By Any Media Necessary: Mapping Youth and Participatory Politics

"Not Your Momma's Sex Ed" using Radical Youth Media to Tell Your Story

Created by: Tani Ikeda of ImMEDIAte Justice

Total Time: 2 Hours

What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open. –Muriel Rukeyser

Workshop Description

This workshop is designed to help youth identify the main sources of media and think about being resourceful storytellers. It helps youth envision ways to redefine media in order to take back the power and create by any means necessary. Objectives:+Define MEDIA and the different sources of media+Discuss the unequal power dynamic between creators and consumers of media and what the impact on youth is.+Watch IMJ “Not Your Mama’s Sex Ed” Video+Define what RADICAL YOUTH MEDIA is and brainstorm a list of some nontraditional ways of thinking about media.+Create a short film out of everything that is available to you. Materials & Media:+Camera & Tripod+Markers and pens+Butcher Paper +Projector, screen, and speakers+DVD of “Not Your Mama’s Sex Ed” Film

You can download a PDF of the workshop description here.

Facilitator Notes:This is a good beginning workshop for participants. It helps young people define media and also empower them to think of themselves as daily creators of media. Playground Rules: Talking about sex openly with your peers can be a very scary thing. Will they think your questions are stupid or your desires are gross? What if you are way more experienced or not as experienced sexually as your peers? These can be difficult conversations to start so we want to give everyone some ground rules so that the conversations and the creative filmmaking processes can feel safe, fun, and empowering. We intend to have a lot of fun and give everyone the freedom to play, create, and reimagine a world full of possibility, but in order to do that we have to establish some playground rules to keep the space safe and have shared strategies for working in an open and collaborative way.
1. One Diva One Mic: One person speaks at a time. If we start talking over one another it becomes very hard to have an open conversation where everyone feels heard and respected. It can get exciting when the ideas are flowing and we want to blurt out our thoughts, but try to be respectful. If your peers begin speaking over each other you can shout out “One Diva One Mic!” to remind everyone to take turns in the conversation. 2. Step Up Step Back: Some of us are quieter than our friends and some of us often find that we lead conversations.

2. Step Up Step Back challenges those who are quieter to Step Up and take a more leadership role in the conversation and those who typically take charge to Step Back and practice active listening in the conversation and support their peers.
3. Don’t Yuck my Yum: When we talk about sex we also talk about desire. Some of us may desire things that may seem different than our peers, but all desires are valid. Don’t Yuck my Yum means that this is a safe space for all desires to be discussed openly without the fear of someone judging you and telling you that what you like is gross. Let’s foster and environment where we affirm each others desires because it can be a very scary first step in knowing what we like and what we want.

4. Break it Down: When folks use academic language or words that you don’t understand, tell them to break it down (like MC Hammer). It is there responsibility to explain what they mean so that everyone can understand the words they are using in the conversation. Variations of this playground rule are to play MC Hammer’s song hammer whenever someone says a word someone doesn’t understand and that person has to dance and explain the word at the same time. It can get pretty goofy.
5. Center the Marginalized: Often times, the stories in history that get recorded are the stories told by the hunters and not the hunted. They typically center the stories of heteronormative, cisgendered, white men. At imMEDIAte Justice we want to know all the undertold stories of history and so a part of our politics is to center rather than marginalized stories of people who have been traditionally invisible in history. We center queerness, youth, women of color, indigenous people, differently abled, poor, etc. Think about who isn’t being heard in the conversation? Who isn’t present or able to participate and let their voice be heard in the conversation? Name the invisible and marginalized in your own group and make a commitment to center those experiences. 6. Safe Space: a safe space is an environment where people feel comfortable and respected, and are able to dialogue, debate, and work constructively together. What would make this a safe space for you to share, be open and creative with your peers? Define your own playground rules that will make the workshop feel safe to you. The Workshop!

