Video Curriculum Overview

BAVC's YouthLink Curriculum is designed to introduce the tools of media production and analysis through creative and socially relevant visual storytelling. Through the creation of two video stories, students complete every phase of filmmaking: storyboarding, directing, shooting, and editing on Final Cut Pro. Our goal is to nurture the talents, skills, and development of young people, and we respect the experience and perspective that each young person brings to the program.

Class Levels and Projects

All students start the program in the Beginning Level class, in which we teach the basic skills of storytelling, production, and post-production using project-based learning. Students learn how to work together as a crew, how to look at films critically, and how to give and receive feedback. Students work on Personal Narrative pieces in the Beginning Level, which are stories based on a topic that has personal meaning to them. Each young person determines the content and form of their stories. Students are encouraged to include themselves in the stories, while also finding their larger significance or universal message, as well as their relevance to an audience. Students work on individual projects to encourage ownership and to reinforce technical and storytelling skills.

All students then move to the Advanced Level class, in which we reinforce their skills through the creation of collaborative Short Documentaries. In this stage of the class, we encourage students to broaden their perspectives to stories which have larger social relevance. As part of the process, they collaborate with experts and community members to explore stories with political and social significance. Students work collaboratively on these projects, which helps to teach teamwork, conflict resolution, and open communication. During the advanced class, students also receive more advanced training in Lighting, DVD Authoring, and distribution. They are expected to produce work with a higher production quality, to be more self-sufficient in their roles as producers, and to push their critical thinking about their own and others' media to the next level. Advanced Video is designed to prepare students for professional production through BAVC Youth Productions, and for possible participation in a year-long documentary program.

Using our project-based model, instructors teach the following skill sets:
Preproduction Skills and Concepts

  • Brainstorming and choosing a story idea
  • Planning a story using storyboarding, scripting, and shot lists
  • Creating a project timeline
  • Pitching a story concept

Media Analysis

  • Identifying the story, conflict, message, audience, and aesthetic (or stylistic) choices made by a filmmaker when watching media, and applying that analysis to one's own work

Story Development

  • Understanding the various ways to tell a story, including the three act structure of setup/conflict/resolution. Knowing that a story includes movement and points of conflict or tension
  • Identifying and using different video storytelling tools such as montage, narration, character, text, audio, imagery, and metaphor

Production Skills and Concepts

  • Identifying and using equipment necessary for a production shoot including camera, sound kit, tripod, and light kit

    Knowledge of care and maintenance of the equipment

  • Understanding the functions of the camera such as white balance, exposure, and focus
  • Understanding shot composition, camera angles, and camera movement
  • Understanding sound production and design and how to use sound kits and microphones
  • Understanding the roles during a production
  • Interviewing skills
  • Understanding the legal aspects of filmmaking such as subject releases and copyright issues

Post Production Skills and Concepts

  • Knowledge of basic Final Cut Pro tools and terms
  • Ability to navigate the Final Cut Pro interface
  • Knowledge of file and media management
  • Logging and capturing
  • Understanding and utilizing scratch discs
  • Basic editing technical and aesthetic skills
  • Utilizing key frame editing in Final Cut Pro
  • Using Final Cut Pro effects
  • Working with text in Final Cut Pro
  • Creating a sound design and sound mix
  • Creating and enhancing a soundtrack using Soundtrack Pro
  • Finishing a project using color correction

Teamwork, Communication, and Project Management

  • Ability to manage time to meet a project deadline
  • Ability to work with a team
  • Ability to give and receive feedback
  • Ability to talk about project and production process with class, instructor, and community members


College and Career Skills
Building a resume

  • Understanding graduation requirements, college options, and financial aid, and knowing where to go for SAT test preparation
  • Understanding career options in the media filed
  • Working in a media internship in a professional work environment

In addition to developing their technical expertise, students explore themes of individual style, creativity, and collaboration. Each project culminates in a portfolio review and a community screening.

YouthLink Principles

While class exercises and the order of instruction may vary from instructor to instructor, all YouthLink video classes are taught with these elements to build successful learning among students:

Creativity and community

Instructors and teaching assistants (YouthLink graduates) initiate the YouthLink class with team building activities, and incorporate class discussions, class exercises, check-ins, and events to build creative collaboration and community among students. Instructors and teaching assistants collaborate to create a rigorous, supportive, and creative environment that can meet a diversity of learning styles and interests.

Rigorous production environment

In addition to encouraging fun while learning, instructors and teaching assistants also have high expectations about creating technically proficient and meaningful content, meeting project deadlines, consistent attendance, and communicating with the class and instructors.

Student- generated content

YouthLink instructors encourage students to choose topics that have the most meaning for them personally. Writing and visual exercises emphasize that personal exploration is a means to dynamic media production that is most relevant to young people's lives and concerns.

Hands-on, self-initiated learning

Instructors include hands-on experimentation with each technical lesson, and structure time for hands-on exercises to reinforce technical and creative concepts.

Media watching and conversation

Instructors show different media pieces throughout the course as a way to inspire innovative storytelling, and to apply critical thinking to media consumption. Instructors show a of variety of video examples, choosing culturally relevant media that exhibit different styles, including but not limited to youth-produced works. Over the course of the program, students sharpen their critical thinking skills, developing more complex ways to analyze both their own and others' media.

Preparing young people for careers in Technology

In the interests of diversifying the workforce and giving our students the skills they will need to succeed in our society, we emphasize technological skills as an important part of our curriculum. In order to keep our students up to date with current models of technology, we teach our classes using professional video and editing equipment. Students learn several advanced post-production applications, and then spend time exploring and creating using those tools. Students apply these skills at their internships, using them to contribute to a  professional environment. Through constant exposure to and use of these various technologies, students become more comfortable with equipment and computers, and report feeling more confident using them.

Students who have completed our program can consider these careers:
  • independent filmmaker
  • television camera person
  • director of photography
  • freelance editor
  • producer
  • director
  • screenwriter
  • media teacher
  • film festival employee
  • media organization staffer

National Science Foundation

BAVC's Video Curriculum was developed with vital support from the National Science Foundation.