Dear John, you have been selected to take part in Professional Video - Positive Impact 2 - Training Course in Alicante Spain from the 18th to 25th September 2017.
Erasmus, in Spain, in September, doing a project I know will really benefit our work. How good is that! The fact was that I applied a little late and I really didn’t expect to be accepted due to the high numbers this course would attract but there it was, I’d been accepted to go and so glad that I was.
The 18th came around very quickly or so it seemed. A weekend community festival just before, this may have been a little bad timing on my part but I was bursting with energy and ready to get involved. Although I left home at 4.30 am on a cold and wet Cornish morning, by the time I arrived in Alicante at 2.30 pm it was a nice 30 degrees and sunny. A great start to the next 8 days. Busses turned to Tram rides and soon I had arrived at my destination after a very pleasant journey. My next 8 days would be spent at a school in the dorms sharing with 20 + others from 6 countries. 7 pm came and a welcome night had been planned where we would find out a little of what we were going to get up to over the next few days.
Being the oldest on these projects sometimes makes you stand out and get noticed, not in a bad way but with curiosity as often older people have given up learning by then and are quite rare to see on Erasmus projects. My history, current position and desire to keep to my lifelong learning plan got me here and the others quickly accepted me and age became no barrier.
Straight away I could feel the vibe and the feeling was good. The other participants and the hosts were very upbeat, positive and professional. The people who were taking part were there to learn foremost and to have fun along the way, while the trainers were making sure our every need was met.
I like to take part in these project as I not only learn from the subject being taught but also the way the trainers are teaching. Being a host in the UK for Erasmus projects and with applications pending outcomes there was that possibility that what I learned here could be used in some form in our delivery on future projects.
The next few days of training was spent on getting to know you; team bonding exercises and finding out a little about our knowledge of film making. This came at an easy pace and was delivered really well. Everyone was involved, everyone found their voice and everyone enjoyed it. - In fact, I don’t feel as if I am doing it justice with this description when really it was brilliantly done and thoroughly thought out. The games played really did help me remember people’s names; something I normally am not very good at. The whole introduction was fun, just what we needed and had the desired effect. We learned by non-formal education methods and we explored ideas through conversation.
The 3rd day though I felt a little cheated. The subject we were covering was storytelling and how to create and tell a good story. Tom, one of the trainers, explained the ten point summary of good stories and this is where I felt cheated. I had gone through life never knowing this but yet as he told us the method, nearly every film and book I had read fell into this method! I had dozens of films going through my head that fit the exact description of the ten-point plan. There was Lord of the Rings, Lemony Snickets, Deadpool and just about every film I could remember. How did I not know this before? How could I ever watch a film again without knowing where they were on the ten-point plan? Most of all though, I now knew how to create a good story, Tom had delivered a brilliant session and one I was sure would stay with me, be used and create impact in the future.
The other trainer was Javi; a chap who really knew his subject and how to pass his knowledge on to others in a clear and understanding way. He was not only a very good trainer but he really was a people person. He really cared about the participants and made sure we were comfortable and content with what was going on.
The next few days were mainly on Film. How to find those great angles, the basics of editing, sound and over all vision. The days passed quick, the learning was deep and the groups we formed worked well together. The days also allowed for us to explore more of the town around us. Alicante is a place that was new to me and the vibe I got from being there was nice. It felt safe, clean and was a place I felt that I wanted to know more about. The history there is plentiful and I had the chance to join others on a journey to visit the Castle on the Rock. To say it was amazing is not enough. The view was mesmerizing, the history of the place ran back hundreds of years and drew you in to find out more. As a bonus, there was a small exhibition based on the Game of Thrones that didn’t seem out of place and the castle was a brilliant backdrop for this. The main hall was outstanding and I could actually play through imaginative stories of large feasts and sieges being held there. I think this was left over from the previous sessions of storytelling and creation but I didn’t mind. At that moment in time, in my head, I was manning the ramparts and calling arms to defend!
As this project was mainly based on non-formal education methods, our learning came from taking action and actually doing films. We worked in teams that were very carefully thought out and had an even mix of ability. What we did share was the desire to learn and this was key to the project. The teams worked with NGO`s of the region to produce a video that would be used by them in the future. The clients brief varied between the NGO`s and the one I worked on was a `Thank You` message that the director wanted to give to the people involved with the project she ran. This involved us undertaking filmed interviews, street shots for B film to be used and office filming and interviews to finish off.
We spent a day filming and then the following day editing. For me, my biggest part was the interviews. I couldn’t actually ask the questions as I can’t speak Spanish but I could compose the questions. One thing I do have an understanding of at times is people and the questions I posed were mainly loaded for the replies that were given, the impact of those questions and the emotions that came from them. This lead to us capturing the moment, the feelings and created that story we wanted to put across. The technical side of things was totally new to me and due to deadlines and professional approach I sat, I watched and I learned. We were given the websites to download free software for editing, for sound and music royalty free of course and we were given 24 hours to complete the editing.
I found myself on a Saturday night, at 10 pm wondering what all the younger ones were doing. To my surprise they were still working and it was a bit of a wow to me. They had time to finish in the morning, they had the chance to go dancing, to the beach and to many bars in the area but yet on a Saturday night they chose to work. These are the people I love to work with. The ones that want to make the difference, the ones that go the extra mile and the ones that get very little praise for what they do buy will do it regardless.
Sunday and the last working day came around quick and this was the day we got to showcase our final cuts and our masterpieces to the other teams. 4 Films, 4 different subjects and 4 brilliantly delivered videos. In the time we had, the teams that were formed within just a few days and the knowledge between us, I honestly think we created something of use and that gave impact. I think the NGO`s that we worked for will be happy and will go on to use what we created.
At the time of writing this, the videos are with the NGO`s to seek permission for us to use. They may agree, they may want changes or they may want to use first before going public. Whatever they decide, I hope to be able to share with you what we created on this fantastic, highly beneficial training course. Hosted by professionals and made possible by Erasmus.
Oh, and if you ever see this course on Salto get you application in quickly, make sure you get on it, I would highly recommend it as it certainly had a significant an impact on me.
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