Pali Production Zooms Forward

By DAYNA DRUM | Reporter

In an old storage closet in the middle of Palisades Charter High School’s campus, a group of students have created their own media empire.

Recognized as ESE Network’s November Spotlight School, the Pali Production team is no stranger to competitions and awards yet continue to work hard. ESE provides a website platform and educational tools to many schools and chooses a school once a month to showcase.

Pali Production’s new website was built in just one month entirely by the students. The program’s leader Sean Passan, affectionately called Passan for short by his class, said he didn’t think the site would receive recognition so quickly.

Current and past members of Pali Production reunite to look at how much the program has grown.  Photo: Thomas Adjani/Pali High
Current and past members of Pali Production reunite to look at how much the program has grown.
Photo: Thomas Adjani/Pali High

“I knew that the work by the students in Pali Production was deserving, but you never expect that anyone outside the Pali community notices it,” Passan said.

There are about 30 students in the program and they agree it’s a lot of work—and a lot of fun—to be a part of the group.

“We worked so hard on that website,” said junior Kaylee Chung. “It paid off.”

Pali Production produces multiple shows, live streams sports events and works on various other projects involving broadcast and video. The program began as a club in 2006 and after a couple of years, a curriculum and a class began to take form.

Passan went unpaid for the first five years because it was the only way the class could continue. The only support came from the Pali High Booster Club and donations. Actually a history teacher, Passan stays with the program for the students.

“They are so impressive that I feel like I have to keep helping them improve the program so more students can pursue their passion,” Passan said.

On Dec. 9, Passan hosted an alumni day and invited several past students to speak to the class and share some of the work they are doing now. Sydney Ross, one of the alumni speakers, is a senior at the USC film school. She showed the class a little bit of her web series called “Eight Crazy Dates” following a woman going on eight different dates on each night of Chanukah.

Students were able to ask the alumni questions about applying to colleges and going forward with a career in production or broadcast.

On a tour of the facilities, Passan noted all of the space and equipment upgrades to the several past students, who reminisced on how little the program had during their time as a part of Pali Production.

“I don’t think other programs have the same challenges we do but it does have its advantages. My students learn how to problem solve and think on their feet. When we visit other schools my students often notice that they don’t know how to problem solve their equipment when issues arise,” Passan said.

Both of Pali Production’s small studios were once storage closets that the students cleaned out on their own time and made into functioning studios. One of them is an old storage space in the weight room so that they can easily live stream various sports games going on in the gym. At a volleyball tournament occurring earlier this semester, the group was asked to stop streaming the games because the games were actually losing attendees.

To the Pali Production crew, it was a good problem to have.

The program has helped lead some students to explore their passion and consider what career path they might take in the future.

“We get to work on what we want,” said sophomore Sam Slavkin.

Slavkin’s parents are both in the film industry and because of this class he is considering a future in the production industry.

Going forward, the Pali Production team is preparing for the Student Television Network Convention in March, competing against schools from across the country in various categories.

With some of the original Pali Production members beaming at the current students, Passan said, “For the first time, you guys are what they envisioned.”