Student Fare - Jeremy Cropf

Ever since I was young I was captivated by the moving image. The power of this medium is undeniable.

It seems that now, more than ever before, film and television is being used to make a difference in society. Broadcasters and filmmakers are making “noise” in our society, bringing attention to issues that may not always be commonly discussed. To make a difference and change the way people perceive the world around them. It is a form of art in which visual images; sound and story come together to create truly breathtaking works of art. I had always been interested in film and television but it wasn’t until I started high school that I really began to immerse myself in that environment. I worked on short films, documentaries and even a few feature length projects at the beginning of my high school career but these were all relegated to the confines of my home. My equipment was limited to an old Sony video camera and the Windows Movie Maker editing system at my house.  



It wasn’t until I began taking classes at Ladue Horton Watkins High School, namely Broadcast Journalism and Video Journalism, that I was able to fully utilize some of the most advanced equipment to further hone my skills. It was a wonderful experience to find a class that taught me something I was truly passionate about. The enthusiasm brought to the class by our teacher Mr. Goble, was indelible. To him, television and film was a way in which we as students could get our messages seen and heard throughout the world. I’ll admit to being skeptical at first. As a teenage high school student it was hard to imagine anything I made going out and reaching the eyes of the general public, much less making any sort of impact. I soon discovered that my doubts were unfounded. Mr. Goble worked as hard as possible to make sure people saw what we were producing. He set out with a strong determination to teach us the fine points of every aspect of the medium-from camerawork and lighting the set to capturing the best sound and accurate amount of B-roll footage all the way up through the difficult but astounding process of putting everything together through editing. Hard work in this class wasn’t just helpful; it was required.   



This work ethic that Mr. Goble inspired in us would become invaluable to each of us throughout our time working on our school’s monthly news show “Ladue View.” Whether it was tackling Public Service Announcements about drunk driving or a human-interest story about a local bus driver, Mr. Goble was always supportive of my work and the work of everyone else in the class. Both he and the head of Ladue’s Video Technology Center Mrs. Davidson were always there to give us guidance and help us produce the best work possible. This often meant taking time out of their own busy schedules to make sure that our class created the best shows possible. How many other teachers would be willing to stay at school until midnight to help students finish their projects? Not many, yet that is exactly what they did.

The hard work and dedication passed from them to us and made us that much more enthusiastic about the work we were doing. And true to his word, Mr. Goble brought our stories to the public. In addition to “Ladue View” airing throughout the month on a local cable channel, our stories appeared online and in competitions. People were writing in and telling us how much they appreciated our stories and the rewarding knowledge that we were reaching out to people was unlike anything I had ever experienced. Suddenly those late nights each of us had spent working on the show were worth it. We were making an impact.
 
I am now a freshman at New York University studying film. It is safe to say that it was my Broadcast and Video Journalism classes that aided me the most in reaching this point. The combined efforts of Mr. Goble and Mrs. Davidson, their patience and dedication, as well as the talent and excitement each student brought to the class, is something I will not soon forget. Too often the words we write seem incapable of truly describing how much influence a group of people has on our lives. So instead I will finish this by describing my last summer before beginning college. Even though Video Journalism was done and I was moving on to an entirely new experience I decided to do one final project- a summer project, if you will-that would encompass everything I had learned from my years in Mr. Goble’s classes. A group of close friends and I made a full-length seventy minute long feature film incorporating every element of storytelling, camerawork, lighting, sound mixing, and editing that Mr. Goble had ever taught me. The film was a success, reaching a large number of people in various states and giving everyone involved a tremendous sense of achievement and happiness. But more than anything else it was Mr. Goble’s response to the film that was most tremendous. Even though I was no longer a student, he took the time to watch the film and to write a detailed review of the film. That review is currently sitting in my dorm room. It is a constant reminder of how much I learned from my years in high school Video Journalism. It is a reminder of how much Mr. Goble and Mrs. Davidson cared about the work we produced and how they would continue to support us even after our high school years had ended. And even though I am in a city miles away from St. Louis, miles from Ladue, I still eagerly awaiting returning home to share with them my experiences and most importantly, start making another movie.

Jeremy Cropf, a Ladue 2007 graduate, is a native of St. Louis, MO and is currently attending film school at New York University. Interested in film since a young age he hopes to spend the rest of his life making movies, in some way, shape or form.