Activity time: 20 minutes
Materials for Activity
- Microphone(s), video camera(s) and tripod(s), real or simulated
- For studio set
- Newsprint or a large roll of paper
- Color markers; or washable paints, paint brushes, and clean-up supplies
- Painter's tape or masking tape
- Leader Resource 2, WCUU Script
- Paper for On-Air People's name cards, markers and string or tape
- Optional: Music recording and playback equipment for recording and playing a theme song
- Optional: Studio lights (flashlights will do)
Preparation for Activity
- Read about WCUU in the Riddle and Mystery program Introduction.
- Decide where and how to make your WCUU studio, and how elaborate it should be. The space can be anywhere. You will need a place for the Anchor to sit and locations for the First Roving Reporter and the Second Roving Reporter to sit or stand to conduct their interviews. The NUUs (pronounced "News") Analyst can sit with the Anchor.
- If you plan to record WCUU, obtain and test your equipment.
- Make sure electrical outlets are nearby if you will need them.
- Pay attention to lighting. Do not set On-Air People in front of a sunlit window.
- If you are using on-camera microphones, direct On-Air People to speak toward the camera. Invite the Director or Floor Director to use the phrase "Quiet on the Set... Rolling... " followed by a silent countdown from five, using the fingers of one hand, ending with pointing to the On-Air Person to cue them to begin speaking.
- Make enough copies of the leader resource for everyone who will have a role in the broadcast. The script has six On-Air People. If the group is small, co-leaders can be Studio Crew; if the group is large, the Studio Crew might include a director, a floor director, a camera operator, a sound engineer, a lighting director, a script supervisor and multiple production assistants.
Description of Activity
In this two-part activity, participants first set up their WCUU studio, then present a brief WCUU report on where we come from.
Explain that WCUU (or, KCUU) are the call letters of a television station run by the group. The letters stand for Wisdom (or Knowledge) of the Community of Unitarian Universalists. Say that today you will spend a few minutes setting up the studio, then the group will present its first WCUU news report on Today's Big Question.
Point out the space and any equipment the group will use for WCUU.
Tell the group there are a variety of jobs to do before and during the WCUU broadcast. Explain the jobs and then ask for volunteers.
Before the Broadcast
1. Ask volunteers to create a very brief theme song-ideally, 10 seconds-for the WCUU shows. If you have an audio recorder/player, have them record the song to use each time the group meets. (If you have recorded music from Activity 1, it could be the theme song, but having the youth make a new one will be more fun for them. You might suggest the youth sing or simply chant the words.)
2. Make a backdrop. While the recording is being done, invite other participants to design and make a backdrop for the show. Consider having them draw a variety of question marks on newsprint, then taping the newsprint on a wall. Or let them suggest their own design, perhaps featuring the WCUU call letters. If you have time, invite them to use heavier paper and paint, for a more durable backdrop.
3. Set up the studio, including the real or simulated equipment. Ask volunteers to arrange chairs for the Anchor, the NUUs Analyst and designate where the Roving Reporters will stand, and position cameras, microphones, lights and any other equipment. If you are using real equipment, show volunteers how to use each item properly. Youth operating unfamiliar equipment should work with an adult who knows the equipment well.
4. Additional jobs could include writing and/or drawing a short station break announcement and making name cards with On-Air People's roles (especially useful for longer WCUU segments when you may wish to switch roles midway to include more youth as On-Air People).
When the theme music and backdrop are ready, ask for volunteers to staff your first show. If the group is small, co-leaders will take the Studio Crew roles. If the group is large, expand the Studio Crew as needed and/or set up seating for an in-studio audience.
Explain that you will need On-Air People and Studio Crew. On-Air People will include an Anchor, two Roving Reporters, two Typical UUs and a NUUs Analyst. The Studio Crew might include a director, a floor director, a camera operator, a sound engineer, a lighting director, a script supervisor and multiple production assistants.
Consider giving your Kid for the Day first chance at being the Anchor. The script for this WCUU broadcast is quite short; most sixth graders will be able to read it easily. Also, this script is complete (although you may invite youth to add to it, if you have time). WCUU segments in some later sessions will ask youth to create their own dialogue.
If you are using real equipment, give technical roles to youth who know how to use the equipment; if you have a recorded theme song, choose a sound engineer familiar with your music player. You should probably be the director for this first WCUU broadcast. You might ask a youth to assist you. Consider using youth directors in later WCUU segments.
Give scripts to all who need them.
Tell the group when the show should end to keep the session on schedule; assign a Studio Crew member (director or floor director) to watch the time.
Begin the broadcast.
After the Broadcast
Make sure technical equipment is shut down and put away properly. Engage volunteers to "break down" the WCUU studio and store reusable equipment and materials.
Including All Participants
Try to place youth in roles they want and which will best engage them. Most youth need an active role to be fully engaged, yet some can have a meaningful experience as an audience member. Adapt the roles as needed, to give every youth a chance to try roles that interest them.