Introducing Mac Graham!

I only taught one period today and I’m exhausted. I had two wonderful teachers sit in on two of my classes today and then we debriefed in period four. That was fascinating and exhausting all at the same time. I ALSO had a guest speaker today in my media class: Juno nominated singer/songwriter, Mark McAuley of the McAuley Boys, who now performs as a solo artist under the name Mac Graham.


I met Mark during a play that we were both in this past November. At the time I only knew him as Mac because that’s how he was credited in the show and I joined the cast late (cut out unnecessary details, Ms. Barker!)… anyway,  the McAuley Boys were nominated for a Juno award and opened the 1997 Junos, singing in front of David Foster and Celine Dion (among others). I was really impressed by Mark’s songwriting as well as his video for “You’ll Never Know” which you can see below:

I know, right?

I had already planned on using music videos to introduce the concept of storyboarding and camera shots, and then I thought that it would be so much more meaningful if I could get someone in the business to come in and talk to my students, and of course I thought of Mark, but I never thought he’d be so generous as to drive all the way out to St.Thomas to talk to my students in person!

Imagine how much fun I had last Friday showing “You’ll Never Know” and then saying, “Okay, now, you see that guy in the video? He’s coming to our class next Thursday so you’re going to need to come up with some questions for him.”

Boy, did they ever deliver. My students developed some great questions:

  • How do you feel about autotune and its effect on the music industry?
  • How long does it take to create a music video from start to finish?
  • How much creative control do you have over the music video process?
  • Did you use green screen effects in your video?
  • Did you create a storyboard before shooting the video?

Mark also talked about the “treatments” that are prepared for each video where the artist plans out the concept for the video. He brought examples of drafts of treatments from the first draft to the final product. Now I have exemplars for students to use to create their own video treatments!

AND we got to see some of the early McAuley Boys videos and compare them to the later ones when they were signed with the Aquarius label. Mark shared with students the perks of being signed to a major label and the benefits of being an independent artist.

I can’t believe how much the students learned from Mark’s visit. I hadn’t planned on spending that much time on music videos but now I realize how many different expectations I can cover with a topic that the students are really interested in. I definitely have Mark to thank for that!

Hamlet Xtranormal

I heard about this site that lets you create movies simply by typing.

It’s pretty simple and I think the results speak for themselves. I can think of a lot of educational applications, particulary for the media literacy strand of English. What do you think?
I couldn’t resist. Here’s Hamlet’s To Be or Not To Be soliloquy.

Incredibly Moving

I’m not really sure how this ties into what I usually blog about (if you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them) but I just had to share it.

This is a clip from Britain’s Got Talent. When the contestant got up to perform, there were clearly low expectations on the part of the judges. People clearly expected one of those embarrassing William Hung types of performances, but what they got was anything but.

I’d love to know how you think you could use this video in the classroom.

Click here to read Vicki Davis’s post on this topic

And today, I got a response from Shannon (who I follow on Twitter) that came out of a discussion about fresh takes on Hamlet. What do you think about this?