Dublin High School Video Production Program Thrives under Teacher Michael D’Ambrosio
Last fall, the Dublin High School Center for the Performing Arts and Education opened to much fanfare. And, it was well deserved. It is a state of art performance venue that can seat just over 500 patrons. It also includes a very sophisticated HVAC system, an advanced fly-rigging mechanism and countless other technological amenities.
What should not be lost is that the CPAE is part of an educational complex which also houses dressing rooms for the drama program, practice rooms for the band and choral program and a high end video production classroom. OneDublin.org recently had the opportunity to explore the Video Production program at Dublin High School. This new classroom offering resides in the steady hands of Michael D’Ambrosio. Michael is conducting his seventh year in education and this is his first year at DHS. Prior to this, he served as an Associate Producer at the sports media giant ESPN in Bristol, CT for four years. While this was a very satisfying and challenging opportunity, he somehow felt that he might ultimately share his wisdom with young people. And, he has now come full circle as an educator within DUSD. We will share his thoughts on the topic and the views from some of his students.
OneDublin.org: The opening of the entire Center for Performing Arts & Education complex has created many more opportunities for students at Dublin High. Specifically, what has the Video Production program provided to your students?
Michael D’Ambrosio: “The Video Production Program has allowed the students to learn about Visual Arts. The students get to work hands on with professional equipment that is used in the television and film industry. The students get the chance to learn about filming, editing, producing, directing, and stage production. The students are working with equipment that many television studios in our area don’t even have. The students are very excited about the program and where we are going.”
D’Ambrosio: “Working in television is very challenging. While working at ESPN there were people waiting to take your job. It’s a lot of hard work, but it is so beneficial to see your produced work. The journey is long, but if it’s what you truly want to do then you should follow your dream. There are deadlines that always have to be met and it can be lots of pressure. It truly is something that is so hard to explain unless you are in it. Our class does a decent job of simulating what it’s like in the television or film industry.”
OneDublin.org: After working in video production, what inspired you to then work with students?
D’Ambrosio: “I’ve always known I wanted to work with students, and one day I woke up at my job and I knew it was time to take my experience and give back to the students so they could have the experience to work in the industry. The students make the job so much fun, and I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
OneDublin.org: How do you see your program expanding in future years? Might this include increased collaboration with the Drama department?
D’Ambrosio: “To be honest the sky’s the limit with this program. We hope to use the studio more as the program builds. We are currently working on streaming live events from our school by using the equipment we have in this state of the art studio. This will include sporting events, graduation, plays, music concerts, or other events that the school puts on.”
OneDublin.org: Anything else that you would to add?
D’Ambrosio: “I am looking forward to seeing where this program will be not only in the next couple years but also the next five. I don’t think people could imagine the possibilities we can do with our new building. I am very excited to be part of this journey and am glad I was lucky enough to be part of the process in its’ first year. Dublin High has provided so many more opportunities for the students with the new building, and the best is yet to come.”
In order to comprehend the impact of this new classroom offering, OneDublin.org asked Mr. D’Ambrosio to solicit the feedback from some of his students. The responses were both enlightening and candid.
OneDublin.org: Video production is a rather large subject. Thus far, what has the class taught you – particularly about the amount of work that occurs behind the scenes?
Kyle Reed: “Going into this class, I already had a pretty competent ability with the mechanics of video production, such as editing and cinematography. However, what I was lacking in before and what this class has given me plenty of now is experience. Knowing how to make a quality video is one thing, but actually going out and working with people you don’t know and on topics you know little about beforehand is something completely else. The ability to work effectively with others is essential to video production, and the only way to master that ability is through lots of experience, which this class has granted me much of.”
OneDublin.org: As we enter into spring semester, what concepts or skills are you looking forward to learn about?
Veronica La: “I would like to learn a lot more about new ways to film and creating content. I’m interested in learning new techniques in cinemaphotography. Also I’d like to learn how to use the cool gadgets and tools we haven’t touched yet.”
OneDublin.org: The video production studio includes some very sophisticated equipment. Please describe/explain how you are able to employ this technology.
Sophie Butler: “We are lucky to have a complete room that is called our “studio room” where we film our anchors and also we have enough computers so everyone can be editing their stories at once. We use the cameras to film either in the green room or around the school. We also have different types of microphones that we can use in any scenario we need them in. The technology gives us more opportunities to bring our stories to life and make them look more professional.”
OneDublin.org: Explain why some of your fellow classmates should consider taking this course.
Reed: “If video production is a topic you’re even mildly interested in pursuing later in life or is something you just wish you could do, I highly suggest this course. Getting the software and equipment to learn video production on your own is expensive and can be overwhelming, while joining this class places as much equipment and editing power in your grasp as you’d hope to use in several years. This class has something for everyone; whether you’ve been making films with your friends for years or if you’ve never edited a video, your knowledge and experience will only grow. Video production is not only a great skill to have, but one that is an enormous amount of fun to make use of as well.”
La: “You should take video production because it gives you a creative outlet to express yourself and share your ideas with the school. The stigma of this class is that it’s an easy A. Not to me, it isn’t. It’s a class that’s preparing students for a real world experience in careers in entertainment media, communications and videography. Also, the facilities are amazing! I am always grateful every time I enter the Center of Performing Arts and Education knowing that not many students are as blessed as I am to experience this wonderful opportunity to learn in such a beautiful place.”
Butler: “This class had the reputation of being an easy class but Mr. D. makes sure to challenge us and makes sure we are putting out the best stories we can. The class is challenging but in a fun way. We can all share our ideas without feeling like we will be judged by the others in the class and it brings out our creative side. The people in the class are genuinely close and always willing to help each other out. It’s by far my favorite class I’ve taken thus far in high school.”
So, while the Center for Performing Arts and Education continues to host significant and splashy events, the adjoining classrooms host daily learning. OneDublin.org would like to thank Michael D’Ambrosio for a peek inside of his Video Production classroom. And, we would like to thank his students for sharing their feedback on the program. Thanks to Michael, some Dublin Gaels are beginning to understand the ESPN experience without having to trudge through the snow.