I have been out of high school for more years than I care to count, but I’ve still seen a few of Claremore High School’s famous lip dubs. They are released each year in May and are always a hot topic on social media in these parts. Haven’t seen any? Here is the 2015 video, At the Movies. Decades was the theme of 2014. They’re a lot of fun to watch, and I was curious as to how they came about. So I tracked down the man behind the curtain, so to speak: Jeff Faulconer.
Jeff is originally from Vinita, and has been teaching for 16 years. He spent three years at Claremore’s Alternative Learning Campus, and has now been at CHS for 13. He coaches softball and baseball, and also teaches a computer applications course. You know, all the Microsoft goodies that you need to know in the workforce: Word, PowerPoint, Excel. Back in 2011, he started teaching a video editing course. The goal was to teach students the basics of Adobe Premier Pro. That evolved into the weekly school newscast, ZTV. (Zebra TV, get it?) Back in 2011, the first class had about 15 students; today it has more than 70 over the span of the school year.
Students work on the broadcast each week, and it’s aired on Fridays during the school day. I asked Coach Faulconer how it’s presented, and he must have known how old I am, because he asked if I remembered watching Channel One back in the day. (Don’t lie. Y’all remember it, too.) Well, most of the classrooms still have those ancient television sets from the olden days, and Coach would burn the broadcast onto a DVD and take it to the “brain” of the TV sets in the library. Nowadays, he can simply export the content to the ZTV website and send teachers the link. They air it in class, and it’s also shown on a projector screen in “the pit” so anyone can watch. Broadcasts are usually less than 10 minutes long, so as not to interfere with class time.
The class chooses which segment each student will work on: anchors, sports, specials, intro, camera, or graphics. This gives those who want to shine on camera a chance to do so, and lets the more technical kids do their behind-the-scenes work.
In 2012, the program expanded even more, as ZTV began live-streaming CHS sports through its website. Students take turns running the cameras, producing, and directing. All the football games are covered, several softball, baseball and volleyball games, all of regular season basketball, and a few wrestling matches. In addition to having the games live, they are also archived for later viewing. To help off-set the cost of the program, sponsors are recruited to advertise on the site with web banners and student-produced commercials (I saw a couple, and they are really impressive!). Sponsors will be featured in more than 40 live varsity events! If you’re interested in sponsorship information, contact Coach Faulconer at email@example.com.
The broadcasts are fun, and the sports are exciting, but with such an influx of new students to impress each year, Coach decided it was time to brainstorm and come up with a new class project. In 2012, the first lip-dub was produced. Ambitions were high, and it was decided that to really be successful, the entire school would need to be involved. Coach Faulconer spoke to every sports coach and club representative and pitched the idea. All were excited, but many didn’t think it would work.
The class got busy choosing the lip syncers and assigning various areas of the school to each club or sporting team. They began practicing three months in advance. On the day of the filming, the entire school executed two practice runs. The third time’s the charm!
Each year, the lip dub has a theme, tons of props, lots of costumes, and 1300 kids. At the end, the idea is to get all 1300 in one place at the same time. And if you’ll notice, the camera operator is walking backwards the majority of the time. Now that you know a little bit about the history of the CHS lip-dub, you can watch the inaugural video from 2012!
I’ll tell you one thing the lip-dub does a great job doing: it makes Claremore High School look like the most fun place on the planet! Here’s to another great school year and another successful season of ZTV.
-MCM Staffer Ashley,
who thinks the lip-dubs look really fun!