Meet the Harlem Community Producers:
Quency is a student at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts. He became involved with Beyond the Bricks when his boxing coach encouraged him to apply. Quency is open minded, looking to try new things, and saw this as a good opportunity to become involved in a positive program. He has been boxing for 5 years now and is very interested in athletics. His goal is to attend college to obtain a degree in counseling. His desire to help others has lead to this interested in counseling families.
Keion has many interests, specifically music and athletics. He plays the piano, sings, and currently tutors students on how to play the guitar. He also plays basketball, runs, and trains as a boxer. His future career goal is to attend Hofstra University in Long Island where he will study for a degree in physical therapy. A dream of his, in addition to his career as a physical therapist, is to become a professional boxer. He joined Beyond the Bricks at the encouragement of his mentor. He greatly appreciates this program because it provides a comfortable environment to have interesting conversations, watch interesting videos, and meet interesting people.
Jamal is a student at Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he studies fine art, with an emphasis on painting. He finds inspiration for his art in his friends, his art teacher, and particularly the art of Jacob Lawrence. He aspires to one day become a professional visual artist. It was through art that he became involved in the Beyond the Bricks Project. His art teacher encouraged him to apply and he is thankful to all those involved in the project for letting him join. He finds the work of Beyond the Bricks to be interesting and has formed strong connections with his teachers and his classmates.
Jaffet attends Wadleigh Secondary School for the Performing and Visual Arts where he receives training in boxing and in musical arts. Jaffet is an athlete who would one day like to become a professional boxer. He is also a musician who sings, plays the piano, and produces music. He is interested in all genres of music and his ultimate goal is to go into the music business as a producer.
Luis is currently attending Wadleigh Secondary School For The Performing and Visual Arts. He plans to go on to college for a major in business and a minor in art. He has a very strong passion for art and draws constantly as a hobby to keep him busy. Luis also paints and plans to get better and better at it. After college Luis plans to have a job that allows him to utilize both his business and artistic ambitions.
Thierno is currently attending Fredrick Douglass. He wants to become an MD in the future. He wants to help struggling kids and cure them from serious illness. He loves to meet new people and he gets along with people easily. Beyond the Bricks is the best program he has in his life. He wants to change the negative view of African-Americans to a positive view. He would love to recommend this program to the kids in his community.
Jeremiah attends the Eagle Academy for Young Men. He currently is interested in engineering. He also likes to solve mysteries and draw. Jeremiah also loves comic books and videogames. He came to this program to change the views of people about males of color in the world of media.
Kahni attends Thurgood Marshall Academy. For the last few years he has been training to write scripts and has proven to be a very powerful writer. His ultimate goal is to become a successful screenwriter. At a young age, he developed a passion for telling compelling and suspenseful stories that could capture any audience's attention. He was discovered in his school by a teacher who realized he would be a perfect fit for the Beyond The Bricks organization. Through his experience in the program, his level of skill has elevated and the usage of actual cameras is perfect practice for his future career. He states he could not have been chosen for a better program.
Jaquan currently lives in Harlem and attends Wadleigh Secondary School. Harlem is a section of Manhattan, New York that is a prodominatly black neighborhood and because of that a lot of people would assume that it's a bad place to live. But it's not. It's a beautiful enviorment and the home of many families. He currently attends Wadleigh Performing Arts Highschool. He loves to read, write music in his free time, hang out with friends, and play video games like any other average teen. To express his creativity he produces beats because he loves music.
Malik currently attends a visual and performing arts high school in Harlem. Malik is a visual arts student, but other interests of his are singing, acting, writing, and songwriting. He is writing songs for a band he wants to form. Malik is also interested in comic books, manga, videogames, and the internet.
Beyond Harlem's Ground Rules
1. Be respectful-Respect yourselves, each other, and the equipment.
2. Be collaborative-We are a team.
3. Be teachable-Each one, teach one.
4. Be open-No thought or opinion is wrong.
5. Be on time!
6. Be imaginative-Use your imagination and creativity.
7. Be ready to contribute-Be a participator, not a spectator.
8. Be focused.
9. Be presentable-Come to class appropriately dressed.
10. Be responsible-If you can't come to a class or are going to be
late, let someone know.
The most recent topic for the young men has been gun violence. In a very serious-toned dialogue, we discussed the emotions that are affiliated with such a pressing issue within urban centers around the country, specifically related to male-on-male crime. Words such as anger, hatred, frustration, disbelief, and confusion dominated the conversation. One video in particular that was shown that had an eery resemblance to the Trayvon Martin case was I Am Sean Bell.
