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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

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Opening New Pathways: LFHS New Media

New+Media+students+filming+a+project+in+New+York+City.+Photo+courtesy+of+%40lfhsnewmedia+Instagram.
New Media students filming a project in New York City. Photo courtesy of @lfhsnewmedia Instagram.

New Media is an elective offered to students that introduces them to filmmaking and digital media. For some, the elective is a much-needed break in the day. For others, the class is a pathway to professional filmmaking. The class curriculum is constantly changing which allows students to take the course eight times over their four years at the school. Not only does New Media give students a professional experience in the world of film, but students also receive six hours of college credit by taking this class.

The elective covers the art of storytelling and the technical aspects of shooting/editing. Mr. Douglass, who teaches the class, focuses on the ideation process in the important aspects of pre-production that help bring the whole film together. Instead of students focusing on the final grade while creating projects, Douglass encourages students to focus on creating thoughtful stories that will engage the audience. 

“Often students learn more about themselves; how they learn and communicate best,” said Douglass.  

There are a variety of different projects that students get to partake in while taking the course. Students alternate from “team-based challenges with professionals in our community, alums in LA, or around the world; to more creative projects like the comedy project for Talent Show, or the opening 2-minute ‘Tell Me Your Story’ project,” said Douglass. 

Students in New Media don’t just learn film-making skills but they also positively contribute to their local community. 

New Media students attending a film showing in New York City. Photo courtesy of Grace Donovan.

“I receive a lot of ‘requests’ from the community to partner in helping their non-profit, business, or individual tell their specific story to their audience,” said Douglass.

 Having the opportunity to make formal projects for local businesses helps students gain experience in professional film, and allows them to see what entails making a film or a commercial.

Students participate in many real-world experiences outside of the community, as well. This fall, select students traveled to the St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium Fantasy Camp. 

Lucy Partington filming at the St. Louis Cardinals Busch Stadium Fantasy Camp. Photo courtesy of Lucy Partington.

“I had the incredible opportunity to film with MLB Hall of Famers creating content that was displayed on the jumbotron at Busch Stadium and for the social media pages,” said senior New Media student Lucy Partington. 

New Media also offers direct opportunities for students to work with industry professionals. The most well-known project New Media recently completed was called “Summer Stories” and was assisted by actor Vince Vaughn. Summer Stories is an Apple-sponsored two-week video storytelling experience for Middle Schoolers at the Gorton Center, according to Douglass.  

“As students, we are all so fortunate to be able to have the alumni come back to the high school to share their story and wisdom with us,” said Lucy Partington. 

Alumni and industry professionals visit to LFHS to speak to the New Media classes about their experiences after graduating and how their learning has influenced their careers.

“Getting to hear their own experiences as a high school student and then how they got to the position they are in now is inspiring and it is so cool that they are willing to invest their time in us,” said Lucy Partington.  

New Media isn’t just an elective students take to fill their schedule. It is a class that opens up a variety of doors to the professional world and helps students learn more about themselves in the process.

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About the Contributor
Kaylie Jaster, Staff Writer
Kaylie Jaster is a senior at Lake Forest High School and is extremely excited about her first year writing for The Forest Scout. At school, you will find Kaylie either on the field playing Field Hockey or Lacrosse or involved in a variety of different clubs. During her free time, you can find her spending time with her friends and family. 
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  • O

    Opinionated CommenterDec 2, 2023 at 1:22 am

    I wish this was a class that promoted more creative thinking and outside the box composition. Dont get me wrong, Douglass is an outstanding teacher and has opened up the curriculum and been able to give students amazing opportunities. Sadly, I find the class sterile and almost infuriatingly boring. It’s a class that focuses on sticking to the rules and mostly basing your composition on whatever’s in front of you. It’s uncommon to see even a panning shot in most of the student created films let alone a basic transition added in post. I wish this class would allow students to truly take hold of their creativity and use it to create unique visuals and story’s.

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    • H

      Henry ThomasDec 4, 2023 at 2:52 pm

      I have to disagree with this, I took the class for 5 semesters and saw immense amounts of creativity in my peer’s projects. Creative composition is not just a fancy dolly shot or cool flashy editing transition while they might make something more memorable they aren’t everything. Looking at shot composition movement is only one aspect of the final frame. The cinematographer has to also make creative choices about what type of lens they use, where they are placing the subject in the frame, and so much more. There is so much that goes into composing a shot that sometimes movement either isn’t an option or just simply does not go along with what the creator wants the audience to get from the shot. Many people do choose to go down that creative route of adding movement and sometimes it works but also sometimes it doesn’t and that shot gets left out of the final cut. Whether it makes it into the cut or doesn’t make it doesn’t matter in my opinion because the student has learned something in the process. One of the core values of the class is trying new things and failing, but students are taught to get back up quickly. It doesn’t matter if it makes the final cut because you aren’t graded on the quality of your final draft but rather if you went out and tried something new and pushed yourself. The same goes for editing, I have seen and produced many projects and drafts that had some flashy transitions. Sometimes they work but others they don’t, but well-done editing doesn’t just involve flashy editing. Similarly to the points about shot composition that I made before transitions aren’t everything. The editor has the job of taking everything that has been produced and putting it together into something that you or I could watch. The editor retells that entire story and shapes it into the final project. I have watched many of my peers change minor or even major portions of their stories in editing and they had to be creative to do that. Maybe they move or cut lines in a scene or go as far as ADRing entire scenes of audio changing the meaning entirely. The creative impact editing has on film often goes unnoticed without the use of fancy transitions and it’s a gross overstatement to say that editing is only creative when it involves cool transitions. The students in this class are extremely creative and they deserve all the praise in the world for what they do inside and outside of the class. Anyone who takes that class is a filmmaker and they need to be celebrated for that. Saying that their projects aren’t creative is not only wrong but counter-productive. This wonderfully written article specifically focuses on the amazing opportunities that students have in the class but it serves to show the talent of these students. If they weren’t creative and produced content that was boring and followed the rules to the T then they wouldn’t have half of the opportunities that they have today. I would implore everyone to look closely at the work these students are doing especially the composition because the creative choices being made there do make for unique visuals and stories.

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