3 Ways to Promote Health Through Filmmaking

Posted on December 14, 2011


Students learn about health through filmmaking.

Plenty has been said about the negative effects of “screentime,” the amount of time babies, kids and teens spend in front of the TV, computers, phones and tablets, whether it’s for homework or entertainment. In fact, a 2010 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that heavy media users reported lower grades.

But at our conference in October, Scenarios USA showed us how moving teens from in front of the screen to behind the camera can be a good thing. Here, Catherine Hawks, Marketing Coordinator at Scenarios USA, shares three ways filmmaking can help your students and their school.

  1. Spur higher-level thinking and self-awareness. Have the students in your classroom discuss and then perform a spoken word piece, outlining a possible ending after viewing an open-ended REAL DEAL film. This class activity presents an alternate entry point for discussing adolescent health and sexuality—one that starts with the young person’s own perspective. This new lens helps youth build critical thinking skills necessary to making informed decisions affecting their health. Refer to REAL DEAL lesson plan.
  2. Promote school connectedness and civic engagement. Screen a REAL DEAL film at a school assembly then facilitate a Q + A session using questions from a REAL DEAL lesson plan to encourage students to have an open and honest conversation about health issues that impact their lives.
  3. Amplify authentic youth voices and help young people discover their talents and strengths. Conduct a filmmaking workshop using Scenarios USA’s REAL DEAL behind-the-scenes footage and the “Making Movies” document from our Education Center resources. Explain the film-making process and have students practice creative writing, mock interviews to major media outlets, and public speaking. Some may decide to launch their own blogs. This type of skill building helps youth develop the capacity to access a world of opportunities—one where they can analyze their experiences to overcome challenges and change the trajectory of their futures.

Scenarios USA’s REAL DEAL films are written by young people for young people. They are Hollywood-quality films and unique educational tools. REAL DEAL film topics include: HIV/AIDS, Parenting, Pregnancy Prevention, STDs and Testing, Masculinity, Anti-LGBTQ Bullying, Substance Abuse, Gender-based Violence and Higher Education. All 22 Scenarios USA REAL DEAL films include a lesson plan, a behind-the-scenes documentary and the shooting script in PDF. See the Films