As we continue to explore this topic and how it impacts our communities, we will engage in conversation around not solely gun violence but the various conditions that are interrelated to it (Ex. anger management, conflict and conflict resolution, and fear).
Metacognition (n)-knowledge about own thinking: knowledge of your own thoughts and the factors that influence your thinking
Since the inception of the program, the young men of Beyond Harlem have been asked to participate in a metacognitive journaling experience at both the beginning and end of each session. This opportunity allows them to reflect about their process as community producers and capture their overall development throughout the course of their experience.
Metacognitive Journal Reflection Questions from 4/11
1. What did you take away from your personal journaling video experience?
2. Did you find yourself easily distracted? Why or Why not?
3. Are you looking forward to reshooting a new video in a less distracting space?
TIps for Shooting (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1japlhKU9l)
1) In most cases- unless you're recording a meeting or event -- limit length to 1:30 minutes or briefer. That makes for easier downloading and tighter bites. As you're shooting, look for a moment that seems like a natural stopping point. Cutting the clips off at the right time helps in the editing process.
2) Avoid unnecessary and fast pan shots. Instead, stay with an image and let the action move through the scene you are taping. When panning a scene, hold the camera steady and move it very slowly. Keep the subject in focus. In all cases, keep the camera steady as much as possible and avoid jerky movements. Bracing your elbow with your non-shooting hand, or keeping your "shooting elbow" close to your body, can help steady the camera. A tripod, sold separately, can also keep the camera stationary.
3) Avoid using the zoom features unless necessary. The digital zoom wil result in loss of image resolution. Though magnified, the image has less quality than what you would get from a camera with an optical telephoto zoom. Instead of zooming, stay at the wide part of the lens and move your whole body closer to the subject. This will also make the image more stable.
4) In an interview setting, be as close to the person as possible for the camera microphone to sound good. This means you do not use the zoom on the camera but you hold the camera and stand close to the interviewee for the recording.
5) Adjust for ambient noise. Make sure the sound around you is not distracting. In particular, try to stay away from or minimize your exposure to street noise or lots of talking. If you cannot get away from intrusive background sound, then make sure to include the source of noise in the shot behind your interviewee. That way, the image explains where the extra noise is coming from. This makes the distraction more acceptable to the viewer.
6) Avoid high-contrast scenes as much as possible. Dark shadows will go black in the transfer, and shadows across someone's face will not transfer well. Try to put your interview subject in even light so their face is in an even light level throughout. Also avoid backgrounds behind the subject that are too bight or too dark, since this will increase the image contrast and make the image hard to see on the Web. If you are inside a building, try to avoid bright walls behind a dark-skinned person when doing interviews or b-roll. The contrast could be too extreme. Also avoid the fluorescent flicker of lights on the wall behind someone, particularly overseas, where the electrical power is a different voltage and produces a light flicker with cameras set for United States electrical current settings.
What to Shoot
Remember, less is more if you plan your shots and the interview ahead of time. You can do your interview first and then take what you heard and decide what cutaway shots (b-roll) to get. Always try to cover a scene with a wider cover shot for location identification, and then go in to get close-ups, which give the viewer an intimate feel for the setting and the action.
An effective use of the camera is to record a standup of someone relating an anecdote or explaining something that is happening in the background.
Before you begin shooting, coach the person to think for a moment about what they are to say - and who the audience is. Tell her or him to stay within a specific time limit -- 1 minute is good. That limit will help them focus their thoughts and keep their comments to the point. Once you turn the camera on, the first thing the person should do in a standup situation is say who they are - "Hi, this is Jane Doe and I am the parish nurse here at First United Methodist Church in Anytown, Arkansas."
Direct the camera in such a way that your subject doesn't fill the frame, and the viewer can get a sense of place from the background.
April Fourth Black Male Images
This week's focus was on identifying and understanding the manner in which black males are portrayed in today's society. The group explored the origin of slavery and engaged in a thorough discussion concerning the use of negative words such as "Pick-a-Ninny", "Sambo", and the "N word". There was also discussion surrounding more positive labels, most notably "black intellectual" and "revolutionist".
As the conversation progressed, there was deep concern expressed by the young men regarding the lack of positive images used to describe black males. Instructor Daniel Tisdale and Co-Instructor M.L. Robinson challenged the group to think about the power behind word usage and how to be more thoughtful about the words we use in our daily conversations, specifically the "N word".
The class concluded with a metacognitive journal reflection and a learning exercise which featured one-on-one interviews about each of the gentlemen. The group engaged one another with probing questions and used their flip cameras for the very first time. Beyond Harlem is well on their way to becoming successful community producers. Stay tuned...
