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What can you study at Scuola Holden exactly?
Half of the time students spend at school is focused on the specific topics of the College they have chosen. Colleges are: Brand New, Cinema, Digital Storytelling, Reporting, Scrivere (Writing), Seriality & TV. Then there’s a seventh College, which we have named just Storytelling, where classes are only in English. For all the rest of the time we teach students how to become storytellers, professionals who will work in storytelling.
Can’t they study the same things at university?
Maybe yes but it would be a bit like taking cooking classes from a food and wine critic instead of learning from a cook. Plus there’s a number that makes all the difference; 21. At Scuola Holden, on average, a Master works with 21 students. As there are also plenary classes, students often get to have lessons in groups of ten, five or three people. That’s not really what happens in Media studies at university, is it?
I don’t really understand what “Digital Storytelling” is.
That’s normal, we took a while to understand that ourselves. Let’s say that stories are not only found on paper, on TV or at the cinema. They have evolved or they have just learnt to keep up with technology (and better than us humans). So if you’re thinking about videogames, the Internet, Facebook, smartphones and all the other evil stuff and contraptions your kids spend ages on, you’re on the way to understanding Digital Storytelling. But don’t worry about it, you’re safe for now. Nobody’s going to take paper books away.
So basically, what’s my kid going to do when they grow up?
They’re going to work in storytelling. In very many ways which range from more classic ones, like being a journalist, to more modern ones, like writing contents for websites or overseeing a business’s social media. The good thing is they’re all very stable long-lasting jobs. When it comes to creativity, no technology will ever replace workers. Think about it. As crazy as it may sound, working as a storyteller is more stable than working in a bank.
Do they get a diploma at the end of the two school years?
Yes. It’s a diploma in Storytelling & Performing Arts and it’s been acknowledged as such by professionals of storytelling for the past twenty years. It’s a prestigious business card which so far has allowed our graduates to excel on television and the radio, in publishing, cinema, theatre, advertising and animation. Here are some examples.
You have 170 students every year. Don’t classes risk being a bit disorganized?
No, because students attend plenary lessons like at Holden Start only on a few occasions. We have worked out that, on average, there are around 21 students per lesson. What also happens sometimes is that students have one-to-one lessons with the Master. Better than studying at elementary school!
Am I sent an end-of-school-year report card at home?
The two years at Scuola Holden are a long assessment where students get feedback from teachers, classmates and Masters. All of these evaluations are collected in the Libretto Elettronico dello studente (the Student’s Electronic Book). It’s not a traditional report card. It’s more like the picture of a student’s skills and portfolio of their best work. After graduation this tool is shared between Scuola Holden and business communities looking for human resources.
Are evaluations based on exams or tests?
Not really. The tests that students do don’t aim to assess their preparation. To put it simply, they don’t aim to check if they have studied. What matters is their ability to tell stories, in the most different ways. That’s why tests vary according to the College. For example, students from College Scrivere present stories that are discussed and assessed in class. Those from Digital Storytelling instead may have to present the benchmaking of digital products. Those from Seriality & TV may have to analyse a famous TV series and then try to write a ghost episode.
A ghost episode?
Yes, a made-up episode that will never be on TV (but still, it has what it takes to be).
So, to cut a long story short, no marks?
Not exactly. The Libretto Elettronico collects all of the information on the individual student and creates a profile that pictures their attitudes and abilities.