Cutaway video class encourages self-expression

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Alternative Copy Story by Hannah Boardman

From music videos to advertisements, Cutaway Productions creates many different kinds of videos. Cutaway was created by video production teacher, Debbie Drew. Drew hand-picks students from the middle school video production class to join Cutaway Productions when they move up to the high school. Students say the course encourages creativity, support of fellow classmates and laughter.

“[Cutaway] is giving them real-world experience… being able to work with clients, having deadlines,” Drew said.

The Cutaway program pushes students to work hard and gives them a way to experience the world around them in a way that a lot of high schoolers do not get to. It gives students an experience that could influence them to get a job in the video production industry when they are able to.

This course also teaches the students involved everything they need to know for a career in video. This includes how to work with computers and computer software, working with the fine arts aspects like creating visual arts, and how to work in teams.

We make impactful videos that are deep and are meant to have a reaction from the audience, and we make really weird videos too sometimes… those are ones when [Drew] gives us free reign and just says make a video and you can go any direction with it.”

— Meghana Acharya

“[Drew] gives you a lot of creative freedom and lets you really do whatever you want, and you get really awesome opportunities while doing it, like getting to work with movie producers…,” freshman Olivia Hanson said.

Drew creates an environment in which the students involved are allowed to create the kinds of content they like to create and produce. Students work together to create fun, entertaining content for audiences around the world.

Many videos produced by Cutaway have been posted to YouTube and have received millions of views. In 2011, Cutaway won $1,000 and an MTV Music Awards TV spot for a PSA about distracted driving. The program was participating in the Minnesota Department of Public Safety and AAA Auto Club Don’t Drive Distracted video contest.

“We make impactful videos that are deep and are meant to have a reaction from the audience, and we make really weird videos too sometimes… those are ones when [Drew] gives us free reign and just says make a video and you can go any direction with it,” sophomore Meghana Acharya explained.

The videos produced within the Cutaway program are sometimes created to be serious and meaningful. Other times, students have opportunities to explore their imagination and creativity. This way, they are working together to create a goofy, fun video and learn more about video editing, producing and teamwork throughout the process.

Working together and using teamwork to create and produce videos allows students to experience what real-world careers in the industry would be like.

“[Cutaway] is a really nice space to be in because everyone is really supportive and if you need help with other classes, there is study time too because you do not have to be doing [videos] every day,” Hanson said.

Cutaway has given many students an opportunity to get to know themselves and to learn more about the world of business and the world of video production. With countless hours put into creating good quality videos, students learn not just about video production, but also about working with others, being supportive of other students and more. With this time, Drew has allowed students an hour out of their long school day to express themselves and enjoy themselves creating and editing videos.

“The kids learn something new with each video and then are able to put that to their creative and technical knowledge to make a really good video and then everyone is happy. The kids are happy, I am happy, and the clients are happy,” Drew said.

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