Youth perspectives on the workshop: Francis
Francis: Kufunda youth participant
“The first day of the workshop, I was a bit nervous and when I saw the trainers walking in with the phone-like gadget, a three-legged stand and a huge zipped bag, I was wondering what was in the bag and what was in store. I had my notebook in hand but surprisingly, as soon as we all sat down, the trainers said “Hello, good morning, note books away!” Now I asked myself, “what on earth am I witnessing?!” It was a cool chilly morning, birds singing happily for the new morning dew of summer time.
Well, I soon learnt about how I can use the camera, (which I had actually thought was just a phone) and the tripod (the 3-legged stand). Now I was amused by the workshop and became suddenly comfortable; I was learning new skills easily. I learned the basic functions of a camera (the on/off switch, zooming in/out, the record/pause button and of course attaching it to the tripod). My first lesson was da-bomb; I mean really exciting because it was full of learning. I asked questions over and over again, but my trainers didn’t get bored; instead they really enjoyed sharing knowledge. On the first day, I grew in self-awareness and esteem through both the visioning exercise and the ‘show and tell’ exercise.
Throughout the lessons taken daily, I learnt about basic lighting and sound issues, and also about maintaining focus and concentration. Something opened my mind; it was like thinking ‘out of the box’. For example, I realised that in video filming I should first have a script and should know what kind of shot to use and how long the shot should be. It was a lot easier in video filming that I imagined.
Practically, I can now handle the camera and we have different kinds of cameras here, with which we can use the lapel, boom, shotgun and hand-held microphones. Now I always check the frequency between the transmitter and the receiver of the microphone I’m using, and make sure we hear good sound.
I had some time roaming around with my group, making short clips and in that way, I got to learn the different kinds of shots; (close-up, mid-shot, long-shot, extreme long-shot and extreme close-up). The close-up shot shows only the person/object that is in action, like a passport photo image. The mid-shot shows half the body with one or two people/objects, then the long-shot pictures the whole body in action and can show multiple objects/persons. The shot for showing emotions, say like the eyes with tears, is the extreme close-up, whereas the extreme long-shot shows the whole landscape. However, there are many more different kinds of shots.
I learned about logging and capturing footage, and the relationship between audio and visual in the editing software. We made a three-minute documentary film, learning and shooting the very kind of shots we had just learnt about, and visioning ourselves in a better world. In our video, we as a group put our plans together on how to live sustainably, our personal hopes and how we connect with our community globally. To me, the whole workshop was interesting and fun.
Well, I enjoyed doing interviews since we had been given tips on filming and interviews, such as deciding shot types, avoiding background noise, asking open questions, using a “3,2,1” hand signal before starting to film, and making sure the light is always behind the camera. Moreover, using the camera and taking a shot– now having the knowledge to do this properly– made our clips into an actual film!
I most enjoyed the ‘show and tell’ exercise as is boosted my confidence and self-esteem, standing in front of the camera for the first time; truly I didn’t know that I could do it so well! Most of all, I enjoyed the editing part, though it needed much concentration. I enjoyed my documentary film much more after editing; to me, it was now a real film. I liked how I could put film credits after the film and add my name at the end of the show, as the narrator!
Turning to the other side of the coin, the weather was a bit challenging and personally I need more lessons on editing software. But since everything about the video workshop was exciting, it became easy for me to learn and now I have a keen interest in making films of my own.
Now my mind-set has shifted, after having discovered that I can at least learn and apply something new, so I’m hoping to learn more new things from now on. There is a great change in my perspective; before, I thought my life was at the end, but after having done the visioning exercise (where I imagined myself now and in five years time), it brought my hopes back to life. After group planning, I now know that I can learn more through effective communication and working as a group. From that, I learnt that we can do a lot more if we do things as a community.
To improve my video skills, I want to work on real-life documentary films. I have been a [homeless] street kid; (just a young man on the street who is unemployed, eats from the bins, sleeps in the corridors in town, a hopeless man). I was like this for over 3 months of 2012, before I came to Kufunda. Now I will dream big; I need a documentary film based on the street life and the difficulties we face, what we end up doing, what brought people to the streets, what made them hopeless. These are open questions and good to use for interviews. I would interview street kids in my film. Since I experienced life on the streets, I always felt like an outcast amongst other youths. But I have something to offer Zimbabwe, which is the story of the inner heart of an ex street-kid. The streets are a dark world and Kufunda is a door-opener and a lighter world; this is where I am right now. Having this in mind, in the next 10 or 15 years, I would like to work on documentary films about street-life and educating on how Zimbabweans and everyone in the world can help the youths out there. I would like to find donors so that I can teach these youths about living sustainably and the effectiveness of having a strong community.”