After attending a National Student convention, with on-site video competitions, I realize how important it was to offer practice contests to my students.

When students are faced with limited time to create, plan, produce, and edit; the task of developing an award winning film is much more challenging.
We held one practice competition before attending the convention that my students say helped them greatly, but they crave more. In fact, they want to start the week we get back to school. On top of that, they want me to be as tough on them as the convention competitions and play by the same rules.
If you have not had the pleasure of attending these types of events, read on. If you have been to many of these events, please share your knowledge with me. This was my 2nd time at this convention and I look forward to many more. The competition atmosphere helps re-ignite the fire inside your soul. This time of year, when students have become complacent with the quality of their work, they need to be challenged. To challenge them, they have to see what is possible or what other students are doing with video production. Creating a competitive atmosphere in the class or with the video club after school can be one way of doing this.
If you have competed before, just re-create the same competition for your students and allow them to present them to their peers for critiques. If this type of competition is something you’ve never done, here are some suggestions on what to do:

1.   Announce a ‘Contest Briefing”, time and place. Students who are interested in competing must attend this briefing to qualify. Tardiness = disqualification.
2.   At the briefing, hand out the contest rules (use rules for contests you have entered or would like to enter)
3.   Give them a time limit for ‘pre-production’ and ‘production’. My students came up with the idea to have 3 hours after school – and have to turn in their cameras/tapes/SD cards to me - until the appointed edit day.
4.   Establish a time and place for a supervised edit at school.
5.   Make the deadline instructions VERY CLEAR. For example: “Videos must be exported onto a thumb drive and handed in by 4:30.” If necessary, run a digital clock that counts down to the very second the videos are due. Most importantly, don’t accept any video past the deadline. That is part of the lesson, if you don’t make the deadline – you don’t qualify.
I must say, the one practice we had a month ago, made a big difference for us at this convention! My students were able to work within the allotted time with ease and their finished products are all something that made us proud.

Misty_CUMisty Gentle started with long format television programs for Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. She worked her way up from a Production Assistant to Producer. Along the way, she worked in a variety of positions from pre-production through post. After that, she worked on shows for the Fox Health Network, Animal Planet, ABC, Disney, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and More. Misty has been a writer / director / producer for on-air promotions and corporate productions as well as 2nd assistant stage manager, Script Supervisor, Segment Producer, Associate Producer, and Post Production Producer. In the summer of 2008, she was Associate Producer for Nickelodeon's "My Family's Got GUTS". These positions have given her a broad understanding of production from show concept and development through post and delivery.

She began teaching in 2004 with a full television production program at the middle school level. After 5 years, Ms. Gentle moved up to high school where she currently teaches digital video production to 9th through 12th graders.

Ms. Gentle holds a BA degree in Communications - Television and Radio Production and is certified as 'Technical Vocational Education - Television Production'.

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