Youth Programs with Moondog Labs

Youth Clothes Blogger

The mobile phone is a democratizing tool for our world. Even as digital natives grow up using these devices daily, there are lessons to learn about how to use this tool to communicate effectively with a wide audience. Video storytelling is a skill that needs to become as ubiquitous in youth education as writing a complete sentence. 

Numerous organizations are working to educate youth in in the art and techniques of mobile filmmaking. While mastering this skill, each program instills valuable lessons in their students. 

Here, we've highlighted three of these organizations. We showcase useful lessons and provide additional resources to help with your program.


We Make Movies

Sam Mestmen is the founder and CEO of We Make Movies, a film and television collective that provides workshops, resources, and educational industry events. WMM fosters an inclusive community of over 5,000 independent filmmakers, writers, and actors. 

We Make Movies follows a set of core values:

  • Make It Fun While You Make It
  • Always Deliver on Your Dream
  • Quality = Making the Most of Your Resources
  • Helping the Community Is Helping Yourself
  • Be Direct, Be Kind
  • Don't Make the Same Mistake Twice
  • Make the Movie that You Want to See

Their initial program taught kids in Compton, California how to live sustainably in three facets of life: financially, environmentally, and personally. The program's ultimate goal is to help their students enter the creative economy by producing engaging social media content for non-profits. 

Best Practices from WMM

  • Get students creating immediately
    • Make a 5 minute film on the first day
  • Teach best practices first for quick success
    • Resolution
    • Frame Rates
    • Aspect Ratios
    • Media Management
    • Shot Composition (Rule of thirds, negative space etc.)
  • Emphasize things done well before critiques
  • Use mistakes as teaching moments
  • The quality of their first few projects doesn't matter; what matters is that they finish the projects
    • Every project they do is an opportunity to get better


Class Act Detroit

Providing music and video production, dance, and art-related education to area youth, Class Act Detroit CEO Rashard Dobbins (better known as Mr. D) is dedicated to working within Detroit area communities to build brighter futures for children and families.  

Teaching children video literacy at a young age helps them become powerful communicators; proper video storytelling transcends language. CAD also focuses on meeting kids where they they communicate by creating shot-from content for YouTube / Instagram / TikTok. 

To help with their content creation, Class Act Detroit uses Moondog Labs 1.33X Anamorphic Lens - 37mm Thread, ND and CPL filters, and Universal Counterweight. They are also planning to use a rig by utilizing our 37mm Lens Mounting Plate - for BeastGrip Pro.

During their first week of filmmaking, CAD students were asked to create a how-to video. Showing a peer how to perform a task is an excellent learning opportunity. In the following example a young student teaches a particularly important skill.


Outside the Lens

Outside the Lens

The mission of Outside the Lens is to empower youth through digital media to create change within themselves, their community, and their world. Executive Director Elisa Thompson and her team have developed an innovative program that engages youth, encourages them to tell their stories, and teaches them that participation in their community’s future makes a difference.

They use cameras and digital media along with a proven educational strategy that encourages youth to think creatively, engage in issues that are important to them, and advocate for social change.

Moondog Labs proudly supported the OTL's CineTeen Film Festival. The top three winning films received MDL gear to enhance their next project. 

Throughout COVID-19 shelter in place procedures, OTL used Instagram to post weekly challenges for their student participants. Students turned in their work by tagging @outsidethelens with the assigned photo for that day.  


Here are examples of their weekly assignments:

Outside the Lens Weekly Challenges Outside the Lens Weekly Challenges
Outside the Lens Weekly Challenges Outside the Lens Weekly Challenges


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