On the one hand, we have Reality TV–a phenomenon that even when it’s “good for us” cognitively à la Steven Johnson comes across as a kind of guilty pleasure. On the other, we have the world of the “serious documentary,” one whose teaching-and-learning potential appeals to media specialists and which this blog is constantly covering. But in between the two we have MTV’s highly engaging and very thoughtful The World of Jenks, which kicks off a new season this coming Monday. Like Reality TV, the series covers its subjects over an extended period of time but unlike it does not engage in exploitation or manufactured dramatics. It’s really an example of the documentary form that young people are responding to in the twenty-first century, but one that probably slips under the radar of both the doc community at large and K-12 educators.
Well, now the same Andrew Jenks behind that series (as well as notable projects for HBO and ESPN) has a book out, My Adventures as a Young Filmmaker, that details his early career in a way that’s breezily readable but never superficial or celebratory of TV’s glitz. The fact that its publisher is Scholastic gives you a sense of the target audience: this book may be perfect for inspiring youth interested in media production, and in any case would make a wonderful addition to the nonfiction section of a classroom library. And speaking of Scholastic, thanks are in order for providing a few copies of the book for SLJ readers. Look for a chat with Mr. Jenks himself down the road, but don’t wait until then to enter this giveaway…
1. Double-check that you live in the U.S. or Canada.
2. Leave a thoughtful comment here (through 11:59 pm ET March 5) or on any CTP post about documentaries. You can find a list of them here: http://blogs.slj.com/connect-the-pop/tag/documentary/
3. If you don’t see your comment, just contact me via email or Twitter (see below).
4. I’ll email the three winners, who’ll then be asked to provide (via me) their mailing addresses to the publisher. If I don’t hear back from you within 48 hours of notification, I’ll simply draw another name.