Jefferson and Capital students create sitcom

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Jefferson and Capital students create sitcom
Student filmmakers in a Zoom meetingIt all began as an inkling of an idea in student Charles Norris’s mind. Norris, then a seventh grader at Jefferson Middle School, dreamt of creating a skit based on the popular television series “The Office,” but in the setting of a middle school.

Norris brought his idea to Jefferson Visual Communications Teacher Jonathan Moore, who encouraged him to develop a plan for a full series, and “The Studio” was born. After three years worth of work, help from two dozen student volunteers, and an exercise in improvisation and flexibility when COVID-19 closed schools, “The Studio” finally hit the air. It is the first student-created sitcom to air on Jefferson’s KJAG TV station, produced by students in the school’s visual communications program.

The sitcom, now on its 7th episode, tells the amusing and sometimes mysterious story of the Jefferson Morning News crew. Written and produced before the events of 2020, the plot, somehow, strangely parallels and parodies many of the events of that year, creators say.

The students who produce “The Studio” include a team of leaders who are now students at Capital High School, working with about two dozen students from Jefferson in Zoom meetings after school. Some of them put in more than 12 hours of work per week on the project. The closure of schools in 2020 forced students to get creative, but they managed to complete their work remotely. Students work as directors, producers, story writers, editors, actors and camera operators.

Participants in the television series say that they have developed leadership skills and formed unlikely friendships during the years of production.

Eighth grader Sawyer Conklin said that he developed time management skills balancing homework with the extracurricular film production club, and also developed confidence in social situations.

“It really just created a lot of friendships that wouldn’t ordinarily have happened,” added eighth grader Carli Cockrell.

For Norris, seeing his idea come to fruition taught him the value of hard work and persistence, he said. “The Studio was the first time I had really ever stepped into a leadership role,” he added. “For me the greatest accomplishment was seeing that first episode finally be edited and produced.”

“The Studio” airs at Jefferson once a week, with episodes lasting about 10 minutes. The public can also view the program on the Jefferson KJAG TV YouTube channel

KJAG TV students shoot and edit videos including comedy sketches, live broadcasts and game shows. Students learn in a real studio environment and take on jobs as writers, producers, directors, videographers and editors. In addition to all the fun projects, the KJAG-TV team is responsible for getting the most important information of the day to the students via the KJAG TV daily announcements.