A select group of Wilson Mass Media students traveled to Anaheim, California last week for the Student Television Network (STN) Convention. The annual convention draws middle and high school students from across the country and the world. The location of the convention changes every year.
Wilson mass media teacher, Kadesha Bonds, has taken students to STN for the past three years. This year, Bonds took twelve students total, six boys and six girls, from all levels of her mass media classes.
The twelve students participated in various competitions over the five days. Junior Alex Hannah and senior Kenneth Carroll teamed up for the Silent Film Competition, a new category at STN this year. Their film, “Answer the Phone” starring Carolina Bayon and Mark Jackson, and Mabel Malhotra as support, won first place in the Silent Film Category. The first place finish is Wilson’s highest ever at STN in its three years participating.
Each member has their own project, being a lead and an editor, and for others they are support, which includes acting, etc. Group leads pick up the prompt which are usually a sentence or a phrase, and for STN’s most known competition, Crazy 8s (filmed compiled in 8 hours), students are also given a prop. During the week of March 27 to March 31 the Wilson team produced eight films. These films were in the categories; Crazy 8s Short Film, Crazy 8s Sitcom, Short Story, Silent film, Music Video, Tell the Story News Editing, Sports Editing, and Movie Trailer.
“It wasn’t as stressful as I thought it would be,” Hannah said of the time constraints in the competition. The team was given three hours to shoot and three hours to edit the film. The deadlines are not merely suggestions, if a film is not turned in by the exact time, it is not eligible for competition. Hannah believes the team chemistry between her and Carroll contributed to the win. “I think we work well together and we were both on the same page the entire time.”
Spanish Editor, Carolina Bayon, also attended the trip. “When I was in the editing room, it wasn’t as stressful as imagined.. When going to pick up a prompt or turn in a film around deadline, the amount of people rushing and crowding the space made it extremely overwhelming to figure out where to go,” she said. Bayon was excited for the trip and honored to take part in the opportunity. “Ms.Bonds told us that film and broadcast are a deadline business and going to STN really emphasized that point with me,” Bayon said. “We were able to learn how this whole industry really works, what it takes to be involved, and how competitive the field can be. I think talking to schools and certain associations opened our interests up and helped us learn so much. Especially when watching other films, you just want to get better and learn to do what other students did.”
Bonds emphasizes the STN experience rather than coming home with a trophy. “I tell the kids, we don’t go to win…we go for the process because not only do we compete, there’s sessions, college tours, there’s so many things that STN has to offer,” Bonds said. “Now if we win, that’s the cherry on top.”
With 3,000 participants in this year’s convention, the competition was tougher than ever. “I told the kids any win for any of us is a win for Wilson,” Bonds said. Next year’s convention will be held in Nashville, Tennessee. Bond hopes to increase the DC involvement at the convention. Wilson’s team of 12 students was small compared to many of the other teams but Bonds likes the 12 person group size because it’s manageable. She has talked to mass media teachers at Ballou and Coolidge high schools about possibly participating next year. Bonds hopes her students want to continue to involve themselves in opportunities like STN in the future.
PHOTO BY AVRAM LUBLINER-WALTERS