Video doesn’t lie: Local students recognized for talents

May 26, 2014

By Neil Pierson

New: May 26, 11:41 a.m.

Music videos are a form of storytelling, and four Skyline High School students decided to weave a story of their own around a well-known song.
Students Damian Banki, Jeremy Millar, Langston Nichols and Andrea Gomez acted in, filmed and edited a 3-minute, 46-second video set to the background of Coldplay’s “Paradise.”

From left, Skyline High School students Langston Nichols, Andrea Gomez, Jeremy Millar and Trevor Thacker-Beach, along with Damian Banki (not pictured) have been nominated for student Emmy Awards for their outstanding video productions.   Photo by Neil Pierson

From left, Skyline High School students Langston Nichols, Andrea Gomez, Jeremy Millar and Trevor Thacker-Beach, along with Damian Banki (not pictured) have been nominated for student Emmy Awards for their outstanding video productions. Photo by Neil Pierson


Their work was recently nominated for a student Emmy Award by the Northwest chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Their adaptation of “Paradise” is one of six nominations in the music video category, and they’ll have a chance to win the award at the 51st annual Northwest Regional Emmy Awards, June 7 in Seattle.
Millar, who edited the video, also played the protagonist, who has to find a way to escape a beating from a bully, played by Banki.
“It is basically me getting beat up by Damian … and I retreat into my mind and go on this whole adventure through the forest, and I find Andrea,” Millar explained.
It wasn’t a lengthy shoot as Banki and Millar finalized their idea and filmed for about five hours. The editing process, however, took about six weeks.
Gomez, who said she has very little prior acting experience, appears as a friendly angel of sorts in the dream world.
“I guess I was trying to help him escape from the pain that he was feeling,” Gomez said. “Honestly, they just kind of called me up and said they had an idea for a video and they wanted me to be in it. So I just agreed to that and went along with whatever they had planned.”
Nichols and Millar also teamed up for another Emmy-nominated video, “A Smile for the City,” in which they showed homeless residents at Tent City 4 in Sammamish getting free dental care.
Miller directed and edited the 3-minute, 20-second piece, and Nichols served as cinematographer. It includes interviews with Tent City residents and the dentists who cared for them, and is one of three award nominees in the public affairs/community service category.
“Jeremy was really the one with the idea, and the one who drove the whole project,” Nichols said. “I was just kind of there to help. It was kind of an interesting process – not really structured. We just started going up to people who were coming in and asking them if they wanted to be interviewed.”
Nichols began doing video work in middle school. He recently graduated from an internship to a paid position with a video production company in Redmond, and he shoots skateboarding videos of his friends in his spare time.
He’s interested in a career in the film industry, and being nominated for a student Emmy is a nice step along that path.
“It’s a real cool feeling, just knowing that you’re going to be noticed for your work,” Nichols said. “It’s also a good feeling to know that you can put that on a résumé or a job description and let people know.”
A fifth Skyline student, Trevor Thacker-Beach, was also nominated in the arts and entertainment category for his movie-review series, “Trevor’s Trailers.”
Thacker-Beach has been reviewing movies for about two years. His process is structured – two to four new-release movie viewings on the weekends, script writing on Mondays and Tuesdays, filming on Wednesdays and editing on Thursdays.
“Trevor’s Trailers” are set against a green screen, so he can use a variety of backgrounds in his 1-2 minute reviews.
“I do it for fun, but I’ve definitely gotten better at it over the years, and it’s something that I improve on every week,” Thacker-Beach said.
The junior is enrolled in a television production class at Skyline, and instructor Bob Palmer was the first person he told after receiving word of the Emmy nomination.
“Palmer is a great teacher – he knows every trick in the book, so he’s taught me a lot of that stuff,” Thacker-Beach said. “Probably the biggest thing I’ve taken from it is independence, but also skills is a big part of it. Getting into more advanced editing and using different video tricks.”

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