My Intermediate Live Action class at Rhode Island School of Design got a real treat yesterday with a Camera Movement workshop. The students were thrilled to get an introduction on how to assemble and use fixed- and flexible-track dollies, jib, Glidecam (which we called the "wobble-cam" due to the challenges of using it), slider, wheel, and shoulder rigs.
I got to spend last weekend with my college roommate Carolyn Schuyler on the opening weekend of Wildrock, a natural park and playscape she founded to help people heal from trauma.
We interviewed three veterans who suffered post-traumatic stress disorder but discovered that spending time in nature could help them heal – and re-integrate in civilian life after deployment. We quickly cut these together with images of the beautiful 20-acre park in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
“I had hit rock bottom,” explains veteran and military spouse Sarah Akers. “And the moment between choosing to end my life and not choosing to end my life was literally, ‘Well, okay what now?’ Life hasn't changed, but I said, ‘I'm going to be here, so now what?’ And I literally got up and started walking because I couldn't sit in the middle of my kitchen. And I realized that I had no idea where I was going, but there was something very cathartic about walking, and putting one foot in front of the other, one foot in front of the other. Hiking, in nature.”
I am lucky to never have suffered PTSD, but I can attest to the power of nature to calm, heal, and give us the big picture of life.
Check out the finished video here. Congratulations to Carolyn and her staff on the launch of this great non-profit!
I was with my family at the beautiful World’s End park recently and we came across a gorgeous new sculpture by Berlin and Copenhagen-based artist Jeppe Hein. The mirrored labyrinth piece is poised to reflect the stunning ocean views on both sides of the narrow peninsula where it stands.
Walking within the graduated columns it’s easy to get lost even though it’s not a huge piece. Thank you to the Trustees of Reservations for bringing this amazing landscape art to the people!
The Cambridge Community Foundation celebrated its 100th anniversary last night with a gala celebration at the MIT Media Lab. We had the pleasure of creating the signature video for the event, featuring the story of Messay Endigawork, an Ethiopian immigrant who has taken advantage of several programs funded by the Foundation to move herself and her family forward.
The Foundation partners with local non-profits to support programs in health, education, culture, and community development. It works to bridge the gap between Cambridge’s wealth of financial and human capital and its deep-rooted problems of poverty, housing stresses, and inequality of opportunity. “Our role is as a connector between those phenomenal assets on one hand and the challenges on the other,” explains Foundation President Geeta Pradhan.
In its recent Boomtown/Hometown report, the Foundation explores the numbers behind Cambridge’s booming innovation economy and its increasing inequality. Only 23% of the city’s households were middle-income in 2015; about half were high income and the rest were low-income. The Foundation works to preserve Cambridge’s unique diversity and serve as a catalyst for positive change.
Our 10 live-action film/video seniors at Rhode Island School of Design are busy shooting their projects locally and in New York, China, Poland, and the Philippines. Pictured here are some of the cast and crew from Alexandra Pizzuti’s The Coop – a hilarious fantasy about a gay conversion camp where the teen campers get converted into chickens instead of straight people.
Other films include a moving story of two teen brothers trying to find their way alone after their mother dies; a supervillain movie pitting different forms of evil against one another; a semi-autobiographical narrative about a young Korean man trying to convince his Polish girlfriend’s Catholic parents to let her marry him; and a dream-like reverie about live streaming's impact on relationships.
It’s been a lot of fun co-teaching the Degree Projects workshop with veteran filmmaker Peter O’Neill. Can’t wait for our show May 10-13!
We are emerging from a year’s collaboration with Reaching Higher New Hampshire to create a set of videos about competency-based education, in which students must prove mastery of topics and skills before advancing to the next unit or grade level. New Hampshire is a leader in the field, with 17 districts running in-depth pilots of competency education and all districts required to transition to the approach in coming years.
The output of this project includes the full 13-minute PACE: Unleashing Student and Teacher Potential, a short trailer version, and standalone pieces on Student Perspectives on Competency Education and How is PACE Calibrated? We also created a flurry of 30-60 second social media clips drawn from the out-takes.
“This whole archaic system of moving kids along because of how old they are, really goes away with this competency system,” says Justin Roy, Spaulding High School principal. “Because it’s more about what they’re understanding and what they’re learning and what they are able to show that they can do.”
Ben Mathias, a ninth grade geometry student, likes the PACE assessments, “It’s different than having a letter grade because in most schools you take a test and then they find the percentage out of it. So you get a 70 on a test, that’s barely passing or whatever. But you only know 70% of the material and yet you are still being able to go on. But with competencies you actually have to show that you know the whole scope of the subject to actually be able to pass and move on to the next topic.”
I am amazed to see the variety of resources available for educators, students, and families Students at the Center Hub. This Nellie Mae Education Foundation website provides a clearinghouse of information about student-centered approaches to learning.
Several videos we have produced are available on the site, including two recent “Video Tool Suites” we created for Jobs for the Future on Incorporating 21st Century Skills in the Classroom and Designing and Implementing a Student-Centered ELO Program.