By B.C. Manion
Just ask Ryan and Rachel Mish, two Veterans Elementary students who star in a video that’s been named one of 12 finalists in a national contest sponsored by Scotties.
The siblings and their parents, Heather and Darrin, put their heads together to decide what to include in the video that was shot by Darrin and edited by 10-year-old Ryan for the contest.
The fifth-grader acknowledged that he procrastinated for several days before getting to work on the video, which was due by Nov. 30.
“We were driving the car to Thanksgiving in Georgia. While we were in the car, we all brainstormed. When we got there we filmed it at my grandparents’ house,” Ryan said.
Ryan said he spent early mornings and late afternoons editing the project after they finished the filming. He beat the deadline by one day.
The dialogue and facts presented in the three-minute video came from a brochure provided by Scotties, Ryan said.
“You could use only what was in the brochure,” he said.
Once he knew what the video would include, Ryan divided the lines of dialogue between him and his 8-year-old sister.
His strategy for assigning lines was simple.
“It was basically whether Rachel could remember it or not,” Ryan said. “If she couldn’t remember it, I took it. That’s why I was talking more than she was.”
Getting good results required patience.
“It took a lot of takes,” Ryan said.
Some scenes had to be shot repeatedly because the kids’ well-intentioned grandparents called out a couple of times to see how things were going — right in the middle of a take, Ryan recalled with a laugh.
The editing required re-arranging footage and deleting material that didn’t work, Ryan said.
He used scenic shots from family vacations to smooth out choppy places in the video and to provide transitions. He also printed facts on slides to add another element.
The siblings wax on about virtues of trees during the film.
Trees absorb carbon dioxide. They produce oxygen. They provide shade, lower energy costs and offer shelter for animals, too. And those are just some of the benefits that trees provide, the kids proclaim in the video.
At one point, Ryan mentions how trees are used to make ink, paper and toilet paper.
Then, he asks, “Can you imagine life without toilet paper?”
“Yuck,” Rachel responds.
At the beginning of the video, their feet crunch on leaves, as they run around chasing each other under towering trees near their grandparents’ home in La Grange, Ga.
At the end of the video, they’re standing on tree branches, letting the world know that they think that trees rock.
Now that the video is in and people are voting on their favorites, the entire Mish family and the folks at Veterans are urging people to watch the video.
They hope viewers will think the video rocks and will vote for it by the Feb. 15 deadline.
In this contest, voters must be at least age 18 and have a valid email address. They can vote up to once a day.
To drum up support for their video, the Mish family is using social media, and the school is sending communications home to parents. The school, 26940 Progress Parkway in Wesley Chapel, is also using its marquee to encourage people to vote for Ryan’s video.
Jennifer Gaete, an instructional technology specialist, is the one who found out about the contest and encouraged Veterans students to enter.
She’s thrilled by Ryan’s success.
If the video wins, the school will use the $10,000 in prize money to create a tree-shaded outdoor learning area where kids can have classes, and parents can eat lunch in a pleasant place when they visit the school, Gaete said.
To see the video and cast a vote, visit www.scottiestreesrock.com.
The Mish family also has created a website, www.treesrocktampa.com, and a Facebook page, Trees Rock Tampa. If you register on their site, they will send you daily reminder to vote along with a joke or a fact of the day.
Here’s an example of one of their jokes:
Q. What did the beaver say to the tree?
A. Nice gnawing you.
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