MEDIA

Writing

Words shape culture.

Why write? In our digital age filled with video and picture, many wonder: why learn to write well? Everyone just looks at pictures and ignores the words these days, right?

The truth is that words will never leave us or our culture. To understand any visual image we look at, we describe it and discuss it and think about using words. Without words, we can’t think, reason, discuss, learn, teach, or communicate.

Words communicate ideas and ideas shape culture and society. If words form ideas, which mold cultures, then words-makers are inevitably culture-shapers.

As believers in a God who is sovereign over all cultures and societies and nations, we should be the most culture-shaping, world-changing people. Therefore, we as believers must have the most excellent, most powerful, most inspiring handle of words.

As Christians, we have not only heard but have lived out the most hopeful story and the best news in the world, the Gospel. Therefore, our stories, our news, our articles, our blog posts, our Instagram captions, should reflect this gospel story of hope, joy, peace and love.

Our desire for students at the Ambassador Mission School is to develop writers who know how to write with a strong voice, persuasive words, creative ideas, and excellent technique. Certainly not all of our students will go on to be professional, full-time journalists or novelists or editors. That is not what we are seeking to produce. What we do want to produce are kingdom-building, culture-shaping, world-changing believers who are able to communicate with excellence and write in such a way as to point others to the Gospel message.

The writing portion of the curriculum will thus teach students basic skills and give practical experience in multiple forms of written communication, so that they will be prepared to tell their story, God’s story, and the stories of the nations to a world waiting for a good ending.

WRITING CURRICULUM

Journalism

In this unit we will learn how to write concise, informed articles and reports that would appear in a newspaper. Learn how to choose and find stories and topics, people to interview, and quality sources for research. Students will also learn how to write a news piece using the inverted pyramid method, creating enticing leads, and giving all the relevant information to the story. In addition, students will learn how to edit and proofread your news articles.

 

Feature Writing

Feature articles are typically published in magazines and journals and allow for more creativity and freedom than news reports. Learn how to write memorable stories that differ from hard news but still present informed research through carefully crafted words. Students will learn to create a voice when writing and how to produce stories that tell truth and inspire action. In this section, students will learn how to write personality profiles, human-interest stories, and backgrounders.

 

Creative Writing

Students will learn how to write short, fictional stories. They will learn point of view, how to generate story ideas, how to write dialogue and setting, create complex characters, and keeping all of the elements of plot. Students will come away with two short stories from this section.

 

Nonfiction

Students will learn how to “write what they know.” Nonfiction writing will teach students how to tell the stories of their life and the lives of those around them through words. Nonfiction is also known as memoir writing. Students will learn to transform real people into characters in a story. Students will learn how to find their voice and tone in writing to communicate their heart, opinions, and thoughts in effective, inspiring ways.

 

Social Media / Business Communications

Students will learn the basics of using social media, the philosophy and audience behind each platform, and how to use each effectively. They will also learn and research tips of the trade such as best times to post, tools for posting, and how to schedule and create posts. Each student will start a blog that they will update throughout the year. Students will also learn how to write and design newsletters, which they will practically use to keep supporters and family members up to date while at the school.

Photography

Digital Photography

The art, science, application and practice of creating images by capturing reflected light by means of an image sensor.

All of us at some time in our life have taken a photograph. In fact, in this digital day and age, users of Instagram alone share over 95 million photos and videos per day. We photograph who or what we love. We capture memories and freeze moments in time that are special to us. We take pictures to share with friends of where we are or what we are doing, what we are eating. But somewhere along the way we have lost the art and have forgotten the science of photography. Today, we buy a “fancy” camera, set it on automatic, and start a photography business selling the amazing photos that the CAMERA took.

Photography is the coming together of art and science and a lot of practice to create a picture that speaks to who the photographers is, as a person. We speak of viewing the world through the eyes of a photographer, but in truth each photographer, because of his past experiences, convictions, desires, passions, skill and a myriad other things that shape who we are, sees the world differently and thus takes a picture differently to anyone else.

The photographs we take should be is a reflection of who we are. Every camera setting that you make, your choice of light, composition, which objects to include and which to leave out, where the focal point is, the depth of field, exposure and the many other decisions that go into taking a great picture, results in a piece of art that is a reflection of who we are.

The problem today, is that most people have instant access to a camera all the time but has no understanding of the art and the science behind taking a great picture. We let the camera make most of the decisions for us and we put no thought into it. This course is designed to bridge that gap, to give you a good understanding of the art and science behind photography, to teach you to see the world differently, to visualize a picture and then have the technical knowhow to create it. Through a lot of practical application and practice this will give you a skill that you will use for the rest of your life.

Some of the topics we will discuss and practice in Photography

  • The eye of a photographer.
  • Basic parts of a camera and how it all works.
  • Understanding digital photography.
  • Getting familiar with your camera functions and settings
  • The function of different lenses in relation to lens speed, aperture and focal length
  • The function of filters and why we use them
  • Elements in visual art,
  • Understanding Exposure
  • Understanding Composition
  • Understanding Depth Of Field (the relationship between ISO | F-Stop | Shutter and when to set each one)
  • Understand and harness light in photography (Natural and Available Light, Artificial continues light, Strobes, Light modifiers)
  • Portrait Photography
  • Landscape Photography
  • Travel Photography
  • Photojournalism (Storytelling with pictures and words)
  • Using a Mobile device as a camera.
  • Developing your eye as a photographer, design and make great photographs
  • Workflow and image editing

OUTCOME: Portfolio of pictures that display the various aspects of photography that you have learned.

Videography

We start with “WHY”

Filmmaking is becoming one of the most accepted forms of storytelling mediums today. With the advent of high speed internet and advances in video technology, we now have the basic tools for video storytelling right in our pocket, and with social media platforms and sites like Youtube, we are able to share our video stories faster and easier than ever before.

But as with photography (worse actually), the quality gap between the average online video post compared to a professional production is enormous. I am not just referring to the technical aspects of our films, although that adds to it. Our motives (why), concepts (what), and stories (who, when and where) leave much to be desire. This results in millions of hours of mindless entertainment. And we have to ask ourselves: Why, when there is so much, that we as Christians, needs to be shared with this world? As Christians we have amazing stories to tell.

This course (with the writing and photography courses that precede it) is designed to empower you with the basic technical knowledge and skill, give you a good understanding of the art behind using video as a documentary storytelling tool, and to create videos that will move your audience. We will focus on how to tell great stories of what God is doing in our lives, as well as the lives of other believers from around the world.

Some of the topics we will discuss and have hands-on experience in Film.

  • Differences between photography and videography,
  • An overview of the filmmaking process:- from concept to shoot
  • The Crew (Attributes of CREW members)
  • The importance of Location
  • Script writing,
  • Understanding shot lists,
  • Image control and camera work,
  • Understanding the different video settings (resolution, frame rates, etc),
  • working with various video supports,
  • Deeper understanding of light (Types of lights | Temperature of light | 1, 2 & 3 Light setups | helpers and modifiers | Working with natural light | mood lighting | How to light an interview),
  • Capturing sound for broadcast (types of mics | recorders | best practices | how to mic a 1 or 2 person interview),
  • Composition and coverage.
  • Conducting and shooting an interview
  • Post-production workflow,
  • Editing a story, Editing a multi-camera event,
  • Basics of music and sound,
  • Visual story telling,
  • Ethics in media (Model & Location Release, Music Rights),
  • Traveling with and protecting your gear.

RESULT: At least 1 interview shot, practice in every discipline of the CREW. Learn to tell a story though the art of Film. Be a part of creating a number of small documentaries in the field.