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A music video is born: Yukon youth take production workshop

Yukon youth learn about video production through REEL YOUTH program
REEL YOUTH offers video production programs for youth, such as those seen above. Their latest program is a music video program for Yukon youth. (Courtesy/REEL YOUTH)

Planning, shooting, editing, creativity — all are needed for video production.

Those skills will be the focus of the Yukon Music Video Program with close to 20 Yukon youth learning to make music videos.

The program, offered by Reel Youth in partnership with the Western Arctic Youth Collective, began Jan. 18 with the first of six sessions that will wrap up Feb. 3.

Reel Youth is an initiative focused on community development through film work. Along with music video production, it offers programs in claymation, documentaries, photography and more.

As Mark Vonesch, Reel Youth director, explained in a Jan. 16 interview, the collective approached Reel Youth about offering a similar youth program in Yukon that it had held in Nunavut where participants learned how to produce a music video featuring a Northern artist. For the Nunavut program that was The Beatrice Deer Band, and in Yukon the video will be made for Diyet, an award winner singer/songwriter from the Kluane region.

Reel Youth was pleased to come on board and offer the program in the Yukon, initially planning for in-person sessions.

“But Omicron raged so we decided to go online,” Vonesch explained.

From the initial 22 who showed an interest in taking part in the program, 17 are signed on to participate. The program has drawn participants from Whitehorse, Dawson and Watson Lake.

Over the course of the program, when participants log on from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every Wednesday and Friday two facilitators will help the group learn the art of planning, shooting and editing a short film. Another team of three work behind the scenes in delivering the program, Vonesch said.

While participants are required to have a computer, laptop or tablet that is able to run Zoom and Adobe Creative Cloud Express for the sessions, the Adobe software will be provided to participants at no cost.

Participants who complete the program will also receive a $150 honourarium. As Vonesch explained, the amount is provided to help participants with costs they might incurr such as internet use, props for videos and more as well as serving as an incentive to complete the program.

They’ll use those skills to each create a music video set to Diyet’s music. As Vonesch explained, Diyet is already connected with the Western Arctic Youth Collective so it made sense when looking for an northern artist’s music to use for the videos to use Diyet’s work.

Vonesch said there’s a few things Reel Youth wants participants to take from the program, goals that are part of all Reel Youth programs.

“We want to give young people media production and storytelling skills,” he said, adding that even if participants don’t move further into making videos, there are a number of skills that are useful across the board.

Storytelling skills can be useful in many scenarios, he said, joking that for some youth it might even come into play when they’re asking their families if they can borrow the car or go out with friends for the night.

Along with the technical and creative skills that may be gained, Vonesch said Reel Youth aims to build leadership skills, helping them build on their sense of self-worth and speak up for themselves.

As for those who applied to be part of the program, Vanesch said, “It’s a mix.”

While all are interested in learning about how to make music videos, some took note of the program themselves and applied, while others had family members point it out to them and suggest they apply. For many its an opportunity to learn new skills and, for many, who have been dealing with the isolation of COVID-19 over the last two years, it’s a way to meet new people who may share a similar interest.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at

Stephanie Waddell

About the Author: Stephanie Waddell

I joined Black Press in 2019 as a reporter for the Yukon News, becoming editor in February 2023.
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