Watching Jackie Caravetto’s short film is a surreal experience. The Huntington High School junior and a team of fellow video arts students managed to master the so-called Mannequin Challenge, relying on several hundred students and teachers to create a seven minute work of art that has drawn the interest of thousands of YouTube viewers.
“The Mannequin Challenge is a new video trend where everyone freezes in time as a camera films the participants from all angles,” explained Heather Swan, who heads Huntington’s video arts program.
Whether it qualifies as a “craze” or not might be debatable, but one thing is certain: the Mannequin Challenge has captured America’s imagination, drawing interest from celebrities, businesses large and small, law enforcement departments and even one of the presidential campaigns.
At the recent Medal of Freedom ceremony at the White House, Ellen DeGeneres coaxed fellow honorees and other dignitaries to participate in a Mannequin Challenge. The group included Robert DeNiro, Bill Gates, Bruce Springsteen, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Tom Hanks, Diana Ross, Michael Jordan and many others – even the White House guards.
Huntington’s Mannequin Challenge played out in the principal’s office, hallways, the cafeteria and several classrooms, including Edward Florea’s science room, Brian Reynold’s wood shop, Kristin Singer’s art room, Nicole Castaldo’s orchestra room and Mrs. Swan’s video lab, among other spaces in the high school building.
“With the advanced video students doing most of the planning, Jackie Caravetto filming and several hundred students participating in acting, the Mannequin Challenge video was a huge success,” Mrs. Swan said.
Huntington junior Jackie Caravetto.
Ms. Caravetto is currently enrolled in Video 3. She plans to continue next year with the portfolio course. The teenager hopes to intern with Mrs. Swan as a senior.
“The project was so much fun to film and everyone did a great job in it, but a big challenge was getting everyone to be serious so they didn’t accidentally or purposely move or blink,” Ms. Caravetto said. “The editing took a lot of time. Mrs. Swan had to dedicate a lot of time to it and I spent every period I had could down in the video room working with her. We even stayed after school to work on it.”
The teenager and her faculty mentor already enjoyed a strong bond, but the relationship grew even tighter after working together on the Mannequin Challenge project.
“Mrs. Swan is probably one of the best teachers you’ll ever find,” Ms. Caravetto said. “She has taught me so much and she easily doubles as a teacher and a friend. I think I speak for many on that one.”
Ms. Caravetto is already scouting out possible colleges, including several in New York and California with fine film programs. She plans to study film and pursue a career in it
To view Huntington’s Mannequin Challenge visit https://youtu.be/WobQ030E7PI. As of Saturday night, the video had garnered more than 6,000 views on YouTube.
“We have done several of these projects over the years,” Mrs. Swan said. “Although they are very time consuming, I have a wonderful group of Video I students, which motivated me to continue the tradition. I am very thankful for everyone’s participation and especially Jackie for the fantastic job she did filming all the scenes.”