Blog Post by Instructor and Video Editor, Amber Wyatt

Talk to the Camera has the ability to reach children who have very diverse interests. Part of our mission is to involve every kiddo in every class. Over the years, our curriculum has been modified and redesigned to do so. One question that we hear a lot is from parents who want to know how their quarterbacks and goalies can find a role in a production course.

In our news broadcast class, we typically do a pretty streamlined series of stories and reports. The broadcast incorporates content that is applicable to multiple interests with a weather forecast, a special celebrity interview, a sports report, a crime report, a breaking news report and an art review.

I want to tell you about an unlikely student that really developed his on-camera presence as a reporter during this class. Theo Johnson was a fourth grader on the football team. Everybody in school knew Theo for how fast he was on the field. Little did they know, Theo was a star on camera as well.

First and foremost, it was clear that Theo was a leader. On Day 1 I had to ask him to stop tossing balled-up paper into the trash can from halfway across the room. While I was setting up equipment, Theo organized a classwide competition where students stood in a line each taking turns tossing their own paper balls at the trashcan. The appointed scorekeeper was marking the carpet with tape to keep track of the winner.

When he got in front of the camera for the sports report on Day 2, it was evident that he was a fan as well. I was so impressed at the knowledge Theo had on the ins and outs of the game. The stuff that seemed to naturally come to him was actually over my head. Not only were we discussing football, but basketball, soccer, tennis, track and baseball as well. At the end of his broadcast he even went so far to draw out a game plan for the upcoming scrimmage!

To my surprise, Theo came in on Day 3 with an interview planned out.  Theo was going to be doing a mock interview with his favorite tennis player, Venus Williams. I was so thrilled to see this play out! He spent the first fifteen minutes of class auditioning for the role of Venus. At the end of every audition Theo was asking to see the racket swing of each girl that participated. I knew I could not ever underestimate the creativity of an athlete again.

The other students and I spent some time blocking and decorating the set while Theo rehearsed appropriate answers with the actress. When we started the interview the questions he asked blew my mind! “How many hours a week do you spend on the court preparing for matches?” he asked. I was so enthusiastic about his ambition I could barely control my laughter.

Today Theo is a middle schooler. He is still playing football and he is serious about starting at the local high school in two years. Theo’s story is one of many that testifies an athlete can shine at Talk to the Camera. Aside from the news broadcast, we offer mini-move and YouthTuber alike, that encourage an athletic spin on things.

We want everyone to know that our students at Talk to the Camera have the creative freedom to make any production an expression of themselves. This means the performers, the designers, the writers, the engineers AND the athletes will always have a place with us. What is so special about our program is that every student has a voice in the direction of their final product so no matter who they are they will create something they love.