June 18, 2021

New program teaches podcasting, screenwriting, role-playing game skills to tweens, teens :: WRAL.com

— A new business aims to help local middle and high school students shore up their podcasting, screenwriting and role-playing game skills.

Hoop Snake Creative, run by a brother and sister, will be offering summer programs online and at its studio on Barrett Drive in midtown Raleigh.

Right now, it is offering courses in screenwriting, fiction podcasting, unscripted podcasting and running and playing tabletop role-playing games. Eventually, the duo hope to begin offering hands-on production workshops for students to collaboratively produce fiction podcasts.

“Our goal is to give students real-world media production skills and enable them to create the things that they’re passionate about,” Amelia Flick, the administrative director, tells me.

Flick’s brother, Colton Flick, is the program’s teacher and creative director. He’s a professional writer and graphic designer who has produced award-winning podcasts and commercial tabletop games. And he’s a former teacher at Sonorous Road, a theater program, and Duke’s Talent Identification Program.

Colton Flick tells me that Hoop Snake’s programs are based on the the changing and growing interests in media. “Podcasts are more popular than ever before, and the demand for skills in video production certainly isn’t slowing down,” he wrote in an email. “Kids want to create the kinds of media that they enjoy, and we want to set them up to do that.”

And screenwriting and podcasting are good foundational courses where kids learn skills that will become handy even if they don’t become a professional podcaster or screenwriter, he shared.

Hoop Snake Creative

“Our screenwriting class teaches screenwriting, of course, but it’s also a course on drama, story structure, and good workshop etiquette,” he wrote. “Our podcasting courses teach podcasting, but they’re also courses on publicity, project management, and general audio production. More and more, I find that skills like these are expected from artists, and they’re applicable no matter what creative field you pursue.”

Meanwhile, tabletop role-playing games (think Dungeons & Dragons, but there are many more) have grown in popularity in recent years. During the classes, students will learn about three different games, how to play them and how to run them with friends in the future.

“That includes everything from good encounter design and pacing, to how to get a group together, set expectations, and support and collaborate with fellow players,” he tells me. “This, to me, is the real key to this class. I’ve found quite a few online resources devoted to teaching the rules, but very few devoted to the soft skills and background knowledge needed to facilitate great games. It is important to me to focus on the social component of tabletop games just as much as the mechanical elements.”

Hoop Snakes’ programs will run more like college seminars than camps. Collaboration and discussion is encouraged. As a mom of a teenager, I think this is a great model for this age group.

“A discussion-based class is the best way to teach, but I think it’s particularly important for the kind of work we’re doing,” Colton Flick shared. “I want to give students experience with the collaborative and social aspects of art and media production. It’s very rare that someone makes a good movie or a podcast completely alone.

“These mediums inherently lend themselves to a group effort,” he continued. “Learning to give and receive critique, contribute to a discussion, and collaborate with other creators is every bit as important as learning the correct formatting or the right software to use, and modeling that behavior in the classroom is an important part of setting our students up for success.”

For details about the programs, check Hoop Snake’s website.

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