Students take over TCTV’s studios during spring break

Trash talk wasn’t just allowed, it was encouraged last week, during the young producers program at Thurston Community Television (TCTV) in Olympia.

Twelve middle- and high-school students in the 20-hour class produced a talk show called “Let’s Talk Trash,” which will later air on TCTV (though air dates have not been set). A condensed version also will be broadcast on YouTube, organizers say.

“They’re learning about the social, environmental and financial impacts of wasting food,” said Terri Thomas with Thurston County Solid Waste, which partnered with TCTV and Lacey Parks and Recreation to offer the class. “As a nation, we waste 40 percent of the food we produce.”

The students also had a chance to learn the ins and outs of TCTV’s newly remodeled, high-definition studio on Yauger Way. They used the studio’s new cameras, teleprompter, green screen, computer graphic imagery (CGI) technology and its new switcher, which allows video signals to move from one source to another.

“What’s really changed is our ability to tell the story,” Peter Epperson, TCTV’s community initiatives manager, said of the new studio.

By completing the program, the students are now certified to operate TCTV’s cameras for anyone in the community, he said.

They also gained real-life television experience, and learned how many skills go into producing a half-hour program, Epperson said.

“Talk about engineering; talk about technology; talk about math,” he added.

“Let’s Talk Trash” features student interviews with representatives from the Thurston County Food Bank, the Garden-Raised Bounty program, Thurston County Solid Waste, and Sound Resources Management Group.

Thirteen-year-old Sam Avery, who is in seventh grade at an online school, was one of the program’s hosts. He said he learned quite a bit from the experience — both in terms of waste reduction and television.

“The next time I watch TV, I’ll understand how they filmed it,” Avery said. “It’s really fun because you get to learn how to make movies and TV shows.”

Fourteen-year-old Paul Medrud, an eighth-grader at Olympia’s Washington Middle School, said he’s taken several TCTV classes, and every time he learns something new.

“I feel like I’m accomplished,” he said. “I feel like my ideas came to life.”