The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

The Student News Site of Alexandria City High School

Theogony

Spotlight: TV/Media Production

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From Left to Right:

Zahra Rahami

Staff Writer

TV & Media Production is one of the many interactive classes we hold at our school. The class offers career skills for aspiring audio technicians, videographers, studio directors, and editors. Two teachers mentor the TV course: Benjamin Lyon and Vilma Zefran. Lyon is the photography teacher and teaches TV Media I. Zefran teaches T.V. Media II, III, and IV.

In 1999, there were only two levels offered: TV Production I and TV Production II, with five classes and 60 students enrolled. Since then, the program has grown to eight classes of four different levels with an average of 120 students enrolled per year. In each level, the class goes over different skills. Students who are taking TV I learn how to use cameras, tripods, and dollies, how to coil cables and develop basic editing skills on Adobe premiere. They also do group projects like voice-overs and shoot stories to get used to the equipment. 

TV II is a  Dual Enrollment DE class and for students who have the prerequisite of TV I. In TV II, students are able to make Titan Morning Announcements (TMA). They also record other packages required by NOVA Community College, the Virginia Department of Education, and ACPS. Students who are on TV III and IV help students on TV I and II as they do the morning announcements and record events that happen at school and community events.

The equipment used by the “TV/Media Production program is funded by the Perkins federal program which funds the CTE (Career and Technical Education) program. Our main philosophy is to provide students with exposure to industry-standard opportunities. This includes using industry-standard equipment, professional environment, and work-based projects,” said Zefran.

Lyon shares his appreciation for improving technology in TV & Media Production. 

“One of the things I love about our industry is that video production is constantly evolving. When I took TV in High School our top-of-the-line equipment was an HD camera shooting to DV tape, but now a couple of decades later even our worst cameras shoot in HD with many recordings in 4K, and everything is digital with memory cards. If you think you’re done learning you’re lying to yourself. There’s always new equipment, software, and best practices to pick up,” said Lyon. 

Lyon has noticed a positive difference in self-advocacy from the crew in TV Production. Lyon said, ¨[Students are able to articulate] who they are, what they believe, and how they want to be treated in ways I never considered as a kid – it’s inspiring!¨

TV & Media Production class has influenced alumni to continue their passion for TV production for their careers. 

Lyon mentions, “We have former students across the country working on everything from local news, to feature documentaries, to editing for Netflix and everything in between. Closer to here in Alexandria, we have a student from the class of 2018 with a fantastic full-time gig at a local production company, and on top of that, he pulls in more than $40,000 a year from client projects on the side. Success in the media production world is all about how hard you can hustle, and here at TMA, we’ll give you plenty of practice.”

Lyon believes that former TMA students are well-equipped for the workplace after high school.

 “It might sound cheesy, but I truly believe the students who leave our program could get any job in the industry if they keep putting in the work! One of the most common things we hear from returning graduates is how ahead of their peers they are, and that’s because we put them through it while they’re here. The key is to keep aiming upward and not letting your skills plateau. If you’re not willing to do the work there are a couple of thousand people behind you who will,” said Lyon. 

Evan Bellanca, a student at TV III is the director of the TMA show. “Throughout my two years plus of being in the class, I’ve learned a lot about different technical aspects of television in film and about all sorts of equipment. But most importantly, I learned a lot about teamwork. For the entirety of last year and the beginning of this school year, my classmates and I have been shooting TMA for every single school day. In that time, I have learned a lot about my classmates, how they think, what their strengths and weaknesses are, and what drives them to be successful in and out of the classroom. In order to make the show possible, it’s crucial to work together because there are 11 people all doing different things at once that all have to blend together smoothly,” said Bellanca.

“Before taking the TV Media class, I wasn’t really sure what I had wanted to do [in the future] but now it’s clear,” states Bellanca. Bellanca wants to continue his passion for TV Media Production for his future career in sports television.

Featured Image from Left to Right: Gryphon Magnus, Evan Bellanca 

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Spotlight: TV/Media Production