Spy Hop Productions (Salt Lake City, UT)

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Young student looking into video camera viewfinder

A student in Spy Hop Productions’ Youth Documentary Arts Program checks to make sure her shot is set. Photo by Matt Bradley

An overwhelming majority of teenagers own at least one personal media device, yet most do not know the basics of what is involved in producing the media arts. Spy Hop Productions—a youth media arts and educational enrichment center serving Salt Lake City—is trying to do something about that.

In FY 2006, Spy Hop Productions received an NEA Learning in the Arts grant of $60,000 for its Youth Documentary Arts Program (YDAP), a free program for students ages 14-18. In 2006, approximately 50 students learned the aesthetics, skills, and techniques of documentary production while exploring stories and issues that relate to both youth and adults. YDAP is made up of three core collaborative programs: Reel Stories, Documenting Communities, and Loud and Clear. Produced by both Spy Hop Productions and the Sundance Film Institute, Reel Stories was held from June 15-July 31, 2006. This free intensive workshop gave students the opportunity to work with the country’s best documentary filmmakers. The program guides the students through the entire process of making a documentary, including story development, camera operation, and editing raw footage.

Documenting Communities, a collaboration with the University of Utah College of Humanities, was held from January 1, 2006-May 30, 2007. This project allowed high school students to explore their local community through the process of creating, shooting, and editing documentary videos.

The third branch of YDAP, Loud and Clear, is a weekly all-youth radio program airing live on KRCL 90.9 FM and reaching an audience of more than 80,000. The first and only youth-produced radio broadcast in Utah, Loud and Clear trains students in all aspects of designing and implementing a radio show.

(From the NEA 2006 Annual Report)