Jury Coordination and Notes

Archive for July, 2009

Start Your Film Critics Club in Time for School!

Friday, July 17th, 2009

August is a great time to take our Jury Training Course and have your Film Critics Club ready to go in time for the start of school.

We’ve had an outstanding reaction to our new online class format and all our new jurors are now enjoying working with kids to evaluate films and other media. This is a fabulous opportunity to teach new communication skills, help kids become more media literate, see independent titles difficult to find elsewhere, view large production titles – often before anyone else, all while building up your media library or helping a non-profit of your choice to do so. Both Adult and Child Juror reviews are posted on our website and in several publications. You and your jury can help others make good media choices for their families.

The next class is on August 3 and August 5 (Monday and Wednesday) evenings at 8pm EST. In order to complete this 2-part training you will need to attend both nights. Classes last approximately one hour each. To attend you will need access to a phone or headset and a computer with internet access. You may also choose to set up a private training for an additional non-refundable fee of $20. The regular course fee is $30, but it is completely refundable once you’ve completed training and reviewed your first 6 titles in the first 6 months.

Don’t delay! Fill out an application form and our Jury Manager will contact you to make arrangements. Contact for more information, or visit our Jury web page.

(Pictured above: The Tails of Abbygail, one of the many wonderful independent titles our jurors have endorsed.)

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Getting Kids to Talk – ages 8-12

Thursday, July 2nd, 2009

In April I wrote about involving kids in the process of reviewing films and other media, focusing on ages 12-18. Getting kids ages 8-12 to open up, though, has it’s own special challenges.

Children in this age group relate to more complex plots and characters than their younger counterparts. They like to compare what they see to their own experiences. They are interested in environmental issues, sports, science fiction, fantasy and how things work. Since kids easily succumb to peer pressure and tend to repeat feedback from the first respondent, you should remind them that there are no wrong answers.

Another fun way to get honest answers from your jury is to make copies of the evaluation form for each child and have them write their evaluations. Share the them with the group and discuss the different points of view, reinforcing that everyone’s opinion matters. You can also introduce new vocabulary such as antagonist, protagonist, or discuss production values or accuracy with them. You can also discuss the issue of gratuitous or nongratuitous violence, bias and stereotyping, and replicable unsafe behavior.

At this age kids are highly influenced by what they have seen in the media. Portrayals of gender, racial or religious bias can mold their opinions. It is especially important to include them in the review process, to help them to become more critical of the images they see. With your help, kids can grow up to be adults who think for themselves and are capable of making good decisions.

To learn more, contact our Jury Manager or sign up to take our Jury Training Course.

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