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Learn To Make Mobile Movie Magic with WCPA

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The course will primarily use mobile-friendly equipment.

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An example production kit with lightweight, mobile equipment

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Stablilizers, light stands, and sound booms

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Jake records a political rally in Maine in 2016

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Jake records an intro to an interview at Marist University in upstate New York in 2016

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At the end of the course, students will screen their work for friends and family inside the WCPAs theater

Video isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of performance art, but unless you are at the actual live event, it’s how you see and hear all the performances you witness. It’s so obvious and integrated into our lives you forget to think about it. The technology for high-quality video has progressed so rapidly that most of us hold the ability to shoot high definition 4k footage right in our pocket, and we do, a lot. So do professionals. Using that idea, the Wichita Center for Performing Arts is offering a summer intensive course on video storytelling where phones are the cameras.

“If the iPhone is good enough for Steven Soderbergh’s latest project, it’s good enough for anyone who’s getting started,” says Jake Simms, who will be teaching the course. “By using phones and keeping the equipment mobile-focused, I’m looking to create an atmosphere that values creative resourcefulness and problem-solving. It also makes the entry point less intimidating on the technical side of things. Kids will still learn technical things, like editing software, but using video to tell stories shouldn’t be framed as this thing that only people who have access to expensive cameras can do.”  

In addition to iPhones, students of the course will be provided access to Mac editing machines, and lightweight audio, lighting, and stabilizing equipment. The course will meet for three hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays in June and July (except July 4th week), and is designed for high schoolers. It is described as an intensive intro course that covers the full spectrum of producing original video works from pre-production to post-production, from the craft of storytelling to technical how-tos.

Jake says the class size will be small, about 6-12 kids, and the emphasis will be on collaborative group projects, “A lot of the curriculum and technical skills I’m going to teach are things you can find online. Kids know that. I’m just packaging it in a way that adds to the real value of the course which is the time and space for teens to create in a social environment with a group of their peers, and all the teamwork and collaboration lessons that come with it. We provide the equipment, and I scope the projects tight so kids are encouraged to think about how all the elements tie together while still being accountable for getting things done,” adding, “Anyone who’s ever learned editing will tell you that you learn by facetime with the software and footage, seeing the shape of a story on a timeline, and getting a feel for timing. Anyone who’s ever learned how to shoot footage will tell you they learned by studying masters, shooting footage, and learning to work within the limits of their equipment. Anyone who’s ever written or directed will tell you how much you learn by doing all sides of a small production.”

The course also plans on incorporating guest speakers, visitors, and other opportunities for kids to get a feel for the wider video and filmmaking community in Wichita and beyond.

“The goal this summer is for kids to have experienced every part of the production cycle multiple times and to have a portfolio they can point to and say - “I did this” - so they have the confidence to take on bigger projects, look for an internship, dig into their specialty, whatever. It would be super cool if this group stayed in contact afterward so they all help each other produce work for years,” says Jake, adding, “Video can incorporate every single type of performance and class that goes on at the WCPA building. I don’t think it will  take much of a nudge for a natural producer to come up with more projects than they can realistically do just by being in this space and interacting with the other creatives.”

Make sure to use the promo code “ARTS” to save 30% off on all courses offered at the center this summer.

Visit the WCPA’s website to learn more and sign up for Intro to Video Storytelling


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