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Digital Filmmaking

Plugged into Practicum

April 19, 2012

Plugged into Practicum
From the producer: Anne Bost - BUCDIA Part-Time Digital Filmmaking Grad

For full-time CDIA students, Practicum is a 3-week whirlwind of client meetings, production and editing. At the end of this time, a project that meets the needs of the non-profit client is delivered. For a recent part-time Practicum project, the time to final deliverable was nearly 6 months. While most groups would be challenged with managing a project for that length of time, it was exactly what this project needed.

The client, Plugged In Band, teaches middle- and high-school aged students how to play in rock bands. Beyond learning the usual frets and chords, though, the goal of each band is to perform in the session ending benefit concert, the proceeds of which are donated to a charity that the Plugged In kids choose.

After learning the story of Plugged In, the part time Practicum group, composed of Mike Grimmett, Norma Garcia, Juan Coca and Anne Bost, determined the best way to present this story was through formal interviews of the people involved with Plugged In. Starting with the group’s founders, Tom Pugh and Sandra Rizkallah, the Practicum group also reached out to Plugged In students, teachers and parents who could attest first hand to the great work done at Plugged In. The idea was to augment the interviews with b-roll of the kids practicing in the Plugged In studios. The original project plan, formally accepted and signed in October, had the final deliverable scheduled for December.

As with most great stories, however, the more the Practicum group learned about Plugged In through the interviews and time spent around the practice space, the more apparent it was that the interviews and b-roll alone wouldn’t be enough to demonstrate the true value of the program. For that, they would need to film the benefit concert in January as well.

On that cold January night, the Practicum group headed to the auditorium to set up their cameras to capture the joy and enthusiasm of the students as they performed to a packed house of supporters. The performance footage from that night was the best conclusion to the story they had started many months before.

While an effective story of the Plugged In organization could certainly have been created and delivered within the 3-weeks typically allotted for Practicum, having the luxury of time and an incredibly dedicated part-time team allowed the story to unfold organically and resulted in a project that truly reflects Plugged In and the fabulous work they do.

From client: Plugged In Teen Band Program

We had always wanted to make a video about Plugged In that we could use to help us with fundraising. However, we were always so busy and focusing on our program, that we didn't have time to make it happen. We were very grateful when Plugged In was chosen for a Film Practicum. We were a little concerned that the project would be too time consuming. But, the BUCDIA team of students were so professional and organized, that it involved very little of our time. During the initial meeting at which we developed the concept of the video, the team was very prepared. They had done a lot of research, knew everything about Plugged In and came to the meeting with well thought out questions and ideas. The team handled all of the correspondence and planning with the parent, teacher, and student who were interviewed for the video. They also were sincerely interested and passionate about our program. It did not at any time feel like we were working with inexperienced students. Rather, it felt like we were working with an established and experienced video production company.

The experience of participating in the Film Practicum program benefited Plugged In in many ways. Through discussions with the team and answering their questions, we became clearer and more confident about our message and mission. We also now have a high quality, professionally shot video that truly represents Plugged In and tells our story. In addition to fund-raising, we can show this movie to prospective students and their parents. The video has resulted in students, teachers, parents, volunteers and board members all having a greater sense of pride, love and respect for Plugged In.

Thank you BUCDIA!

Sandra Rizkallah - Director


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