In this media-focused world, audiences are bombarded with messages, and are left to try to make sense of an overwhelming amount of information. How can our messages actually cut through the clutter to help motivate new awareness, new behaviors? Which strategies lead to a more effective use of media? Today’s students need a sophisticated sense of how media works and what it does, to become better communicators themselves.

The Blue Horizons summer program brings together students interested in digital media production and environmental studies to learn about important issues of the global ocean from a local, California perspective. A coordinated series of interdisciplinary courses and related activities, Blue Horizons introduces students to scriptwriting; media portrayals of the environment; the biological, socio-economic, and political aspects of marine conservation; and the latest innovations in environmental filmmaking.

Students will gain the skills necessary to communicate effectively with their peers, scientists, policymakers, and the general public by producing short, compelling videos. Issues such as marine protected areas, sustainable fishing, watershed ecosystems, beach erosion, aquaculture, and others will be closely studied, providing a foundation for the research necessary to produce an informative film. Techniques of digital video camera operations, sound gathering, lighting, and editing with industry standard software will also be covered.


Blue Horizons is generously sponsored by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

The Benioff Ocean Initiative Environmental Media Fellowship program, generously funded by Marc and Lynne Benioff, provides financial support for Blue Horizons students.

The program is cosponsored by the Associated Student Coastal Fund, the Department of Film and Media Studies and UCSB Summer Sessions.

We are grateful to the National Marine Sanctuaries Channel Islands for its donation of stock video footage.