March Twenty-Eighth Tupac: Resurrection, Director- Lauren Lazin; Exec. Producer-Afeni Shakur
Change. Impact. Truth. Resilience. Evolution. Audacious. Courageous. These were some of the words that the young men of "Beyond Harlem" used to capture their reaction to the documentary film Tupac: Resurrection. On March 16th and 21st, on the Edward Gordon Campus, the film was shown to the group. Upon successfully viewing the film, the young men were asked to provide a cinematic analysis of Tupac's life and his impact on popular culture. One of the essential questions posed to the group was, "Do you think Tupac's story echoes anything in your own life?" The responses were very diverse. Here's what the gentlemen had to say:
Keion: I can't relate to Tupac's story. I separated myself from the pitfalls of my neighborhood. My outlet has been working out.
Quency: I used to live in a bad neighborhood. I've dealt with a bad lifestyle before. I don't personally believe that Tupac left his lifestyle on the East Coast because of Biggie though...
Luis: I like how they (the producers) showed more than just him (Tupac) talking. The music appropriately accompanied his thoughts.
The "Beyond Harlem" group was quite moved and motivated by the life and legacy of Tupac Shakur. This film will serve as a source of inspiration as the gentlemen begin to create their own documentaries and visually represent their personal lifestyles.
March Twenty-Third Beyond Harlem Comes to TC!
The young men were truly ecstatic as they made their transition from the Gordon Campus to Teachers College (TC) main campus. In order to get them acclimated to their new environment, the Beyond Harlem group received their very own school ID's, which will enable them to gain exclusive access to their home. Additionally, they were provided a first-class tour of campus. Veronica Holly, Assistant Director of the IUME office, led the tour which included stops at Gottesman Library, Grace Dodge Hall, Macy Hall, Zankel Main Hall, Whittier Hall, and the Russell Courtyard. As the group stopped to pause for a photo opportunity at the Edmund Gordon plaque outside of the entrance to Gottesman, one student enthusiastically stated, "I think I'm gonna like it here."
Daniel Tisdale, M.F.A.
"The work with the young men in Harlem has been wonderfully intense and rewarding, everything I expected as we deconstruct the language of media literacy from Sambo to Tupac in the 21st century." - Mr. Tisdale
Mr. Tisdale, a native of Watts, CA is an internationally recognized visual artist; educator; political and community activist. He received his M.F.A. at Otis/Parsons School of Design, and his BA from California Polytechnic University, where he was honored in 2004 as Distinguished Alumnus of the Year.
As an educator, Mr. Tisdale has distinguished himself as an educator who emphasizes the need for young people to discover and nurture their creative talents and to use their artistic statement to addresstheir community and its future.
He has also extended his activism through art into the community, earning recognition as a respected community advocate. In 1995, he was elected New York State Committee Member to the 70th Assembly District. His community work also includes extensive consultation as a Board Member with the Los Angeles Poverty Department; the National College Art Association; the New York Foundation for the Arts and Creative Time. Mr. Tisdale is a resident of Harlem, New York.
Ernest Morrell, Ph.D.
Veronica Holly, M.A.
M. Louis Robinson, Ed.M.
Sandra Overo, M.Ed.
Amanda Robinson, B.A.
Teachers College, Columbia University, is the oldest and largest graduate school of education in the United States, and also perennially ranked among the nation’s best. Its name notwithstanding, the College is committed to a vision of education writ large, encompassing our four core areas of expertise: health, education, leadership and psychology.
Teachers College sees its leadership role in two complementary arenas: One is as a major player in policy-making to ensure that schools are reformed and restructured to welcome all students regardless of their socio-economic circumstances. The other is in preparing educators who not only serve students directly but coordinate the educational, psychological, behavioral, technological, and health initiatives to remove barriers to learning at all ages. For more than 100 years Teachers College has continued to:
- Engage in research on the central issues facing education
- Prepare the next generation of education leaders
- Educate the current generation of leaders in practice and policy to meet the challenges they face
- Shape the public debate and public policy in education
- Improve practice in educational institutions
For almost forty years, IUME has used advocacy, demonstration, evaluation, information dissemination, research and technical assistance to study and seek to improve the quality of life chances through education in the communities of urban and minority peoples. The Institute continues to focus on the implications of population diversity in the context of the demand for pluralistic competencies for the design and management of teaching and learning transactions in schools and other environments for education. The central goal of IUME is to understand and uncouple the relationship between the social divisions to which persons are assigned and outcomes of education.
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For further information and inquiries regarding the Beyond the Bricks Project at Teachers College, Columbia University please contact the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME): firstname.lastname@example.org