KING CITY — Last Thursday evening at a gala event at the Monterey County Agricultural and Rural Life Museum (MCARLM) in King City, members of the community were audience to the world premiere of “Teens in Quarantine,” a video produced by the museum and directed by former intern Dominic Conricode.
After serving two terms as an intern for MCARLM, 2018-19 and 2019-20, Conricode had his plans to attend California State University Berkeley quashed due to campus closures. When approached by MCARLM Executive Director Jessica Potts about returning to the museum as mentor of the intern program, he agreed and acted in that capacity while attending online classes.
Interns for the museum are juniors and seniors from Greenfield and King City who serve a one-year term beginning in the summer and extending through the academic calendar until graduation; many who serve as juniors return as seniors giving continuity to the program.
The interns for the 2021 term were Greenfield High School senior Lissette Ortiz, King City High School (KCHS) juniors Penelope Riley and Tyler Doan, and KCHS senior Tania Perez. During the closure of San Lorenzo Park, the museum’s student outreach programs, annual events and all visitors came to a halt, giving the interns little opportunity to greet visitors, lead tours and give presentations, all important aspects of the intern experience.
To keep active the MCARLM mission of outreach and education, museum staff purchased video equipment and with Conricode as mentor, the interns began presenting short history-themed videos on social media sites Facebook and YouTube. These one-minute presentations of local history were the interns’ opportunity of hands-on learning of the many aspects of putting together a cohesive visual and audio presentation: how to frame a shot, how to use natural and artificial lighting, adding music and voice overlays and finally the editing to ensure the story is told in an informative and entertaining manner.
Each intern researched local history and wrote scripts for the narrative of their chosen subjects, which ranged from a look inside a train caboose to cattle ranching, from dairy farming to the founding of the local King City Rustler newspaper.
The seed for a more challenging video project was planted in the mind of Potts when in Conricode’s 2020 valedictory speech, she heard him relate how a closed campus and the loss of traditional activities had impacted seniors as Covid-19 pandemic restrictions were implemented on the KCHS campus.
She approached Conricode and asked if he would take on a project about student and staff actions, and reactions, to an off-campus academic year. He agreed to the proposal and threw himself into the yearlong effort.
With funding for the project provided by grants from the Arts Council for Monterey County, Community Foundation of Monterey County and Southern Monterey County Foundation, Conricode was free to proceed. Using “Teens in Quarantine” as his working title, he began setting up interviews with students, school staff and parents, choosing site locations, framing questions later asked of interviewees.
Interviews for the video were shot in school classrooms and offices and at students’ homes; included were visuals of campus buildings and grounds with impressive overhead views made possible by use of a drone camera. The finish product is a 48-minute look at how students and staff in the local community reacted to a pandemic that impacted the world and changed the lives of countless people.
Held in the MCARLM’s Main Exhibit Barn, the June 24 red carpet premiere offered attendees food and beverage and the opportunity to have their photo taken in front of the premiere marquee banner. Audience members included MCARLM staff and members of the board of directors, parents of students, members of the arts community and long-time supporters of the museum. And, of course, Conricode and interns Perez, Ortiz, Riley and Doan.
It is hoped that last week’s premiere of “Teens in Quarantine” will not be the last showing of the video. Potts would like to see it entered in appropriate video/film festivals so others outside the local community will have the opportunity to see how one small campus and its students reacted to a pandemic that changed their world and the world around them.