Empowering Women – Real Reality

One of the most important aspects of the Video Revolution is the empowerment of women.

When I first started working at WCBS News in NY, there was one camerawoman on the staff. She was considered something of an oddity in the business.

And it was understandable.

The gear in those days weighed a ton.  U-Matic cameras, separate record decks. The battery belts alone would have eliminated most people from the job.  You had to have the strength and the endurance of a professional fire fighter to even think about it.

Of course, that is now all over.

Broadcast quality cameras weigh next to nothing.

And now women can begin picking up cameras and competing with the boys.

(Personally, I think this annoys a lot of the old-guys cameramen; but that’s another story).

At the Travel Channel Academy, about half our enrollment is women, and our average age is probably 30s-40s.  These aren’t 23 year old kids wanting to break into the business. They’re serious adults. And they all have stories to tell.

This opens whole new opportunities for TV.

Reality TV now is often little more than a car crash, with the audience as rubberneckers.

But there are better, and far more personal stories to tell, once we start to empower people with the technology.

Carey Kyler took the course last week. She had never touched a camera for an edit before.  Here’s the piece she made after the 4-day session.  Her husband is a stay-at-home dad.

Pretty good for the first time ever. And maybe the kind of thing you’d see on Lifetime…  Real people. Real stories.


8 responses to “Empowering Women – Real Reality

  1. Obviously Ms Kyler has an innate understanding of montage. The piece is very entertaining and well structured. But… I wonder… can montage really be taught? Is it not when you get right down to it a talent as specific as that required to play a musical instrument… or maybe even compose a score?

    I ask this as one who is obliged often to work with editors who may know well all of the tech that Avid or FCP software offers but fail to demonstarte any grasp of narrative, rhythm or design.

  2. Hi Malcolm
    The answer is yes. Narrative structure can be taught. I would say that a good 50% of our 4-day bootcamp us devoted solely to story telling. And like anything else, there is a formula that you can teach people. Storytelling in video has a grammar that one can learn. It is not the ‘dark art’ that those in the business for many years would have one believe.

  3. Very nice effort.

    What about music rights?

    Is that taught as a concern to your students?

  4. Actually, we do.
    We give them a thorough lecture on rights, and also releases, along with the release documents, (in about 15 languages). We also provide them with access to music for which we have pre-cleared the rights.

  5. Michael-
    I like that your latest blog is about empowering women, something I hold close to my heart. Though I do want to let you know that two of us were 23 in the class! haha.
    We still get what you’re saying though…just wanted to give a shout out for all of my peers as well as camera holding middle agers.
    Great post!

  6. Hi Alexis!
    Nothing against 23 year olds!!
    Glad you’re with us old folks.

  7. hi michael,
    i have a huge favor, what are the chances i could sit in on the editing lecture again…..
    i will be in NYC this weekend and you are having a bootcamp.
    I was in your bootcamp in DC in June.
    I could use a refresher on the FCP software…….It has held me up on my filmmaking, not having the editing skills.
    many thanks,
    val ryan MD

  8. Many thanks for all the comments. The class was amazing and I thought everyone’s final project was miles ahead of where they began (young and middle aged alike!) Mostly, Michael and team made it a fun learning experience.

    And, yes- we did learn about music rights. I would not have selected the song that I used if the video was going to be used for commercial consumption!

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