The weekly broadcast series Follow Me to Brooksville is a vibrant, professionally produced piece of video art that takes the viewer inside some of the most original–and beautifully designed–businesses in Brooksville. Complete with business owner interviews, music, comedy, and graphics, it should come as no surprise that Follow Me to Brooksville is the creation of a skilled, experienced television production team. What might be surprising is the fact that, at the time of the series production, this team had yet to graduate high school.
Follow Me to Brooksville is presented by Main Street Brooksville, sponsored by T-Mobile, and produced by NCT Films – the film department at Nature Coast Technical High School, under the guidance of Digital Video Production teacher Ian Wald.
And while Wald did teach the students the skills needed to write, produce, film, and present this 20-part series, broadcast on YouTube and Facebook, he stresses that–when it comes to Follow Me to Brooksville–the kids are running the show.
“The students are making this show 100 percent their own. These are my most advanced students,” he said. “I hosted the first couple of episodes and set the template–then gave them the independence to film, host, edit, produce, everything.”
Follow Me to Brooksville finds its origins in several video projects that NCT Films completed pro bono for Main Street Brooksville, as an act of community service. Then, Main Street Brooksville’s Tina Marie Polson commissioned the film department to produce and direct a series that would take viewers on a tour of some of the most unique and artistically inspired businesses in Brooksville.
“Tina shoots us over the names of the businesses,” said Wald. “And the kids get to work.”
The debut episode of Follow Me To Brooksville focused on Easy Street Home Decor, in which host Ian Wald interviewed owner Bob Angier.
“Learn about the history of the location, the cool stuff you can find inside, and fun facts about Bob,” read the video description.
A student host took over in episode 3, which focused on The Mirador.
“What better way to experience downtown Brooksville than to stay in a historic bed & breakfast in the heart of downtown?” reads the episode description. “Join host Drew Kelly of NCT Films as he follows innkeepers Gerald and Kala Johnston to showcase this jewel that was brought back to life.”
Regardless of the topic of each individual episode, the mission of Follow Me to Brooksville remains the same.
“The aim is always to meet the needs of the client,” said Elizabeth Breden, a recent NCTHS graduate who played a key role in the Follow Me to Brooksville production. “And, in this case, to direct more people to the businesses of Brooksville.”
And for students, says Breden, the objective is always to learn as much as possible about the media production business.
“We’ve all tried every job–Mr. Wald made sure of that,” she said. “We hosted, we wrote, we did audio, we operated the camera. It was hands on experience.”
Regardless of the particular job that one assumes in the production of Follow Me to Brooksville, the participating student learns a little something about creativity and innovation.
“A lot of broadcast production involves throwing something at the wall and seeing what sticks,” she said with a chuckle.
Breden said that she has derived tremendous benefit from her role in the creation of Follow Me to Brooksville; so much so, in fact, that she is now poised to begin a full-time career in film and video production.
“I’m looking for film jobs,” she said.
And by being a member of the Follow Me to Brooksville team, Breden also learned a great deal about her own community.
“There’s so much that I didn’t know was here in Brooksville,” she said. “There’s so much to experience.”
And, says Natalie Kahler, Brooksville Main Street Executive Director, that’s the whole idea behind Follow Me to Brooksville.
“People walking through Brooksville might see these buildings, and have no idea what’s inside,” she said. “By watching this show, they can discover their hometown.”
“Follow Me to Brooksville is all about storytelling,” she said. “And here, the story is Brooksville.”