Reel Talent Productions takes on Health & Fitness Issues

First Lady Michelle Obama made it clear:

“The physical and emotional health of an entire generation and the economic health and security of our nation is at stake.”

With a mission of solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation, Michelle Obama launched Let’s Move!, a nationwide initiative to put children on a path to a healthy future. 

One of the 4 pillars of the campaign is in Increasing Physical Activity, because our young people now live in a world where it’s easy to be sedentary, and inconvenient to be active. In a report to President Obama, adolescents spend more than 7 hours/day watching television, DVDs, movies, or using a computer/cell phone/MP3 Player. 56% of boys and 74% of girls are not getting sufficient exercise.

That’s why I’m excited to announce that three Reel Talent Productions teens will spend 8 weeks on a summer filmmaking internship producing short documentary to examine what the situation is like within their community. How’d things get this way? And more importantly, what can we do together to reverse it?

The finished piece will be used to inspire, inform, and fuel discussions about these pertinent issues, adding a small (but mighty!) puzzle piece to the larger picture that is Let’s Move!

My co-leader Jon and I are in the midst of conducting interviews with applicants this week. With only 3 spots available, making the final decision will be tough. Results will be announced next week.

Keep your eyes peeled for updates on the kids’ journey here. Ask them questions, send them encouragement and suggest ideas for improvement! Let’s do this together.

Featured – Cabrini Connections Volunteer Spotlight

Cabrini Connections, where I spend my Monday evenings teaching teens about the magic of filmmaking as one of the volunteer club leaders of Reel Talent Productions (the video & filmmakers club there), has put me in the spotlight! You can check out the post here.

Thanks to Bradley Troast for writing the article.

It’s nice that they do this to recognize the hard work that their volunteers put in, but honestly, it’s the staff who truly deserve more recognition. Brad, El, Karina, Daniel and Mike (and formerly Nicole) are the friendly folks I get to work with at Cabrini who’re always more than willing to provide any assistance I need with running the program for the kids. Having to coordinate over 150 volunteers and students each week is definitely no easy feat. But having seen the change and impact this program is truly making on the kids’ lives, I can understand why each one of them remains so committed to their jobs.

Thank you, Cabrini Connections. The kids are really lucky to have a place like this.

Reel Talent Productions – Summer ’10

My Cabrini Kids have officially completed their summer session with us! It was a gruelling 8 weeks, with 3.5 hour sessions packed with lotsa learning activities and they’ve made it through! We had a point system going throughout, with the kids earning frames for good attendance, participation and performance, and the top 2 scorers were rewarded with an all expenses paid trip to watch the Chicago Bears live at Soldier Field! Much thanks to Cabrini Connections for sponsoring the tix. Read more about our amazing experience here.

And to really end the session with a big bang, we went on a field trip to the WGN studios in Chicago! 3 hours of touring the facility, meeting many professionals in their various departments, plus some very inspiring words from their staff members our kids to work hard towards their goals! Now it’s not everyday you get to take a picture sitting at the actual news desk u’re used to seeing on your morning news! Thank you WGN for your hospitality and willingness to teach. It was fascinating to see the inner-workings of our local news station.

So remember i mentioned that we worked on creating 2 music videos this summer? They’re now officially online! Enjoy these pieces, entirely chosen, conceptualized, shot and edited by the teenage members of Reel Talent Productions!

Many thanks to my fellow club leaders Jane Wang and Drew Hall for all the help and guidance… you’ve played a huge part in helping to make this summer session such an awesome one. Thanks also to the staff of Cabrini Connections, especially Brad and El for rendering all the help you could give to help us out!

Sign up for Shuling’s free newsletter!

Subscribe in a reader

Bookmark and Share

Busy Little Bee.

I realize it’s been almost a month since my last update! Been taking on lots of exciting projects lately! Apart from the managing-my-life aspect (work visa to stay in the US longer, mourning Germany’s loss at the World Cup), here’re some updates on what’s been keeping me busy.

Kartemquin Films

Been pretty involved in the production of Maria Finitzo’s Invisible Seasons, a documentary that explores how change takes place in a democracy and the effects of Title IX on women’s athletics. Absolutely love going on shoots with the team doing 2nd camera, still photography, and filming behind-the-scenes footage. It’s always a blast when you put Maria, DP Peter Gilbert and Sound Recordist John Mathie together in one car. :) We’ve had opportunities to be a part of events like the Chicago Sky Opening Night at the Allstate Arena, the farewell banquet for the Kelly High School Women’s Soccer Team, and just learn so much through interviews with some really amazing people! Look out for the new demo that Editor Leslie Simmer’s been hard at work on, coming out mid August!

I’ve also had the pleasure of working the talented folks at Modea on the Invisible Seasons website. The initial draft concept they’ve sent me looks beautiful! It’s going to be such a fun and interactive website, I cannot wait for its official launch. :D

Innovations For Learning

I’m deep in post-production for the videos showcasing the company’s wonderful Online Tutoring program that brings together working professionals in the corporate world with 1st graders who need help with learning to read. They truly make it easy for the tutor because it only takes 30 minutes a week and he/she doesn’t even need to leave the office! All you really need is a phone line and an internet connection. Neat huh? I hope to be able to showcase all that through compelling stories told by our interviewees at the elementary schools and corporations we’ve visited. It’s so much fun exploring the various institutions and learning about what they do. It also gives me a great peek into the world of elementary education here in the US, since I didn’t grow up here. Plus it’s always heartwarming to be surrounded by 6 year-olds. :) Many thanks to my friends/DPs Karl, Alex, Trevor & Josh for coming on these journeys with me.

Studio BE

I got a random phonecall from Karl one day asking if I’d wanted to teach theater kids about film for a week-long summer program. Having no experience in the world of theater, I thought this would be a good chance to learn a little about it, while sharing what I know with a group of very expressive kids. Working with Aaron Shapiro and Tamara Drew at Studio BE was a ton of fun. We came up with a weeklong plan that would enable the kids to plan and shoot their very own promo video for their upcoming musical, RagTime!


Reel Talent Productions

That’s what my Cabrini Connections Film Club kids have decided to name our production company. We’re currently in the midst of an 8-week long summer course where they’ll learn filmmaking techniques through producing their very own music videos! The kids chose, right from day one, that they’d be working on music videos for Lil Mama’s Lip Gloss, and the opening theme song for the anime Air Gear. Two very different pieces, with very different feels.

Just earlier this week, the kids had 3.5 hours to shoot everything they needed. While one group had scenes with dancers, make-up and lots of attitude, the other group had shots of an intense card game, reminding me of casino scenes from James Bond. Over the next 4 weeks, we’ll be hard at work on editing, finishing and summing up with our big screening party. Whee!

Manchester United Soccer School & 1World Sports

The Manchester United Soccer School started off their US tour in Chicago, where kids from all over had to compete for the opportunity to spend a day with coaches from one of the world’s best soccer teams around. How exciting it was for Jane, Jenny and I to be there to capture all the action on video at UIC. :)

1World Sports knows that’s a lot of life lessons that can be taught through sports, so they designed the “Responsibilities of an Athlete” program to teach kids about them. Mixed that with running around under the sun doing soccer drills with the Man U coaches, and the kids went home with smiles on their faces (and plenty of cool Man U merchandise!).

Sign up for Shuling’s free newsletter!

Subscribe in a reader

Bookmark and Share