• Bec Allen

Breaking the rules

Updated: Jun 7, 2019

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are advised that the following stories may contain images and references to people who have died.


Media is the most exciting subject to teach young people. Why? Because you get to break all the rules. There is nothing better than teaching young crew the conventions of media forms and then watching them completely bust out! 


We are, after all, living in the information age and as consumers of media we innately know how to scan, digest, share and delete work in an instant. Whether it is animation, photography, music video, short film or documentary, it must have impact. And young people understand this very well.


Photography is very popular amongst the young people of the Kimberley ~ Image by Bec Allen

I started teaching media in 2002 after working in an exciting mix of jobs in the industry, from a cinema projectionist to a filmmaker in remote Aboriginal communities. Now as a teacher at Kununurra District High School, I get to help young people explore their creative potential every day and there is something so fresh and exciting about the creative minds of Kimberley kids.


Creating media productions definitely helps prepare young people for the workplace. Patience is tested, technology is frustrating and sometimes teams just can’t agree on the best way forward. When the power goes out (as it often does in the Kimberley), the footage has no sound or the protagonist shaved their head, the students must problem solve and keep their cool. 



Some useful tips for teaching media:

1. Never start production without a plan. This will avoid conflict later. 

2. Help your students/younger participants to think about their audience at all stages of the production.

3. Involve the local community as much as you can.

4. Make sure you are not filming/taking photos on country that is ‘off limits'.

5. Reinforce the need for everyone to be respectful when sharing ideas.

6. Don’t be afraid to divert from the plan. Sometimes the best ideas are unscripted.

7. Break the rules but only when you have learnt the rules.

8. If you find it boring then so will your audience. 

9. Your audience will forgive you for dodgy images but not dodgy sound

10. Let young people get their hands on the equipment. They probably know how to operate it better than you!


Working with young people in media, to me, is the best way to build confidence and to give them a voice. It is exciting, fast, and accessible and the possibilities are endless.