Ice Breaker (15 minutes)

Let’s start by taking the emotional and creative pulse of the group today! Take out your camera phone and take a picture of something that represents how you are feeling right now. Everyone goes around the classroom and introduces their name, their preferred gender pronoun, what they took a picture of and why. Check in about any observations youth had about what people shared and what kinds of pictures were taken. Now relate the exercise to mass media. Isn’t it amazing that in the exact same place and same time each one of us could be experiencing something very different? What gets counted by dominant culture as media? Which stories and storytellers get promoted to speak for everyone?
Facilitator Notes: This ice breaker is designed to get youth thinking creatively about how to express themselves with the resources they have at their disposal. The ice breaker also gives the facilitator a sense of the energy level of the group and how open everyone is to sharing.

Personal Narrative: The Personal is Political (5 minutes)

Whose stories get told and whose get left out? What would happen if you told the truth about your life? How would that start to shift the landscape and the inherent power dynamic? I want to encourage all of you to think about the truth about your own lives what are you afraid to say? Share a secret truth about your own life as the facilitator. Using your own personal story move from a place of fear of telling your story to the transformational impact that story can have on yourself and others. Talk about the work of imMEDIAte Justice, an organization that teaches young women filmmaking and comprehensive sex ed. Introduce the film “Not Your Mama’s Sex Ed” as the truths some young women from south central LA felt was important to share about their sex ed experiences.
Facilitator Notes: This section of the workshop is most effective if you really open up and divulge your own secrets and vulnerabilities to the group. It sets the tone for the rest of the workshop and will inspire braver storytelling and healing.

ImMEDIAte Justice Film Not Your Mama’s Sex Ed (10min)

Writing Exercise (10 min)

Ask youth to take out a pen and paper. Have them write down the writing prompt at the top of the page and spend the next 10 minutes freewriting. Prompt: What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? This is an opportunity for the youth to think about their own truths now that they have heard your story and the story of other young people. What truths do they have to share?
Facilitator Notes: Remember to tell the youth even if they can’t think of anything the most important thing is to keep their pens moving and write whatever comes to mind. They can write a poem, a story, a personal monologue, a song. Whatever comes to mind. The writing from this exercise will be the raw material we will use later in the filmmaking workshop. Some of the students may feel nervous about sharing their stories with the group so we will come back to their writing later on.

What is MEDIA? (5 min)

Draw a frame and ask youth to name some different sources of media. write their answers inside of the box and give candy to anyone who volunteers to share an idea.

What is Radical Youth Media? (5 min)

Outside of the box write youth ideas of the ways they create media every day. Compare and contrast these two forums of media. First, discuss the themes youth notice between all the media inside of the box. Ask youth what gets counted by dominant culture as media. Some examples are that mainstream media is technology-centered, profit-based, and privileged, based on the “professional” opinions of experts, universities, and government. Now, look at the brainstormed words outside of the box and generate observations of what radical youth media creates. Some possible examples are that radical youth media Inspires awareness and critical thinking, is accessible, uses our language, transforms every day living, shares strategies for survival and builds power. imMEDIAte Justice means telling your story by any means necessary. If you have a camera you can use that. If you don’t have a camera you have a pen and pad to write it through poetry. If you don’t have that you have a body to create shapes and express that vision and story. If you don’t have that you can shout it. At imMEDIAte Justice we try to provide an arsenal of tools to speak your truth and tell your personal story.
Facilitator Notes: Defining radical youth media helps set the stage for the type of filmmaking youth will be creating in this workshop. It is important for youth to observe the many different forms of media that are constantly creating. Even more abstract and unconventional forms of media such as Hairstyles, tattoos, shoes, and body language are all different types of media.

Share writing exercise (15 minutes)

Go around the classroom and invite youth to share their writing. Incentivize sharing with the reward of candy. If it is a large classroom break up into smaller groups so everyone has a chance to share.
Facilitator Notes: See which stories really resonate with the group as a whole and honor every person for their bravery to share.

