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May 19, 2017
by: Keira Collin, Étude Studios Writing Intern

ESAA students bring Settlers’ Stories to life


Second and third graders at the Elementary School for the Arts and Academics collaborated in groups to explore the lives of early settlers in America. After developing plays to showcase the problems that the settlers faced, IDEAS Academy film interns from Étude Studios helped to capture them.

Drama teacher Dan Burkey explained the process used to make these plays:

“We structured short plays and scenes based on those problems and solutions. For our performance we recorded them in front of a green screen and replaced the green background with backgrounds that the kids had hand drawn on paper, “ Burkey said.

Collaboration between the schools in the Étude Group allows students to learn about different ways of thinking and art forms as well as understand the importance of working as a team.

“Interns came in to check camera angles and talked the students through the process of film production, the idea of saying ‘Action!’ as well as making sure cameras and microphones were operating before we started. The interns had it set up so we could just move the kids in and start filming and we were able to sync up the sound between multiple cameras: the same process that professional film studios would use while trying to film a scene with multiple angles,” Burkey said.

Internship at IDEAS Academy through Étude Studios gives IDEAS students the opportunity to be a part of high quality, professional work that will be a template to their work in the future.

“It was great for interns to have more of a production element of their work. This was more a filmed presentation where the intended product is the film scene itself, Burkey said. “The elementary students got to see and feel what it's like to be in a professional environment and to have a team of technicians with actors where each group had their own responsibilities, working together creatively for the same goal.”

Alex Dean, a film intern at Étude Studios, was pleased that the final product of this collaboration created a bridge between the two schools.

“[Interns responsibilities are] important because either [Mr. Burkey] would have had to capture it himself or they would’ve had to hire a professional film team, but we have an internship program at IDEAS with videographers, so we were able to make this happen with a lot of help from Burkey,” he said.

From filming the Settler’s Plays, Dean gained an appreciation of the different talents prevalent in all students and the benefit of bringing those together.

“I think the kids did a really good job. A lot of them were only looking up at the script a couple of times during the play. From an actor's point of view, they did really great and I think that if they continue with this they could be really amazing actors, so kudos to them,” Dean said.

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