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28 October 2014

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Blast Academy

Big BBC Blast Academy

By Blast reporter Kerry Gill
Can you make a five minute film? Think you can do martial arts dance? Reckon you’re up to DJ’ing and writing a rap? No? Well our Blast Academy students for 2006 didn’t think they could either until they finished their week in the BBC open centre.

The Blast Academy closed its doors on 8th August. The scheme, which piloted a new partnership between BBC Coventry and Warwickshire and Connexions gave 10 teens the chance to develop skills in five different areas of arts. Their efforts throughout the week were rewarded with an evenings Graduation Ceremony held at in the BBC Open Centre. Each pupil was given a certificate, a CD of the work they had done and even a mini replica Oscar for their superb performances.

Their first task was to create a piece of art in the style of Jackson Pollock, an artist who specialised in spatter-painting. The students worked on a joint canvas, which would then be hung on the walls of the Open Centre, and also a smaller individual canvas to take home.

Painting with Blast Academy
Painting with Blast Academy

“The painting was my favourite part,” said Blast Academy student Anita, “it was really relaxing.” Her individual canvas displayed a sunset beach, which she intended to hang on her wall once she got home.

Kung Fu Fighting

Capoeria Norte is a Brazilian art form which is a blend of martial arts and breakdancing. Day two of the Blast Academy saw our students tackle the dancing in a series on floor movements, high kicks and partner work.

“You really have to trust your partner to know they aren’t going to kick you!” said Lisa, who worked with fellow student Naidene.

“I thought it was brilliant, and I’d defiantly do it again if I can find somewhere to do it.” She said.

"When I go home I know I’ll be practicing what I’ve learned"
Blast Academy student Lisa.

Nineteen year-old Steve surprised himself by enjoying the dance workshop.

“I thought it was really good to do something different.” He said.

Day three of the Blast Academy saw the students writing a script for a short film and then, armed with cameras, and various props they set out into the city centre to film it, assisted by local filmmaker Richard Wood. They assigned themselves roles of directors, cameramen, and actors and confused locals by staging fights in a mock news report on the city’s low crime levels.

The director, fourteen year-old Nicholas said “It was really interesting using cameras and things I’d never used before.” Nicholas is due to start a drama course at school next year and felt that his BBC experience will help him with his studies.

Blast Academy filming
Filming with Blast Academy

Lisa’s role as a news reporter gave her a good insight into the world of filmmaking. During the afternoon the students edited their film.

“It’s hard to explain how much hard work goes into five minutes of film.” She said.

After a weekend to recharge their batteries and brains the students faced Monday’s task of advertising a product, and creating a radio drama. The students were split into teams and given a list of fictional products to choose from. The adverts were then recorded and played back to the rest of the group. Under the supervision of Richard Wood they then created ideas for a story and went out to Coventry University to record themselves using MP3 players.

And the Oscar goes to...

Awards for the Blast Academy members
Blast Oscars and Academy awards

The last day of Blast came in the form on a DJ’ing and music workshop led by local MC’s Wayne and Anthony. Each academy member had a turn on using the DJ decks and writing their own lyrics to perform. There was also an additional evening session for the students to showcase their work to their family and friends.

The evening was a surprise for the students who didn’t know what would be involved. Each student graduated from the Blast Academy with a certificate, and each also gained an award for their achievements. Many of the students were sad to leave, but were proud of themselves.

“It’s been fantastic.” said Nicholas.

Lisa was keen to share his sentiments. “When I go home I know I’ll be practicing what I’ve learned.”

The Blast Academy was a great success and pictures from the week can be found in our BBC Blast gallery by clicking the link below.  

last updated: 14/08/06
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