Class Spotlight: Contemporary Visual Media

Visual Media is a chance to examine films, TV shows, and other designated things.

Viviana Padilla, Columnist

Camille Hensel teaches Contemporary Visual Media, the class that explores films, TV shows, comics, graphic novels, and advertising. The class goes into depth with the films, examining different things about each film like storytelling techniques and character development. The new skills are introduced to the students that can be used in the future.

The Horizon Sun: What do you do in Visual Media?

Camille Hensel: In Visual Media, we examine films and TV shows, as well as other visual media such as comics, graphic novels, and advertising.  We are examining them for tropes, metaphor, elements of the heroic journey, storytelling techniques, and character development, among other things.

The Sun: When did this class first start?

Hensel: I’m not sure when this class first started, but I think it may have been the 2011-2012 school year. The class was developed by Mrs. Kingman.

The Sun: What made you want to teach this class?

Hensel: A couple years ago, Mr. [Ernest] Shand had a block of Contemporary Visual Media, and he was teaching it in the room next door to me. One day I heard the very distinctive sound of the TARDIS, so I poked my head into his room and they were watching “Doctor Who.” I wanted to be able to show “Doctor Who” in class.

The Sun: How do you think the class is going so far?

Hensel: The class seems to be going well. We have all broadened our horizons in terms of media we’ve seen, and we have worked on skills that will help in other classes such as English.

The Sun: What have your classes done so far?

Hensel: This year, CVM has looked at tropes in movies like “Enchanted,” looked at the heroic journey in “The Lord of the Rings,” looked at storytelling techniques in animated films, and looked at differences between American media and media from other countries.

The Sun: Have you taught a visual media class before or anything like it?

Hensel: This is the first time I’ve taught CVM.  The closest I’ve come to teaching a similar class is teaching mythology.

The Sun: What is your favorite thing about teaching visual media?

Hensel: My favorite thing about teaching CVM is that I’m helping students develop the skills needed to be intelligent consumers of information.

The Sun: Do you think that you would teach it again if you had the choice?

Hensel: Yes, I would teach it again — but I would be willing to teach any of the electives that I’ve taught before.

The Sun: Besides the kids learning new things do you think you have learned anything new?

Hensel: Yes, I’ve learned new things.  I’d never seen “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” before watching it for this class, so I had never known how full of metaphor the show is.