BRIC House, Brooklyn’s new cultural town square, opened just over a month ago in the former Mark Strand Theater located at 647 Fulton Street, and inside it’s already buzzing with creative energy. In addition to offering visual arts exhibitions and performances, BRIC offers a range of community media classes to Brooklyn residents. Media classes are also being taught by BRIC at Brooklyn Public Library’s Central, New Lots and Kings Highway branches. With 3rd Ward’s abrupt closure, the course offerings at BRIC become that much more unique and, thanks to substantial funding from the City, they won’t be going anywhere any time soon.
Today we’re taking you inside the Community Media Center at BRIC House with Video Production in the Field instructor Dontré Conerly.
BRIC students get trained in all aspects of TV production, from planning a story to shooting to editing. According to Conerly, students usually come with an idea–from interviewing the owner of a new restaurant in the neighborhood to addressing issues like safe biking in Brooklyn. On day one of the class instructors focus students on making their ideas more compelling, whether they’re shooting a full length TV segment or a three minute YouTube video. Conerly and BRIC’s other instructors help students bridge the gap between having an idea and making it happen.
Conerly says one of his goals is to prepare students who work in the field to create broadcasts as a one-man band, acting as both reporter and cameraman simultaneously. Having spent a month on Staten Island as a one-man band covering Hurricane Sandy, he knows the challenges TV news journalists face when working alone in the field. In the field, students encounter a lot of pressure–they must control the camera, adjust audio and white balance, frame the shot, and conduct interviews–without the help of a studio crew. BRIC’s Video in the Field Production classes aim to train students on the technical aspects of broadcasting, so working a camera will be second nature, enabling them to focus on the interview at hand.
At the end of a four week course, students get certified as community producers, and they are welcome to use BRIC’s video equipment free of charge. BRIC encourages students to keep using their skills, and they will produce students’ shows and air them on the Brooklyn Public Network and online. Conerly notes that one of the thrilling things about teaching these classes right here in Brooklyn is that as soon as students acquire the skills, they can access career opportunities at any of the TV production studios in the city.
You can visit the BRIC website to learn more about community media classes, which in addition to TV production, also include digital photography, graphic design, audio editing, and marketing.