California Educator

February 2016

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"I obviously love teachers," says Franco, who drinks nonstop cups of coffee during the daylong class, appearing very much the disheveled artist in a baseball cap and a sweater that seems to have strands of hay attached. "Now I'm a teacher. It's an amazing experience to be working with talented young people." His students are in the midst of creating a movie that will pre- miere next spring, based on the novel Metamorphosis, written by his mother, Betsy Franco, with illustrations by his brother, Tom Franco. The storyline depicts teen struggles with drugs, family expectations, sexual orientation, fitting in with peers, CNN's cast-off set finds new home with TV production class If the background looks familiar in our photo of a television pro- duction class at Fallbrook High School, there's a reason: It's the actual set that Piers Morgan used to anchor his show from CNN each day. Making excellent use of the celebrity news set now is teacher Ashley Scibilia, who was featured on CBS aer the school acquired the set for TV technology students. "It's really cool," says Scibilia, a member of the Fall- brook High School Teachers Association. "It makes every- thing feel much more real in a strange way." How did Fallbrook, a rural town in northern San Diego County, acquire a TV set from the leading source of 24-hour TV and online news? The broadcast journalism course is a career technical edu- cation class, explains Scibilia, and the class adviser, Fallbrook High School graduate Ryan Promack, worked for CNN. When he shared that the set would be trashed aer Morgan's show was canceled in 2014, Scibilia's predecessor, Fritz Schattschneider, asked if CNN would donate it. The broadcast- ing giant said yes. CNN transported the set, worth approximately $100,000, from Los Angeles to the school. "It was a huge blessing," says Scibilia, a graduate of Cal- ifornia Institute of the Arts, a college created by Disney that teaches film, video and character animation. "Once we got the set, it changed everyone's attitude. Suddenly we were in a professional setting, not just a class." The set has rooms for video recording and editing. The control room has switchboards and camera monitors. There's even a greenroom where guests wait for interviews and a classroom where students discuss filming and editing. A student broadcast is shown three days a week on campus and posted on YouTube. Students take turns using different equipment and being newscasters. The class covers video, audio, lighting, scriptwrit- ing and studio productions. Viewing the beehive of student production activity, it's easy to forget you're at a high school. And that's how the cast and crew like it. "The responsibility is very nice," says junior Brian Rucker, the technical director working the switchboard to make sure the camera angles are spot on. "It's an important job, and it's pre- paring me for what I'd like to do, which is being a film director." Warner Throop, also a junior, shares that being a director, newscaster, floor manager and more has given him the ultimate confidence. "I can do anything," he says, while switching the view from camera to camera. "It's a lot of fun," says freshman Madison McCarty, one of several female students in the class, who is working Camera 3. "I love it. Everything is going on at once — and we're right in the middle of it." —Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Ashley Scibilia, above left, with students on the set. At left, student Madison McCarty works Camera 3. 25 February 2016

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