By Erin Pesut
Brian Adam Kline is the Media Arts teacher at The Capitol Encore Academy (TCEA). Usually his classroom curriculum for the K-7 school includes five units: Computers: Art and Operation, Filmmaking, Photography, Animation and Broadcast News. These subjects, all beneath the umbrella of Media Arts, help students navigate the world they live in and the technology in which they are so immersed.
But even after the Broadcast News unit is over, some kids choose to venture even further into that world and right into the club that Mr. Kline created last school year. The Broadcast News Club meets on Tuesdays after school for two hours. During club meetings, students brainstorm ideas and stories and specific interview questions. They focus on interview skills, how to be personable and time management skills, in addition to using green screen technology, a camera, lights and sound equipment.
“Right now we are doing this with a green sheet, two lights I got off Amazon and a camera which I’ve owned for years,” Mr. Kline said.
Even though the fundamentals are basic, the finished product, created by students, is something special, and faculty and staff at TCEA are very open to being interviewed about all different kinds of things. Students, armed with with “press passes,” cover school happenings, including how students felt during an unexpected power outage, techniques on how to build clay coil pots, surprise birds found in the cafeteria and larger finished class projects.
During the Entertainment segment of the show, a student correspondent explores the latest in Entertainment News, dishing on upcoming movies and speculating on what the movie might be about. With each episode, students also include an interview with the Person of the Week, who could be a teacher, staff member or even another student. Students themselves are eager to get on air, or become members of the club.
“They’re all about being YouTube famous, that’s the new thing,” Mr. Kline explained.
Even Angela Hill, Principal at TCEA noticed a difference. “It was amazing to watch students blossom while in the Broadcast News Club. I loved seeing our more shy students discover their voice and personality in front of the camera.”
Mrs. Hill added that the club positively impacted the school’s staff as well. They were able to share more aspects about their job at TCEA, what was happening in their prospective “worlds” and even though it was an after-school club for the students, it ultimately united the staff.
She continued, “I am continually awed by the opportunities our young students have here, some that even area high school students do not have the chance to experience. I can only imagine the huge impact our students are going to have in Media Arts and in the world.”
Mr. Kline inaugurated the Broadcast News Club for many reasons, but one reason especially stands out.
“What’s really important is that it teaches kids to not be afraid of the news. The news can be used for great things, to educate people and not just scare them,” Mr. Kline said.
Mr. Kline evaluates the strengths of each student and sees who feels comfortable in front of the camera and who is more relaxed working behind the scenes. As of now, due to time restrictions, Mr. Kline does the editing himself, but the students truly run the show.
“They come up with the stories. They’re in charge of interviewing and behind the scenes help with the camera. I do the editing and then released in a few days. As this evolves into a more populated club, then the editing will be done by students.”
Mr. Kline describes the kids in the Broadcast News Club to be spontaneous, intelligent, kind and passionate. “I have a very good group of passionate kids,” he said.
For the Broadcast News Club, Mr. Kline doesn’t think there is a right way to do things and a wrong way. He hopes that the more comfortable students get in front of camera, or behind it, the more they will open up and express themselves. “It’s all about guidance and not so much telling them what is right. It’s letting them find their own place, their own vision.”
In the spring, student anchors included Charlotte, Gabriella and Zora, and the writers were Colleen, R.J. and Aylani. After the opening news sequence, the anchors sat at the news desk in front of a green sheet on which The Capitol Encore Academy logo was super-imposed. This green screen technology allows you to replace all that is green with any image or video. Students especially enjoy the green screen technology. When sharing tools of technology with his students, Mr. Kline said, “You’re not just a teacher, you’re not just an artist, you’re like a magician. The kids, they think it’s magic. And to see them light up makes me light up.”
While Mr. Kline is the full-time Media Arts teacher at The Capitol Encore Academy, he also serves as the Artistic Associate and Co-Education Director at the Gilbert Theatre, as a summer teacher at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) and runs his own production company, Kline Entertainment.
“I have two passions,” he said. “I love to direct films and plays and then I also like to educate and give back. As an artist, I think it’s your duty to share your craft so that other artists after you can be even stronger artists.”
Working alongside children helps remind Mr. Kline to not take himself too seriously, to really enjoy what he does and to not think of limitations.
“I’ve always liked working with kids, even when I teach acting, because the imagination is already there. When you get older, it’s a job instead of just being natural.”
For kids that are interested in media arts or broadcast news, but may not have those subjects at their own school, Mr. Kline says to keep pursuing what you love.
“Find any device possible, whether it be your parent’s iPhone, camera or an iPad and just make movies. Just do that. If you’re making films,” he said, “you’re a filmmaker.”
Watch The Capitol Encore Academy News on YouTube by searching “TCEA News.”