It’s not everyday that we at San Telmo Productions are part of a new global enterprise, but the New York Times recently reported on a new online language program that we filmed videos for in March in Buenos Aires. Middlebury College, a small Vermont college known for its rigorous foreign-language programs, is forming a venture with a commercial entity to develop online language programs for pre-college students. The college plans to invest $4 million for a 40 percent stake in what will become Middlebury Interactive Languages in partnership with K12 Inc.
In 5 intense days, we filmed over 30 scenes with 10 actors who were instructed to improvise and talk as they would with their natural Porteño accents. The scenes we shot are much funnier and realistic than normal language learning materials, and a great bond was developed between the young actors and the Middlebury professor, Heather. We shot with 3 HD cameras, tube lights, sound recording and about 4 people in production, which enabled things to go super smooth. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of having plenty of production folks–one PA is not enough!
At San Telmo Productions, we provided complete production services for the video shoot and also acted as local fixers. Our work began when just a little over 10 days from the shoot date we got a call and started casting actors, securing locations (we filmed in the famous Bauen Hotel, the San Telmo Market, and Calle Lanin, one of the most picturesque spots in Buenos Aires), location permits, and lining up the crew. Shooting was intense, but we didn’t go over schedule one day, even when we had more than 4 location changes.
American students need to learn more foreign languages. As someone who suffered through 12 years (YEARS!) of Spanish instruction and not learning even “donde esta la estación del tren”, and finally learning it on my own through emersion, the key is listening and copying how people talk in real situations. And we finally got to film some language videos that get it right!
Link to New York Times Article: