An activity showing the power of the selection of images and words for television. Allows consideration of some practical, creative and ethical issues about the Media. It is also about the importance of education and upbringing in early childhood.
Start either by introducing the topic of the child or by the method of television story-boarding (a plan of the words, images and timing of a television broadcast).
1. The child
„Childhood is a time of innocence“
„Give me a child until he is seven and I’ll create the Man“
Say or give out these old quotations about children, (You can explain that it is about women also, but in older times they were not mentioned). Say that they may seem contradictory to some people and complementary to others.
Split people in small groups of, perhaps, four or five. Give some groups the Six Statements and some the Seven Statements. Ask them not to talk with, or show their statements to, other groups.
- A child who is criticized – learns to condemn
- A child who is punished – learns to fight
- A child who is insulted – learned to be shy A child who experiences shame – learns to feel guilt
- A child who is abused – learns self-loathing
- A child who sees loved ones killed – learns to fear and hate
- A child who meets tolerance – learns patience
- A child who is encouraged – learns confidence
- A child who experiences security – learns trust
- A child who experiences fair play – teams justice
- A child who feels friendship – ]cams to show kindness
- A child who is accepted – learns self respect
- A child who receives care and love – learns to love
Ask each group to discuss the meaning of their statements and what they think about them.
2. Television story-boarding
Explain that story-boarding is a planning grid. People working on a television programme or advertisement use storyboards to organize themselves. (Show them the Picture, Time and Sound diagrams). The storyboard shows what pictures the viewer will see at any point during the progrannne or advert and the words and sound effects that will go with the images. A useful tip is that it takes about 1 second to say 3 words. Images and sounds should match.
3. The task
Explain that each group needs to create a two minute news item, advertisement or small feature for television about their six or seven statements by story-boarding. They can either have many copies of the Picture, Time and Sound diagrams from you or create their own. They need to sketch the images, estimate the number of seconds and write in any words or sound effects.
The following points need to be discussed:
What do you want to communicate with the audience?
What are the three main points you want to make?
How are you going to explain what is happening?
Are there any images or words you cannot or will not use?
How are you going ten keep your audience interested?
How can you compete with an action-adventure film, a football match or a prize-winning show?
Give a time limit for the group to discuss and prepare. An hour or an hour and a half at least. Explain that at the end the groups will display their storyboards for others to see and will give other groups a brief description.
4. The show
Put all the sequences on the wall. Ask people to look at the storyboards of all other groups. They should try to notice if there are similarities and/or differences. They should see if each one makes an impression on them. After some time for this, ask people if there are any questions they have for a certain group. What something means? Why they chose it? (Ensure that questions are directed at all groups, not just one or two). Ask if differences can be seen between the groups who had the six statements and those that had the seven? Consider why this might be. You may need to ask someone from each group to read the six and seven.
Ask each group whether they were able to agree on their storyboard easily and about their discussion on which images and sounds could be used and how they were going to interest their audience in this topic.
There can then be a broader discussion on whether any of these sequences would be likely to be broadcast; the difficulty of interesting people in topics like this; the need for television to be entertaining and whether it is possible to remain true to your principles and to compromise with the reality of the Media.
You could make a competition between the groups. This would clearly reflect the reality of the media. The best one being judged on how it grabs and holds the interest of the viewers. A small prize, of some kind, could be offered.
Such an exercise can be done with any topic. Refugees. Gypsies. Disaster relief. Famine. In each case some visual or verbal input needs to introduce the topic.
Instead of television story-boarding, a front-page of a newspaper could be laid out or a cassette recording of a two-minute radio spot made. The structure of the exercise would be the same.
Humanitarian work needs the Media and vice versa. The relationship between the two is not always easy because they have very different goals and practices. Some understanding of this reality can prove useful and illuminating.