Addendum: View the completed “Guns and Gangs Symposium” video here.
This was a bear of a project, but it worked out nicely. In the credits I’m called the “community producer.”
The news release:
“Teen-produced video on gang issues to air on Shaw TV ”
(SURREY) A video on gang issues co-produced by Surrey students is expected to become a model and an educational tool for the community after its airs on Shaw TV this weekend.
The video, dubbed “Gangs & Youth Views from a Lower Mainland Symposium”, will appear on Shaw TV, Channel 4, on Saturday, Aug. 13 at 11 p.m. and on Sunday, Aug. 14 at 9 p.m. [The late showing times are due to the program’s mature language.] It was developed through a multi-year collaboration between Kwantlen Polytechnic University’s Acting Together – Community University Research Alliance (AT-CURA) project, Shaw Communications, Inc., Surrey School District and Surrey Safe Schools.
It was created earlier this year by students who received media training from Michael Keeping, director of Urban Rush and Studio 4 at Shaw TV, and were then given the reigns to conduct interviews, do camera-work and complete voiceovers for the show.
Students interviewed Jay Dobyns (pictured above), a former U.S. undercover agent who spent two years infiltrating the Hells Angels, Rob Rai, assistant manager of Surrey Safe Schools, and Corp. Doug Spencer, a SCBC Transit Police officer with experience in over 1000 gang investigations, in segments of the show exploring the realities of gang involvement and risk factors for youth.
It was a first for the Grade 10 through 12 students, who had never received media training before. During training workshops spanning several weekends, they learned story development, interviewing, lighting, filming, voice-over and editing techniques while they delved into the gritty issues of gangs and youth involvement. The final video is a product of the students’ own broadcasting talents and gang-related questions.
The video initiative piggybacks upon AT’s own goals of researching the prevention of youth-related gang violence and supporting positive youth-related community initiatives. AT’s collaborative work and unique focus on positive youth strengths have been driving forces of the project since it began in 2009 following a federal research award.
“We hope to get it as viral as Rebecca Black,” said Bob Basil, expert communications collaborator for AT. “That would be unexpected, but delightful.”
The video will be made available worldwide via YouTube, and Shaw has permitted its use for educational purposes in all school districts throughout Canada.
“Nothing could have made me happier than to see that the students put in hard hours when they could have been out playing video games or watching TV, let alone getting into trouble,” said Basil. “I was humbled by the motivations of these students.”
Basil, who made the initial connection between AT and Shaw, worked side-by-side with the students as they developed media skills and co-produced the video.
“People can look at us as a model for future collaborations and know that it will work,” said Basil.
“When we started, we hoped it would work. We put it to the test, and it turned out beautifully.”