Teens on Screen, Take One…

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My eldest  — more or less a teenager — is completely mad about film.  And television.  Not just watching it but making it, analysing it, quizzing his mother about her top 10 favourite directors of all time while she’s cooking dinner (even though she can’t actually name 10 directors, never mind rank them in order of merit).  So when I heard about the ‘Teens on Screen’ course, I signed him up straight away.  Like, even before he could snap his clapper board.

And, no surprise, he loved it.

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Teens on Screen courses are run by Karen Witchalls-Plunkett and Alistair Divall — who between them have a whole heap of experience in the industry, which they’re now passing on to local teens.  My H did their one-day ‘TV Presenting Course’ in half term, and he’s still talking about it.  And I’ve booked him into their ‘Take 2’ follow-up for a day in the summer hols.  Rumour has it, too, that there’s a ‘Take 3’ course in the pipeline, so I imagine I’ll be signing him up for that as well.

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Based at their home studio in St Albans, the ‘Teens on Screen’ day introduces 13-18 year olds to the basic of presenting — script writing, talking to camera, using a green screen, co-presenting, using an autocue, and even a bit of outside broadcasting.

They started the day talking about newsreading and performing, getting their head around what was to come.  They’d had to practise a piece about themselves, which they then recorded to camera.  After that, they worked on using a teleprompter (I’ve always wanted to have a go at that myself), and creating a chat show on a topic they enjoyed.  H chose, you’ve guessed it, movies.  The day finished up with them each presenting a pre-learned piece to camera outside — doing the whole walking-and-talking outside broadcast thing.

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And your screen-mad teen comes away with a You Tube link to all their best clips.  The best bit about that, for sure, was seeing how much H grew in confidence throughout the day.  He starts off all umm-ing and nervous, and then ends on an outside broadcast to be proud of.  Good to see.  Check it out right here.  I definitely think you can really see his confidence developing as the clips go on — but I might just be viewing it through my proud mother specs.

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H went in a bit nervous, but came out using words like ‘awesome’ and ‘brilliant.’  And here, direct from our own correspondent, is what he had to say about it…

I really enjoyed the course.  It was very informative and I learned a lot about news reading  and the television industry.  By the end of the course, I was much more confident in front of a camera and much more confident in general.  The people in charge were friendly and supported you.  It was very clear what they were teaching us and it wasn’t over-complicated.  What they were saying made perfect sense.  They helped you and would answer any questions you had about the television industry and questions about news reading.

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It was something a bit different — made a change from football or cricket or whatever — and  I know he really enjoyed meeting other kids who were into the same stuff he is.   He also loved having all the proper kit to play with…. er, I mean, learn how to use.  Seriously, it gave him a neat insight into the world he, right now, wants to work towards entering.  And that was great.


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