Since I was nine years old and for the past seven summers I spent time at the Jersey shore for vacations.
Thank goodness; there was something about being near the ocean that made me feel freer than during the school year. If I found paper I would just start writing stories, thoughts and for a journal. I would ask to go back to the place early from the beach to type stories on the computer. It would be pages and pages of growing up tales, although never read by anyone else. Then stories turned into videotaping times at the beach and traveling places. By the time I was a teenager I had my own friends to meet up with from New Jersey. I found out that when I put everything together in a summer time memories video people would gather and it grew to sometimes 20 watching. Everyone would be laughing. It made me feel like I was creating something important and fun. My own movie that people wanted to watch again – they were asking me for copies.
I had discovered that I could tell stories through mini movies. My school has always been good about letting kids experiment with video cameras so we could show the teachers some of the new features. I had a Canon FS200 digital video camera to try out right before going back to school. This was “the ticket”, no more hours capturing DV tapes, now clips were instant right on a memory card and ready for inserting directly into the movie timeline. Something bigger was about to happen with my amateur video taping. In August 2010, my younger sister entered a national contest to be a Sports Illustrated Kid Reporter. When it came down to the final 17 out of over one thousand entries the final part was to submit a three minute video on why you want to be a kid reporter? She got the email one day before the last day of New York Giants training camp in Albany, NY about 3 hours from our house. She was determined to get inside the gate to interview players for her entry. She told me I was going and to bring my camera, she needed me. I had no time to think. She bribed me even though I wanted to go, but again I was feeling that same thing that my videotaping was going to pay off. She was going to be doing my Sunday “to do list” from mom for a month.
This time I was nervous, the sun had to be behind me, my battery had to be charged, the lens needed to be clean, I needed backup memory cards and all those tips my teacher told me like not covering up the microphone with my hand were starting to seem a lot more serious. Did you know that when the wind is blowing (15 miles per hour that day) just placing your body to block the wind can save the audio so you can actually hear the person you are interviewing? Well I learned this the hard way; some of the footage, and yes good parts we couldn’t use. That is my one tip for amateurs like me. Another tip is know where to hold your camera, these football players were real life giants, to get both my sister and the huge guy on the screen without looking like we were too far away was to hold the camera down lower and shoot upwards. Also, you know that cool saying, “quiet on the set”, well should have used that a bit with my mom and dad. You could hear them laughing (they were having so much fun with us) along with the players. I guess it made it more like reality TV so if that is what you are going for then maybe keep the crowd sounds in. Either way it is going to take away from your editing time if you have to remove some audio, time you could be spending adding neat transitions instead. At least I got lucky that the football field or fans waiting for autographs appeared as the set background and not my parents watching on appearing like just another home video. Last and most important tip, start your record button a few seconds before you say to people “go” and the same goes for at the finish. I missed a really cool high five when one of the Offensive linemen reached out to my sister after he ended an answer to her question about “Who was your role model?”
So if your school has equipment to experiment with, take advantage of trying everything you can and making movies that a crowd might want to watch. Good things can happen. Same goes for software, in middle school I got to use Video Corel VideoStudio and next year I am enrolling in a high school digital video class and I found out you get to use Adobe Premiere Pro!
You are probably wondering if that video got her the win. If you want to see check out her blog on www.sikids.com/kidreporter. Her name is Joely.
Now when people ask me what I want to be when I grow up I don’t have to try to change the subject. I can say “I want to be an author!” Now a day that means not only writing stories but being able to publish online with pictures and video. Everyone seems to want to see what you are writing about too with video links.
Jordan Rice is a junior in High School in upstate New York. She is a member of the National Honor Society, a member of Cortland County Youth Leadership, Co-Captain of the Varsity Cheerleading Squad, part of the Rotary Youth Leadership, a member of drama club where she acts in school plays, and treasurer of French club.
She is Editor of her school’s district newspaper The Lion's Roar sent to 1,900 readers. Jordan has been published in 2011 and 2012 in the Syracuse Post Standard for Student Voices. Some School Video News blogs include stories with the New York Giants, Orange County Choppers, Ironman 70.3, and Courtside to Get the Shot at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse. Jordan hopes to attend college to pursue a career in sports journalism.