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Every other week the student-created, award-winning “TV Tuesdays” program is aired to the whiteboards in every Elizabeth High School classroom.
Hundreds of student hours of planning, preparation, shooting videos and production culminate in the 10-minute program about school and community activities and events.
Dan Marcus, who teaches the audio-video classes at EHS, said that ever part of each program's work is done by students.
“Students begin by deciding on the subjects for each broadcast, planning the work flows shooting the video, editing it and producing the program. I am there to advise them on techniques but they do all the work,” Marcus said. “The broadcast of the program launches the beginning of two weeks' preparation for the next program.”
The Castle Rock resident taught math for most of his 44-year career. He began teaching audio-visual programs in 2005, first at Lewis-Palmer High School in Monument and then at Aspen Academy school in Greenwood Village. He came out of retirement in 2014 to teach math at Elizabeth High School in 2014.
Later that year, at the request of 30 students, he started an after-school film club that two years later became the audio-visual class. In start of the 2016-17 academic year it was certified as a career technical education program that is state-approved, so the students receive college credit for the class through Pikes Peak Community College. Programs by all three of his audio-visual programs have won state awards. The Elizabeth High School program won a 2016 award from the Colorful Colorado Film Festival for Youth
One of the final stages of the program that will air Jan. 30 was completed on Jan. 25. The audio-visual classroom became a student-built TV studio so the two program anchors could be recorded on video presenting the introduction for each program's story.
On Jan. 25, the atmosphere on the set was light. Program anchors Alyssa Beeve and Chris Dolan chatted and sometimes made humorous comments as they introduced the programs that were featured during the show. The featured programs included information about the Elizabeth Education Foundation, the wrestling team, the cheerleaders, students who completed in the knowledge bowl and a look back called “The '60s.” The intro to each feature led into segments about that program videotaped by students.
“I began the audio class when it started two years ago,” Dolan said. “I admit I wasn't a hard worker that first year but I guess because I have a social personality, a good voice, the hair, so I was selected as a possible anchor. I was picked as the anchor when we were doing different stretches with anchors. My best friend Ben Humphrey and I were the anchors. We didn't use a script and the school loved it, so I have been an anchor ever since.”
Dolan said the class began with no equipment. Grants in the first year of the class helped purchase some of the needed equipment. When the program didn't receive the grant this school year, students reached out to local businesses for donations.
“One business owner suggested we offer to create commercials for local businesses,” he said. “We got a lot of response and the program has made a number of commercials for businesses that then made donations to the program that we are using to purchase more equipment.”
He said he wants to have a career in filmmaking.
“I plan to attend Colorado Film School because they have a great program,” he said “Hopefully the school will help me decide where my career should focus, such as television or filmmaking.”
During the Jan. 25 taping, some introductions didn't go perfectly. Sometimes a retake was suggested by the anchors to make small alterations to the script, and some takes were redone because producer Humphrey wanted changes.
“Filmmaking has always been a passion since I was old enough to pick up a video camera,” the senior said. “I became part of the program when I was a freshman and joined the after-school film club and stayed with it last year when it became a class. The film club and the audio-visual classes were an opportunity to expand on my passion and learn more about filmmaking.”
Humphrey said his first year in the class he ran a video camera and did other tasks behind the camera. This year he became the program's producer
He said being the producer is the most fun he has ever had and it is super awesome to be able to work with all his friends.
“My plans are to hopefully go to film school when I graduate from Elizabeth,” he said. “But that depends because there usually are openings in the film industry if you know what you are doing. My resume will include running my own company, Big Foot Productions. I keep pretty busy doing video production, graphic design and digital photography for small business, weddings and events.”
Eric Goody, reporter and cameraman for Denver's Channel 7, was filming the Jan. 25 taping.
“I am excited to be able to do this report on this program,” he said. “This is a great program. Their productions are professional quality and I am pleased to be able to prepare this report that will probably be shown in February.”
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