Several years ago School Video News had the pleasure of meeing Trent Taylor Jones from Har-Ber High School.
One of our first school profiles was on his students and his program. Now, three years later, we run across Trent in his role as Education Coordinator for the Offshoot Film Festival.
SVN: Tell us about your background and how you decided to start teaching TV/Video production?
TTJ: I went to University of the Ozarks in Clarksville Arkansas from 1997-2001 got a BA in communications. I moved back to Northwest Arkansas and worked for the local NBC affiliate as the Chief Photographer and Satellite truck operator for 3 years. My passion for learning and creativity led me to open the Tv program at Springdale Har-Ber High School in Springdale Arkansas. Since our humble beginnings we have grown into a program that offers, Fundamentals of Television, a Broadcasting Class that produces a weekly in depth new show, A Production class that produces commercials, training videos and client based products and a Student Film Program that produces independent student films about every 6 six weeks.
SVN: How did you obtain initial funding for your program? How do you fund the class now?
TTJ: We secured start up funding from our State Government to get started. We also use Perkins money. Mostly we operate as our own business. Our student literally do client based work. We will service our community by shooting a variety of video products.
SVN: Did you have equipment available?
TTJ: I use mostly Final Cut and try to use all Sony or Panasonic
SVN: How many kids are in the TV/Video Production classes? How is it broken down? Is it a multi-year program?
TTJ: I usually have between 125-150 students every year.
I teach 4 different classes they are all year long courses. After Fundamental
1. Fundamentals of Television (3 classes a day- 50 minutes) this teaches the basics of a variety of mediums in video communications but it is broken down:
a. Ethics in Media
d. Post Production
In fundamentals the purpose is to learn the operations of your discipline. Meaning you get a taste of productions, broadcast and film but mostly the purpose is to begin to train your body and mind for the discipline of this field. At the end of Fundamental the student may choose their path.
2. Intermediate Television: School News: this class teaches hands on broadcasting skills. Students master the art of telling a story and shooting with composition skills that engage the viewers eyes. They learn how to manage time and become well equipped young professionals ready for the world after high school.
3. Advanced Television: HBWN Productions Class: The production is a client based type class. Students work with “clients’ to produce a quality product that accurately reflects their desires. We have shot 16 commercials in English and Spanish for the Governor of Arkansas. We have shot commercials for a variety of city government agencies and private businesses. We also do varieties of training videos and documentaries.
4. Television Lab: Student Films: This class has been one of our most wildly heralded classes. The secret underground of student films is a burgeoning industry! It is our mission to properly train students of the ways of film making to allow them an avenue to express their creativity. Most students discover that making films is incredibly hard work. However, student develop, pre-produce, produce, post produce and then distribute their films.
SVN: Can you tell us a little more about the sessions: How long are the classes? How many students? What types of projects?
TTJ: Har-Ber Wildcat News or HBWN is a 10 minute weekly news broadcast that is complete with news department, weather, sports and promotions department. This show airs in our school and is also aired on our cable channel- Channel 219 on Cox Cable in Northwest Arkansas.
Wildcat Entertainment Television or WE TV Student Films: About every 6 weeks we release 3-5 student films- usually about 5-15 minutes in length. These films air on our cable channel as well and are distributed to varities of film festivals around the country.
HBWN Productions: Provides the supplemental content in between programming: ie PSA’s or Commercials. In the case that this class produces a documentary or training video it will air as a stand alone piece on our cable channel.
SVN: How many kids to do the morning news broadcast? Do you also do a weekly broadcast? Special events coverage?
TTJ: We do many events: Pep Rallies, Band Concerts, Choir Concerts, Special District Events, Graduations- plus shoot a lot of events for several other schools in our district. We are VERY busy people.
SVN: Do you submit programming to independent contest such as those sponsored by StudicaSkills and SchoolTube TV?
TTJ: We compete in several places:
1. Arkansas Scholastic Press Association
2. Little Rock Film Festival
3. Offshoot Film Festival
4. Vid Con: Drury University
5. National Film Festival for Talented Youth (in Seattle)
6. Skills USA
7. NATAS Mid America Emmy’s
8. and a variety of smaller competitions
SVN: Can your broadcast be viewed outside the school? District-wide? Local cable access? On your school/district web-site?
TTJ: We have our own cable channel on Cox Communications in NWA
We have a facebook page- Har-Ber Video Productions
We are working on a YouTube page
SVN: Have any quick start tips!
TTJ: A couple of tips and phrases:
1. NOT I wish I would have but I’m glad I did
2. Live in a world of results not excuses
3. The most important gear is what is between the ears and in your heart
4. Teachers- teach a skill and allow the students to apply to their creativity
5. Make your “homework” projects that are useable. All advanced classes should produce videos that are viewable
6. Build a system of excellence and never waiver
7. Love hard and work em hard
8. Build for tomorrow
I have worked diligently to make friends with dozens of regional colleges, organizations and employers so I can accurately guide my student to their next step in life.