Pick one story and get the class to film the idea (45 minutes)

Ask the youth if there is someone who would let the group translate their writing into a film. Once the writer has been selected as the writing to come up to the front of the class and articulate how they imagined we could visually tell the story together in a single take. At this point in time, encourage the whole group to share ideas to help the writer see their story come alive on screen. Once some compelling ideas have been generated, choose a volunteer to be the cinematographer and operate the camera. Help them mount the camera on the tripod and set up the shot. Now ask for two volunteers to be in charge of operating the zoom H4N to record sound and the boom mic. Tell the boom operator to imagine the microphone is a flashlight and they are trying to shine the tip of the mic directly into the mouth of the speaker without entering the frame of the camera. Next, ask for a volunteer to be the 2nd AC (assistant camera) and operate the slate. They will be instructed to stand in front of the camera and say, “One apple take one marker” before slating to indicate which take we are on and help us sync the sound to picture in post production. Finally, our director will be in charge of saying the following, “All quiet on set! Sound! (Sound will start rolling and shout “Speed!” once they are rolling) Camera! (Camera will start recording and yell “rolling!” once they are recording) Slate! (Slate will run in front of the camera and yell “One Apple Take One Marker!” before slating and clearing the frame. Then the director will say “Action” and the scene will begin until the director yells, “Cut!” once the scene is done. After each take the group will preview the action and make suggestions for how to improve the next take. Ask youth to isolate each component of the film. How could the reading of the script be strengthened? Was the sound clear? What would help sound? Perhaps waiting for a loud car to go by before shooting or making sure that the air conditioner is turned off before recording. What would make the visuals of the film stronger? Should we try shooting wider with less camera movement this time? Perhaps we will need to double check to make sure the subject is in focus. Lastly, how was the action? What could the actors do differently on screen to make the film stronger?
After completing and reviewing a clean take that all departments (camera, sound, actors) are happy with give the group a round of applause and return to the circle.
Facilitator Notes: It is important to validate all creative choices, but gently guide the project to find clear and simple solutions. An example would be if the cinematographer has been moving the camera from left to right because the subject moves a little bit and falls out of frame tell the group that this participant has flagged a really important camera issue. Ask the group if there are other solutions to keep the subject in frame besides moving the camera back and forth. Another student may suggest moving the camera back so the entire subject will remain in frame without camera movement. Encourage the group to experiment by trying this new approach.

Closing (10 min)

Ask students to utilize social media for the closing and sum up what you learned in the workshop today in a 140 character tweet @taniappleseed. The tweets will show up on the newsfeed projected on the screen as we circle and willing participants can read their tweets to the group. Once in a circle, the group will repeat this closing and chant it until it gets louder and louder: It is our duty to fight for our freedom.It is our duty to win.We must love and protect one another.We have nothing to lose but our chains. End in the unity clap with all participants clapping together and getting faster and faster until everyone is cheering loudly at the end before one last collective clap wraps up the workshop.
Facilitator Notes: If youth have longer comments they want to share in the group, give extra time for everyone to share a new experience they had or acknowledge someone’s brilliance in the group from the workshop. Let youth know that you will be posting their video later that day and will send them the link.

About Tani Ikeda

Tani has been training youth in media literacy and film production for the last five years, ever since she co-founded imMEDIAte Justice at the age of 21
to revolutionize sex education through filmmaking. She is an award-winning director who creates narratives, documentaries, music videos, and commercial films. In 2010 she was selected as one of Film Independent’s 33 Emerging Filmmakers as a Project: Involve Directors Fellow. In 2009, Tani was named one of the “25 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World,” by the Utne Reader. Tani tours the country speaking at universities and national conferences and has launched film production programs on the Quinault Reservation in Wash- ington State, a media justice camp for girls in Kampala, Uganda, and a high school in Beijing, China. Tani holds a Bachelors Degree in Film Production from the University of Southern California and currently resides in Los Angeles.

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