In an effort to develop a more robust marketing strategy for the Durham Neighborhood Compass, DataWorks reached out to Ms. Jewel Jeffreys, Hillside New Tech High School’s Career Development Coordinator. We hired two Communications Interns, New Tech seniors Sydney Gilmore and Jesse Maitland.
The 12-week internship was designed to coordinate with New Tech’s 21st century skills model of collaboration, critical thinking, community and creativity. Two afternoons per week, the students worked together to create two 3-minute instructional videos, translating the more technical knowledge to a general audience, particularly to those unfamiliar with using the Neighborhood Compass.
“I know all this stuff. It’s gonna take a day to do it.”Jesse Maitland
Progress Rarely Follows a Linear Path.
Equipped with Adobe Premiere Pro video editing software, QuickTime Player multimedia framework, a clip-on microphone, legal pad and pen, the students became fully engaged in the editing process; a process that proved to be more involved than either had anticipated.
“I know all this stuff. It’s gonna take a day to do it,” Jesse commented. “But I didn’t anticipate all the errors, all the re-tries and how far that might set you back; how much little stuff you have to look at before finishing the video.”
Sydney had similar expectations: “Oh, it’s going to be fun to make a video.”
They soon realized that progressing through the stages of video production — generating ideas, writing the script, recording, trying to get the flow of the project, editing, troubleshooting, and starting again — was indeed fun but also time-consuming. Their first attempt resulted in a video that was nearly 10 minutes long.
Sydney expressed her frustration: “If I was watching a 10-minute video, I would say why is this video so long? What am I learning? Is Beyonce going to come through the screen to do a concert? If I was watching it, I wouldn’t want to hear it. When I’m watching videos, if the intro is more than 30 seconds, I’m skipping. Can you get to the point please?”
Getting to the Point.
As their confidence grew, so did their efficiency. They determined what they wanted to say, what points to focus on, and how they could deliver the message in a way that would make the video more easily understood — all before logging into the computer or picking up the microphone.
We sat in on one of their final editing sessions. In the middle of our giving feedback, they hit a roadblock.
“How did it get so dark?” Sydney asked.
Jesse’s responded, “I don’t know why it got dark.”
We watched them collaborate and troubleshoot. We watched Jesse click and scroll with the mouse until he figured it out.
“Oh, there was a key frame for the opacity. There you go. The opacity changed while I was going through it. Now it’s fixed.”
We watched them grow.
As Sydney and Jesse apply to college, this working knowledge of video design and editing distinguishes them and makes them more able to impact their community positively. For us at DataWorks, we hope that the time we’ve spent together has illustrated a few ways that can be possible.
L’Tanya Durante is the Data Action Coordinator at DataWorks. Keep an eye out for Sydney’s podcast, Sydney’s Digest, a forum for young adults going through the early stages of adulthood. Jesse is an aspiring music producer who goes by “August”.