Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Youth Culture Notes

Some things take entirely too long.

Every month i put together a few excerpts from articles on the internet that i think would be educational for our youth ministry's adult leaders. Whether due to the difficulty of the task or just my perfectionism, the time it took to compile the last one seemed to far exceeded the good that will be done by them reading it. So, since i can't go back and invest less time in it, i figure the only thing to do is make it available for more people so maybe it will do more good and come closer to justifying the time spent. So i'm posting it here for your enjoyment and (hopefully) education:

Youth Culture notes – 11/4/07

Maine middle school to offer birth control - updated 10:27 a.m. EDT, Thu October 18, 2007

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) -- After an outbreak of pregnancies among middle school girls, education officials in this city have decided to allow a school health center to make birth control pills available to girls as young as 11.

King Middle School will become the first middle school in Maine to make a full range of contraception available, including birth control pills and patches. Condoms have been available at King's health center since 2000.

Students need parental permission to access the school's health center. But treatment is confidential under state law, which allows the students to decide whether to inform their parents about the services they receive.

There are no national figures on how many middle schools provide such services. Most middle schoolers range in age from 11 to 13.

"It's very rare that middle schools do this," said Divya Mohan, a spokeswoman for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care. [. . . .]

Supporters said a small number of students at King are sexually active, but they need better access to birth control.

"This isn't encouraging kids to have sex. This is about the kids who are engaging in sexually activity," Richard Veilleux said.

Excerpts from http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/10/18/middleschool.contraception.ap/index.html

The Teen Film Revolution

by Troy Lanier and Clay Nichols

[The producer] leans over the director’s shoulder “Two more takes. Period.” The director rolls her eyes and walks over to the lead actor. He’s well-known with the crew for his stage work, but in this scene his gestures are about to knock the camera over. The DP takes the bounce board out of a grip’s hands and puts the light where he wants it: “Right here, okay?” The grip looks sheepish, stepping back in to take the board.

It’s a pretty typical set for an independent short. Except that none of the players here are over the age of 18.

Not that teens making movies is big news. Lately, however, they’ve been growing more ambitious. They don’t just want to make a funny home movie. They want to make a real movie.

Festivals, summer camps, schools and non- and for-profit organizations promising to support the work of teen moviemakers have mushroomed. Moviemaking is finding its way into high schools, too. While it hasn’t replaced the school play just yet, some programs put up a good fight.

Kids used to save up to buy a car. Today, at least one kid on the block saves up to help his parents with the camera. Many parents will plunk down the change themselves, assuming that moviemaking has to be more constructive than, well, almost anything else teens do. Maybe it will even get them into college. Austin senior Carleton Ranney, labeled a “Moviemaker to Watch” by the movie-savvy Austin Chronicle, won the gamble. He will be attending the School of Visual Arts in New York City and majoring in film.

Many festival directors have observed that the top tier student films are improving, too. Although most kids can’t afford a boom pole or shotgun mic, they are paying close attention to sound and light, taking their cameras off auto mode.

Many adults fret that reading is on the decline while media consumption is up. Perhaps there is some consolation in the increasing levels of media literacy expressed by these young moviemakers. They are experimenting with a new digitized visual language and are finding their own voices. They may be just a bunch of kids fooling around—or they may just be revolutionizing the industry. MM

Excerpts from http://www.moviemaker.com/articles/item/the_teen_film_revolution_2901/

A Consumer’s Spot for Apple Grows Up - October 31, 2007


THE idea that you do not have to be a professional to create a good commercial is becoming widespread, in a trend known as consumer-generated content. Leave it to Apple to — paraphrasing the company’s old slogan a bit — think differently.

A television commercial for the new iPod Touch from Apple, which began running on Sunday, was created by the longtime Apple agency TBWA/Chiat/Day. But it is based on a commercial that an 18-year-old student in Britain — an Apple devotee named Nick Haley, who says he got his first Macintosh when he was 3 — created on his own one day last month.

Late last week, Mr. Haley’s spot had been viewed 2,131 times on youtube.com. Among the viewers, Apple executives said, were marketing employees at Apple in Cupertino, Calif., who asked staff members on the Apple account at TBWA/Chiat/Day to get in touch with Mr. Haley about producing a professional version of the commercial (which, truth be told, had the same look and feel as many of Apple’s other ads).

He traveled to Los Angeles in October, in his first visit to the United States, to work on a broadcast-ready version of his spot with creative executives at TBWA/Chiat/Day.

Consumers creating commercials “is part of this brave new world we live in,” said Lee Clow, chairman and chief creative officer at TBWA Worldwide.

“It’s an exciting new format for brands to communicate with their audiences,” Mr. Clow said. “People’s relationship with a brand is becoming a dialogue, not a monologue.”

Excerpts from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/31/business/media/31adco.html?ex=1351483200&en=8c1de0ef6596aafe&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

Joy's Summary of “User-generated content”

OK, I couldn't find a satisfactory explanation of this on the web to quote, but basically “UGC” is anything that the consumer produces that helps sell the product. This ranges from customers making commercials, to people designing their own Myspace page (which Myspace makes money off of by placing ads), to people uploading their own videos of products on those products' webpages, to portions of a site's content being submitted by users (ie Amazon book reviews & tags). It's apparently a huge buzzword in marketing and is being used by all sorts of product brands, websites, and TV channels.

It's not exclusively used when targeting teens, but when it is, the idea is that young people will be more likely to watch content created by other young people, and that the excitement of having their own content displayed will encourage brand loyalty as well as word-of-mouth advertising.

P.S. after i wrote this i saw Tim Schmoyer's blog post with his notes from a lecture by Walt Mueller about the way teens are marketed to, it contains some revealing information about why brand loyalty is so important for companies to establish - you can check it out here.

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