Whitman teacher takes second place for original screenplay

By Karen Watson

Christopher King, the Media Literacy and TV Production teacher at Whitman Middle School, won 2nd Place in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association’s 2011 literary contest for his original screenplay, “Little America.” From the slugline describing the plot:

When a private detective is hired under false pretenses to find an undocumented Chinese woman who holds damaging information on a Los Angeles businessman running for Congress, we’re taken on a wild ride through multicultural L.A. and the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, the influence of the metropolis’ melting pot on California cuisine is celebrated through the eyes of a German filmmaker who becomes unwittingly involved in this darkly funny game of chase.

King first entered the contest last year and took 1st Place for his original screenplay “Jade,” a humorous look at illegal trafficking of ancient antiquities set in Mexico and Spain. “One of the good things about winning this award is it gives me credibility with my students and shows them I’m not just some guy trying to teach them about script writing,” King commented.

Starting out as a camera man and editor on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., King later moved to Los Angeles to work in film and was hired with Paramount Pictures. After working in all aspects of film production, he began writing screenplays and did work for media websites. A friend working as a substitute teacher gave him the idea to get his teaching degree and he taught in L.A. for six years before moving to Seattle to be closer to family. King began teaching at Whitman in 2007, impressed with the fact that the school even had a TV production program since few Seattle middle schools offer such courses.

Students from Whitman have won recent awards for Outstanding Video Production at the 2011 Images of Youth Film Festival and some of their films have been selected to screen at the Young People’s Film and Video Festival in Portland, Oregon. King stated, “I have to continue my writing so that I can keep up with my students.” Taken as an elective, students in the TV Production learn every aspect of production from script writing to editing and many even create their own soundtracks for their films. The school even recently added an advanced class so that students can continue on for a second year.

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