Senior Chelsea Maddred recently completed the eight-month Documentary History Project for Youth program at the Scribe Video Center in Philadelphia. On November 15, her documentary was showcased at a final screening in the city at the University of the Arts. Chelsea (pictured second from the left) was one of twelve students that was accepted into the hands-on digital media production workshop. The program offers high school seniors the opportunity to create short documentary films to learn about the process of studying and presenting history, the skills of archive research, conducting field interviews, data collection and analysis, constructing narratives, and fact checking.
The subject of the 2015 Documentary History Project for Youth was “Policed,” an examination of the relationship between young people and the police. Framed with this theme and tasked with the responsibility to explore some aspect of the social, political, and cultural history of Philadelphia, Chelsea and her team focused on fashion.
“The Policed theme allowed us to focus on how law enforcement influences choices and social rules,” said Chelsea. “So the group decided with our film to explore how fashion has been influenced over the years by society and the media, similar to the idea of a fashion police, and our main focus was on women’s fashion. The message of the documentary was for people to wear whatever they like, rather than appeal to standards of society. People should dress for themselves.”
Chelsea applied to the program during her junior year because she is interested in studying media in college and, entering senior year, wanted to explore her creative side.
“I learned so much…documentary methods, observing versus interviewing, cameras and equipment, types of shots, audio, lighting, storytelling, and selection of footage because we were making a 10-15 minute long documentary,” said Chelsea. “Sometimes telling a story using visuals and sounds or using B-roll is a stronger way to convey a message to people.”
Participating in the program was a commitment, as Chelsea worked at the Scribe Video Center for five hours per week during the school year and ten hours per week in the summer, but, looking back at her experience, Chelsea was proud of the skills she gained.
“I developed my communication and project management skills while working with a team,” said Chelsea. “I also had not really interviewed anyone before, so contacting strangers for interviews and learning how to ask the right questions was fun!”