What’s Better than Walking the Red Carpet? Creating It

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Earlier this year, CMT helped put on quite an awards show in Nashville. Attendees walked a pre-event red carpet. Hosts guided the audience from one award presentation to the next. Winners delivered gushing acceptance speeches.

But this wasn’t the CMT Music Awards. It was the annual CMT Academy of Digital Design and Communications Film Festival, a student-produced extravaganza that is the final project of a semester-long collaboration between the network and McGavock High School. The students harness the production knowledge they’ve collected through a series of classes and onsite experiences to run every element of the event.

“Our partnership with McGavock showcases skills-based volunteering at its best,” said Lucia Folk from CMT public affairs. “We engage employees in departments as varied as engineering and marketing to teach students the many layers of creating a show. This is the future talent of production at work, and CMT is proud to be a part of it. ”

Since 2010, CMT has partnered with McGavock to mentor students in television production. The mentorship program creates educational and experiential learning opportunities for students and teachers through field trips, tours of CMT offices, shadowing CMT employees, externships for teachers, capstone projects, guest speakers and career mentors.

Additionally, CMT hosts a McGavock senior student for a 10-week internship each year that exposes the individual to different departments under the guidance of a CMT mentor. These programs enable students to make connections and network, better positioning them to pursue a career in television production.

For many employees and students, the program’s highlight is the awards show, where students combine knowledge learned from academic classes like broadcasting, digital design, and audio production with the skills they pick up from their experiences at CMT offices. This year’s project theme was music videos and the participants aimed to produce a red carpet-worthy film festival.

The event was planned to mimic the CMT Music Awards, organized entirely by the students, and included a red carpet, hosts, nominees, awards, acceptance speeches and commercials. Thirteen student-created videos competed for Best Cinematography, Best Direction, Best Editing, Best Performance, Best Storyline, Most Inspiring, and Best In Show.

Over the course of its five-year partnership with McGavock High School, CMT has contributed more than 3,315 hours of time to the school and $26,024 of in-kind dollars

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