“Friday School” is in session

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BY JUDE HART

The sound of strings pulsates through the hallway as the orchestra practices. The instruments clash at times to create a slight, but noticeable, sense of uneasiness. Squeezed on a duck canvas couch nearby, three students are debating the minutiae of the script for an upcoming short movie they will be presenting to their Digital Video class in a week.

Tensions are running high as the semantics of their script are called into question (Should a character be called “Warren”, or “Fisher”!? If we change the way he’s referred to, will it compromise the integrity of the script?)

Davis, Kai, and Nathan ironing out the details of their script PHOTO BY JUDE HART

Davis, Kai, and Nathan ironing out the details of their script
PHOTO BY JUDE HART

The film that these students are working on is called “The Friday School.” “It’s a horror comedy about two kids in an empty school trying to outsmart a killer,” junior Davis Chu explains. “It’s a horror comedy.”

The film is poised to be finished and screened in Mr. Valentine’s Digital Video class on the week of November the 21st.

When asked if they think this script will stick, moviemakers Davis Chu, Kai Greenberg, and Nathan White all gave tepid responses. This will be Davis and Kai’s third try at making a movie and Nathan’s fifth.

In a class that allows students great freedom to explore infinite original stories, artistic differences occur, and groups commonly split and reform, all over the course of one assignment.

Groups commonly have trouble organizing a reliable cast and crew to work on their projects. “Most of the casts and actors we hire are impatient,” says senior Kai Greenberg.

“The Friday School” and at least three other short films are going to be submitted to two contests: Golden Lion and Mountain Saint Joseph. At the Golden Lion film festival, students could win up to a $10,000 scholarship to Watkins College of Art Design and Film.

In fact, just last year, Chris Taylor and Jacob Tresser won $500 from a festival for a public service video they filmed. 

Dig Vid is one of the few classes that offers monetary award for the work you put into it.

To take a step back, people may be wondering what Digital Video class is and what students can expect to learn in it. During the semester long course, students learn about the basics of filmmaking according to instructor David Valentine. “They learn working with cameras, using editing software, saving as different files types, and uploading videos,” says Mr. Valentine.

Instead of a traditional classroom approach, Mr. Valentine teaches these skills in application. Students complete five projects total. They start off with a short sample project, one that allows him and a professional filmmaker invited to the classroom to evaluate what students need to learn in the following months. Next, the students work on a PSA of their choice, a narrative film, and then they work on two completely creative projects. These take students to the end of the semester.

Students sometimes take Advanced Digital Video, where they can hone in on their craft and explore more advanced filmmaking techniques and more intricate narrative ideas.

Many could argue that Mariemont High School has an anemic arts department, since it lacks in theater and film history classes. Digital Video provides students with a strong creative outlet that this school needs, a space where creativity can thrive.

“I think that this class really prepares us for the work in art and film in our future,” says director Davis Chu.