When Pierre Shashkin, 17, isn’t busy with his studies at North Shore High School, he’s perfecting his cinematography skills at Nassau BOCES Barry Tech, a career-education school in Garden City. Most recently Pierre, of Glenwood Landing, had the chance to help produce a special project: a promotional video for Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
“We got the call last minute from the police department to help with a presentation,” Pierre said. “This was an amazing opportunity for us, and it really wasn’t expected.”
Pierre, who studies video production and digital filmmaking, worked with a small group of students to create a five-minute-long video tribute honoring Ryder. The film was screened at the Federal Drug Enforcement Awards dinner.
“The video was a biography of Commissioner Ryder,” said teacher Robyn Morgan, who advised the students on the project. “The video is showcased at the presentation and highlights the honoree’s life.”
Morgan explained that the six-person crew worked one-on-one with Ryder during production to hone the focus of the film. And though she was on hand to guide and direct the project, much of the physical and creative labor came from the students.
Filming began in mid-October. “We filmed the commissioner as he explained how the police try to track drug dealers and get them off the streets,” Pierre said. “We also filmed police vehicles, like cars and helicopters, and we were able to film around police headquarters.”
Pierre said that during production, each student had his or her own responsibility. “One person would help out with equipment, one person would operate the camera and one person would be holding the mic,” he said. “While we were editing, we all worked together to see which clips were better takes, so we knew what we could work with.”
Morgan said Ryder's office enjoyed the film so much that they would find projects for Barry Tech’s students to help them produce in the future.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Nassau BOCES students and their teacher, Ms. Robyn Morgan, for all of their hard work and dedication during this program,” said Ryder in an emailed statement. “Many times, this interaction increases interest in a career in law enforcement, thus, I would love to see one of these diligent and conscientious students in the Police Academy one day.”
Barry Tech offers over 40 hands-on courses designed to develop students’ skills and put them a step ahead. Classes are taught in state-of-the-art facilities simulating industry environments with the goal of providing real-world experience.
“They’re doing advanced studies in any given trade, in this case it’s TV and film production, and a project like this gives them experience of working with real clients,” Morgan said. “Here, they’re able to achieve what the client’s looking for while building up a portfolio of work for when they graduate.”
Pierre said the experience helped him anticipate what to expect when he eventually pursues a career in film. He added, “It’s an honor to be doing something for the police department since they keep our community safe.”