Today's lesson is ... filming River City

IT'S lights, camera, action as another dramatic storyline is played out for TV soap River City.

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Amy Moore, 15, front, is presenting a film of behind the scenes of making the project. She is joined  by James McAlpine (BBC Apprentice), Johnny Laville (of BBC L.A.B), pupils Emma Yule, 17, (on boom) and Scott Singh, 16
Amy Moore, 15, front, is presenting a film of behind the scenes of making the project. She is joined by James McAlpine (BBC Apprentice), Johnny Laville (of BBC L.A.B), pupils Emma Yule, 17, (on boom) and Scott Singh, 16

But the group producing the latest drama in the fictional town of Shieldinch are a bit younger than the usual film crew.

Instead, pupils from Bannerman High School, in Baillieston, have descended on to the set to create their own storyline in a special learning programme with the BBC.

The annual River City Outreach Project divides S5 and S6 pupils into three groups who write, film and act out scenes for the soap.

Two schools are chosen for the project who each work with a River City writer to create a script to film along-side one of the soap's actors.

This year, Port Glasgow High School has worked on scenes with Libby McArthur, who plays Gina in the soap, while Bannerman High pupils worked alongside actress Keira Lucchesi, who plays Stella.

It was Keira's first time working with the school group.

She is currently involved in a dramatic IVF story line with her screen husband Shellsuit Bob, who is going through a personal crisis.

But she put that aside to work with the youngsters.

She said: "It's been really good fun. We've been talking about the industry and a lot of them want to get into it, so I told them you just need to annoy people to get a foot in the door."

Cameron Strachan, 16, an S5 pupil at Bannerman High, was eager to join the group of writers to create Keira's script.

He said: "When I leave school I want to be a writer, director and producer, so I thought it would be good to get involved in the whole process and see how it's done.

"It's good to work with a real writer, because they give you a lot of good hints and tips to use if you ever want to go ahead with it. You get to see how they set out things and make them work as a professional writer."

The project is part of BBC Scotland's L.A.B programme, which is designed to develop the digital media skills in a range of groups — predominantly schoolchildren — across the country.

For the past three years, the different schools have worked over a period of three weeks to create their own scenes which will then be screened on the L.A.B. website.

Johanna Hall, project leader of the programme, says it gives the pupils a chance to build up their skills and find out what the reality is for those working in the industry.

It's often long days spent outside in freezing weather.

She said: "You see some kids come in, and they're standing outside trying to get the best shot, and you can see some of them say 'I want to do this'.

"People think they want to go into this business and they have an idea in their head about what it's like, but until they actually do it, they won't see what the real deal is.

"The important thing is that, aside from the learning, it takes the kids out their comfort zone."

SHE continues: "It's about getting a wee bit of confidence from doing something a bit different and opening up worlds to them that they hadn't thought about. They're so enthusiastic.

"I think it makes them more knowledgeable. They're watching with a different eye and they know there's been a process behind it and can question it and that is a good thing."

As well as those who want to make the River City scenes, other pupils have the chance to make their own behind-the-scenes documentary of the project also screened on the L.A.B website.

Amy Moore, 15, is the presenter of Bannerman High's filming documentary and wants to pursue a career in acting and presenting.

She said: "You talk through how everything works, what the actors are doing, how the rest of us are getting on and a lot of it is about time limits as well.

"We learn about time we don't have and how under pressure it is and the hard work that goes in.

"I didn't realise there was so much put into it.

"I'm proud, because I've always wanted to do acting and presenting, so it's a good opportunity and a good place to get started and see what it's all like."

Tom Gemmell, who is Bannerman High School's drama teacher, accompanied the students on the project and says it gives the pupils a chance to see what's involved in the industry. He said: "I think it's fantastic and a great opportunity.

"It's something we've never had a chance to do before. It's good for them to see there's a practical application outside school.

"I think it's also a confidence thing, I've seen them all getting so slick at what they're doing, and they're loving it."

n The scenes from this year's River City Outreach Project can be seen online at\labscotland after Friday February 1.


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