AVP Adapts: Film Class Makes Changes for COVID-19

LiLi Xiong, Staff Writer

Traditional film classes involve face-to-face communication and collaboration, and the Audio Video Production (AVP) class at LASA is no exception. 

This class is an elective with three levels: Beginner AVP, Advanced AVP and Practicum AVP which are all based around the art of filmmaking. COVID-19 has made it harder for students to work and film together, but the class has found ways to overcome these obstacles and continue to express themselves through film. 

Beginner AVP has been focusing on writing stories this year, according to AVP teacher Vanessa Mokry. She said that COVID-19 has given students more time to write as opposed to filming or learning how to use equipment.

“So far, we’ve been able to spend more time on writing and developing ideas for the stories,” Mokry said. “It’s nice too because we don’t usually get to spend quite as much time developing the stories that we end up trying to produce.”

Freshman Ana Garfield is enrolled in Beginner AVP. She said her class has been learning aspects of filmmaking before getting to actually produce films.

“Recently, we’ve been learning how to write scripts,” Garfield said. “Other days, we watch other students’ work or professional work, and we discuss the different things we liked and the stuff we didn’t like about it.”

Advanced AVP students have worked on outdoor productions, and Practicum AVP students have participated in two internships this year. Gaelila McKaughan, a senior taking Practicum AVP, said she has been busy with her internship for the class.

“For the past two months, we’ve been doing an internship off campus,” McKaughan said. “A typical day has actually been me in a Zoom meeting with the people who I was doing an internship with. We would be running through plans, and we also had to produce Zoom events… it would be 2-3 hour meetings with these adults.”

The internships the Practicum AVP class participated in are with Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization that helps kids with financial literacy and aims to promote success in a global economy, and WP Productions, a film production company in Austin. Mokry said that she believes that teaching is at its best when students get to learn through hands-on activities.

“The best way to learn, usually, is to get that time with the equipment,” Mokry said. “Normal Audio Video Production class in the building would have everybody interacting quite a bit, touching equipment and touching each other and doing different kinds of activities and just getting your hands on things a lot more.”

However, the class has adapted to online learning. Mokry tried to get all the students cameras before the total lockdown last semester and sent iMacs with editing software and various creative applications to students who requested them.

“The district also purchased Adobe Creative Cloud for all the students to be attached to your personal school email so you can actually install it at home on your computer,” Mokry said.

Practicum AVP has only four students, so they share a class period with Advanced AVP even though they’re technically separate classes. McKaughan said she enjoys the creative energy of the students in her class.

“The creativity of the class is incredible, you’ve just got so many people with different stories they want to tell,” McKaughan said. “It’s just a lot of fun to be around that creative space.”

Mokry enjoys being able to help her students share the stories they want to tell. She is fascinated by the unique experiences of each student that makes their stories special.

“Hearing their special brand of story they tell is always enjoyable,” Mokry said. “Sometimes, the stories are similar things since people are going through a lot of the same things, but then there’s just slight variations. Sometimes, it’s just out of the blue, or it could be some story that really affects you. I get to help them figure out how to make it work, talking stories with them every day and figuring out what we need to communicate to the world.”