As hard as it is to believe, a few of my students just couldn’t figure out anything to write about themselves in their autobiography. They didn’t know how to start (even with prompts and hints)…and I think a big part of it is not knowing how to (or being afraid of) defining themselves. So below is my jump-start fill-in-the-blanks script. All I expect from freshmen is a straight-forward description of family, friends, interests. I don’t expect their philosophy of life.
Title slide with music: The Life and Times of _____
On camera: Hi, my name is _____. I am a _____ at Ronald E. McNair High School. The classes I’m taking this semester are _____, _____, _____, and Broadcasting. My favorite class is _____ because _____.
Narration (to be covered by photos/video): My family has _____ people in it, including my _____, _____, _____, and _____.
My family comes from _____. We came to this country _____ years ago. We came to this country because _____.
When I graduate, my goal is to go to college and then become a _____. I am interested in this field because _____.
But what am I really like? I talked with _____, who explains.
Interview SOT (sound on tape)
Either on camera or narration: So look out world – in another _____ years and I’ll be out there making myself known!
Closing credits must include producer, camera, editor, interview subject, music citation.
What I expected happened – not one student used my script. They all adapted it, fitting it to their style and personality. They just needed the jump-start. The example of what I expected to get them going (and yes I did have lots of examples and went over it with them several times. They wanted something they could hold in their hands and take the time to digest).
For those aspiring VJs out there – the above format is the same as for a simple package. You have the standup, narration, natsound (music in this case), and interview. A good exercise and you probably have all the visuals you need at home. This format can also be used to jump-start a biography, something I really want my students to get into. I have memories of my grandparents and parents – but very little video. When I die, those memories will be gone. A tribute/memorial video is a wonderful way to preserve information about your aging relatives…and it is a real link to history. Reporter Craig Prosser told me he remembers as a child listening to his grandfather…and realizing that he was not only listening to a personal history, but also to personal insights into events in our country’s history that the grandfather had lived through.