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Lights, camera action: Area youths get crash course in filmmaking to make their own PSA

By Shavonne Walker
shavonne.walker@salisburypost.com

SALISBURY — In 2017, Devan McCarson began learning the basics of filmmaking through a weekend workshop designed to give youths a crash course in creating a public service announcement.

A family emergency cut her experience short, but she made a return this weekend for an Inside Out Global/Next Generation Productions workshop.

McCarson, 13, and about 12 other youths gathered Friday night at Mission House church on Statesville Boulevard to learn from professional filmmakers the art of writing scripts, creating the right lighting and sound, and editing their own short film.

The teens hit the streets Saturday to write their script and film their PSA.

“I wanted to come back to have more experiences. Last time, it was fun and I wanted to learn more,” McCarson said.

Her mother, Sue, volunteered as a mentor to help the film crew and the youths.

“They’re all being challenged. It makes you feel good when they accomplish it,” she said of the weekend project.

Two years ago, Mission House Pastor Anthony Smith connected with Inside Out Global, a nonprofit organization that partners professionals with youths to tell their stories through film.

About a dozen youths created public service announcements in 2016, then went on to create a documentary in 2017 on Shuford Memorial School in Granite Quarry. They’ve since created Next Generation Productions, a collaboration between Mission House and Inside Out Global.

“What we expect is for youths to discover their strengths that they may not realize they had before, to become more confident in themselves and stand in their power,” Smith said.

“The youths choose the story they want to tell. We don’t tell them what to create. Two film crews will hit the streets of Salisbury,” Smith said.

This year, the workshop opportunities have been opened to a wider audience, bringing in ages 12 to 17 to participate.

Adult mentor Danny Smith, a local music producer, volunteered to teach the youths how to get quality sound from various microphones and make them comfortable with using the equipment.

Smith has taken what he does with his company, Soul Resurrection Music, to teach them the fundamentals of using the sound equipment.

“The kids get practical knowledge and understand what it takes to put together the content,” Smith said.

C.J. Withers, 18, returned for the workshop after being encouraged to take part by mentor Ash Love. Wither said he likes the idea of creating something that will be seen by and make an impact on others.

Mahogany Koontz, 17, attends Mission House church. This year was her first time participating.

“It’s fun. I’ve made a lot of friends here,” Koontz said.

She said the part of the project that interests her most is acting.

Wesley Dean with Inside Out Global said the goal is to take the teens’ strengths, collect the story they want to tell and help the students realize, “I was really good at this.”

Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.

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