And We’re Rolling Again" />
The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

The official student newspaper of The Hockaday School

The Fourcast

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And We’re Rolling Again

Hockaday plans to reboot its Film Progam

Take 2… Action! Hockaday plans to restart its film program.

Since the 2009-2010 school year, Hockaday film students have been bused to St. Mark’s for film classes. But within the next few years, thanks to the growing demand for a film program at Hockaday, girls will no longer have to travel to learn about the big screen.

This school year, Hockaday began its own film program with film rotations, Beginning Film-making and Film Studies and Video Production for seventh and eighth grade girls, respectively. These courses, taught by Middle School teacher Glenys Quick, replace previous years’ photography rotation. Girls now begin their studies in Photoshop, creating still-image slideshows and work up to filming short video clips.

Quick said she took on the film rotation because “that’s the way you grow—by taking on challenges.”

This is Quick’s ninth year teaching Middle School English and when the opportunity presented itself, Quick was eager to take on the film class. “Everyone’s just on the verge of creating movies anyway,” Quick said.

But film isn’t just for Hockaday Middle Schoolers. Quick’s film rotation is an “experiment” before the film program expands into the Upper School as a fine art.

Unlike the Middle School film rotation, the Upper School film program would focus on short film-making rather than still imagery. Furthermore, the program will have a prerequisite arts foundations course.

In the year-long foundations course, students rotate through film, ceramics, studio art and photography. From there, girls decide which visual art to pursue.

Middle School Visual Arts Chair Susan Sanders said that one of the goals of the foundations course is to give students 360-degree perspective on the Fine Arts Department.

“I think it will just help, even if a student decides that they really only want to do photography—they can later go on and do photography,” Sanders said. “It will also give them exposure to more teachers and arts and the more teachers you interact with, the stronger you’re going to be.”

The fact that Hockaday has not offered a film program for years has proven difficult for many students such as seniors Angelika and Rachel, who take a film class at St. Mark’s. Since St. Mark’s schedule is not a block schedule like Hockaday’s, Angelika and Rachel go to class every other day, thus missing two or three classes a week.

“Last year I had to drop one or two classes just to get in,” Angelika said.

Both girls wish Hockaday had a film class. “More people would be able to take film if it was at [Hockaday],” Rachel said.

Angelika said it would also “be nice to have a longer film class and the location at Hockaday would be so much more convenient.”

St. Mark’s sophomore Cole, who is in the same film class as Rachel and Angelika, thinks that Hockaday should “absolutely” have a film program. “It’s not that we don’t want them in our class, we definitely want them in our class… but it would be definitely be easier for them if Hockaday had its own program. Plus, it would give the opportunity to so many other girls who wouldn’t have the opportunity otherwise,” Cole said.

Once the Upper School film program has been implemented at Hockaday, the film class at St. Mark’s would not be offered for Hockaday students.

So why has it taken so long for Hockaday to finally implement a film program? Schools like Greenhill, ESD, Ursuline and St. Mark’s have long offered their students a film class. At St. Mark’s, the class has been offered for 11 years.

First, unbeknownst to most, Hockaday actually did have a film program before. It was initially implemented in 1971, taught by Upper School Fine Arts teacher Ed Long. At first, students filmed with Super 8 film cameras and literally had to physically cut the film in order to edit. Plus, St. Mark’s boys actually came to Hockaday for film class in the 1970s, instead Hockaday girls to St. Mark’s like the past few years. However, the program was taken away about 10 years ago because “we didn’t give enough attention to it,” Long said. He said the film program simply “drifted away.”

Long regrets allowing this to happen and would have liked to multitask to somehow offer film as a fine arts course.

“If anyone believes that film is essential to school, it would be me,” Long said. “So the fact that I started the film program and it no longer exists is very discouraging…but it’s very much the long-range plan to return film to the curriculum.”

Second, funding is needed to execute the film program. The program would need cameras as well as Mac lab in order to use the film editing software Final Cut Pro.

Sanders said that costs have fortunately decreased in the past years, making implementing a film program much more accessible and doable. But “the goal is to have the funding and we want the funding as soon as possible, and I think we could end up with the funding by Centennial year, and that would be a really positive horizon,” Sanders said.

Hockaday has been looking at other schools’ film programs for inspiration. Sanders said she is looking to understand what works and what doesn’t. She and head of technology department Richard Bradley are visiting private schools with film programs in the metroplex, looking at aspects such as how the room is set up to facilitate teaching, what kind of teachers are needed and how students work the software.

In deciding to restart a film program at Hockaday, Sanders said “the film program is something that I think is a 21st century skill…It is something that a school of our caliber should be offering. We were asked to create a long-range plan and delivered it last fall. Looking at that, it became apparent that we needed to implement a film program.”

– Tiffany

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