‘Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset’ really caught my eye. (and imagination) At the end of Day One I sat down and channeled all the inspiration to write a song called, Change the World.

Day Two…bright and early I was once again scampering through the hallways, drifting in and out of classrooms like a wandering minstrel, teaching the new song to each class. In between rehearsals we worked out visual components of our project. Central is a French Immersion school, so language is a big part of their identity. ARTS posters are pinned on every wall spelling out the school’s community values. Acceptance/Accepter, Respect/Respecter, Together/Tous, Security/Sécurité.

Plans emerged for each classroom make giant, colourful posters that spelled out these words. It was a tactile way for the kids to engage with the words that express the values that create a safe, encouraging environment that foster their hopes and dreams.

 

We covered a huge area in one hallway with paper, creating a ‘School Wall’ where students could write personal iMessages like, ‘I feel safe here’ ‘I respect my friends.’ In the brilliant words of one little dude, ‘this is the most awesomeist graffiti ever!’

I explored the wild side of the playground with my camera, capturing the kid’s energy and enthusiasm in their natural habitat. When you’re in elementary school, the playground is where the real work of respect, acceptance and togetherness is done.

I also found time to marvel that at some point in my life I too had been able to swing on monkey bars without pulling my limbs from their sockets.                        (those days are long past)

Day Three…flew by in a blur of filming, drawing, colouring and rehearsing as I raced from the highest room in the tallest tower to the deep dark recesses of Central’s WWII era basement. I’m not going to lie, 360 kids keep you hopping. One of things I love about being a facilitator is the energy builds exponentially because everyone is able to be involved in a way that plays to their strengths. I’m not the horse or the wagon…I’m just the wild guy with the guitar having the time of his life playing a melody that lets us sing together at ear-bleeding levels.

Day Four…the momentum continued to build through the day, coming to a deafening ‘world changing’ crescendo at the assembly in the gym, where the mood was electric and the kids sang so loud it felt like an AC/DC concert.

I set up my portable recording gear, set a stationary camera at the back of the room and gave my handheld to a volunteer and we proceeded to record and film the song three different times. Watching the footage close to a gazillion times as I edited the video, I was blown away by the power of community and creativity to change our lives and the world around us.

I love being part of a great story and happily offer my 18 years of experience as a professional writer, performer and producer in the music, TV and film industry to each school to help students discover their talents, gifts and abilities so they can tell their story in ways they haven’t before. If this is something that would interest your school or community, you are 100% free (and encouraged) to contact me anytime!  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

It is a privilege to be able to invest in the lives of others.
Merci Beaucoup…Change le Monde!

Published in Homepage
Wednesday, 05 November 2014 03:53

Student Filmmaking Projects

I teach a variety of workshops in schools. For a recent multi media video project, I asked two classes with 25 kids in each, to tell the story of their school through visual storytelling.

They brainstormed and came up with different elements that make up the life of their school. The mascot, band, breakfast program, recycling, etc.

VIDEO ONE

They spent two days creating storyboards and shot lists for a lip dub video. Then they matched their individual skill sets, gifts and interests with the skills required to complete the project. They decided who would be actors, directors, camera operators, etc.

VIDEO TWO

We had one 45 minute class each day over the week to produce these video. On the Friday afternoon at the end of the week, the school organized an assembly for all the students, and we had an official screening of the films the students made. This allowed the other students to see themselves on the screen, and for the whole school to celebrate their creativity.

Movie Trailers

I spent the following week in a middle school working with 4 different classes ranging from grade 7-9. I divided each class of 30 students into 5 separate film crews. Each group had to decide what type of film trailer they wanted to make. (horror, comedy, adventure, etc)

After deciding on the type of story, they worked out a storyboard and shot list. Then it was their turn to match their individual skill set with the skills needed to complete the project. One person may like to be in front of the camera, but the next person would hate it. But that person might like to operate the camera. Together they figured out who would write the script, who would direct and edit.

We didn't have a lot of time. We spent the first two 45 minute classes (Mon & Tue) in pre production, getting the story, the script and shot list, and the following two days, (Wed & Thur) filming and editing. On Thursday night, we had a free community concert that featured the 8 trailers and a collection of slam poets I had also worked with through the week.

Abandoned - Trailer

These projects develop media literacy and the fundamentals of storytelling and composition. They require students to identify their unique talents and abilities and then match those to the project. They learn to recognize how their strengths and weaknesses provide opportunities to work with others who are skilled differently.

One of the main strengths of this project is that we create an environment where every student can play to their strengths so that the entire group can have a 'win'. It's great for team building and setting a tone for creative exploration and development. I offer this workshop to teachers and adults in other professional settings as well.

 

Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 250 896 2572 to book a residency in your school or community.

Published in Tour Stories

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