Friday, November 13, 2015

New Project: Documentary Short

Hello Students,
Documentaries are a great way to inform and delight the viewer. It can be a view into worlds that we rarely see. If you have access to someone unique, a place people don’t normally get to see or if you want to share a unique perspective than this is a great opportunity to share those things with the world. When shooting your documentary the idea is to shoot as much footage as you can, and weave it into something informative and entertaining through editing and timing. The goal should be a good story that is factual, informative and entertaining all at the same time. 

Documentary Project
Project Details and Requirements:
  • This can be a team or solo project
  • Final run time must be 3-5 minutes minimum, 10-15 minutes maximum
  • Each project must have a creative animated title sequence, this animation may be created in After Effects as motion graphics or created by hand as animation or stop motion, etc...
  • Must have a 2pop and tails at beginning and end: 3 seconds of padding, show production logos, title logos and credits at the end, followed by 3 seconds of padding at the end.
  • Each team must produce and use a production logo in the beginning of their documentary
  • Each team must produce a 1 page film proposal for approval. Upon approval a script or treatment must be written along with a storyboard or shot list.
  • Each team must screen a rough cut and a fine cut for feedback before turning in final version.
  • Each team must produce a press kit to document and promote your video project. Guidelines for the press kit are contained in the packet. Details are listed below
Schedule
Filmmakers must meet these deadlines for full credit:
  • Nov 18: Proposals Due
  • Dec 2: Preliminary Filming Complete
  • Dec 7: Rough Edit Ready for Review and Feedback
  • Dec 11: Final Edit Ready for Review and Feedback
  • Dec 16: Final Edit turned in complete with Press Kit and all required deliverables
Treatments for Documentaries: 
Since most documentaries and experimental films do not have scripts, they frequently use the treatment to summarize their project. The treatment for an experimental film should express what the audience is going to see, hear and feel – it should be clear and descriptive. The treatment for a documentary may be less descriptive because much of the information (the interview, for example) may not have been filmed yet: documentary treatments typically spend more time establishing the conditions of filming and the questions the filmmaker intends to address. Nonetheless, a documentary treatment should also establish what the film is going to look like and sound like to best of the director’s knowledge. It should present the issues and information to be investigated and what new perspectives the viewers may experience through the documentary film.

New Line Cinema Production Logo

Biographies,Press Kits and Logos: 
Each filmmaking team is responsible for assembling a press kit and writing the biography for their film. These materials are used to distribute the project to film festivals and for publicity.

Biography:
A biography is a brief, third-person description of the filmmaker(s). Information that is typically included in a biography includes: place of birth, place of residence, educational background, past projects, current projects, areas of interest.

A sample biography:
Jason Jakaitis is a filmmaking student at San Francisco State University and a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill’s Master of Arts program in Communications Studies. Born and raised in San Diego, he currently lives in the Upper Haight area of San Francisco. In 2007, Jason was awarded a Murphy Fellowship from the San Francisco Foundation, as well as a Personal Works grant from Film Arts Foundation and a New Filmmaker grant from Panavision. Jason's previous film, minutiae, is a 16mm narrative short that was awarded Special Jury Prize at the Portland International Short Short Film Festival, and screened at the 2007 Mill Valley, Humboldt and Santa Cruz film festivals.

Logos
Your team must produce a logo for your “production company”. This can be drawn by hand, created in photoshop or illustrator. It could be a still image, or even animated.

Press Kit:
Depending on the project, press kits can be composed of a variety of different kinds of information, but the overall goal of the kit is always the same: to provide the individual with as much relevant information about the film as possible. This information can then be used in articles, in film festival schedules, online “blurbs” and any other way that a festival would choose to promote the film.

Download and read a real press kit: Press Kit for  the film Some Kind Of Wonderful
Check out this press kit: Quivir Press Kit
Check out this press kit: Cave of Forgotten Dreams Press Kit

Press Kits require the following: 
  • Two or more still images from the film itself 
  • Two behind the scenes production stills taken with a camera, cell phone cam, ipod camera, point and shoot, etc 
  • One “headshot” photo of the director or filmmaker(s)
  • A one paragraph (3-4 sentence) synopsis of the film
  • A one paragraph biography of each filmmaker 
  • You can assemble your press kit using google docs, pages or word, indesign, photoshop or illustrator and turn it in as a PDF file
Behind the Scenes Production Still from Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"
Production Still from Werner Herzog's "Cave of Forgotten Dreams"





Good luck Filmmakers!

- Mr.W

Thursday, November 12, 2015

How to Write a Good GREAT Letter of Introduction


Hello Students,
Your next assignment is to create a "Letter of Introduction" that describes you! Your special traits, qualities, hobbies, and personal, educational and career goals. List your top 5 skills and abilities. It should consist of at least one page. Make sure to use correct spelling and grammar.

Letter of Introduction Assignment:

  • Must have same name/contact info formatting and font as your resume/references
  • This is an introduction letter, about you, written to people that may be viewing your portfolio
  • Should be about 1 page long

You letter should include:
  • Who you are
  • Where you are currently attending school
  • What courses you are currently enrolled in aside from standard courses (such as this ROP class your in right now)
  • Your top 5 work related skills
  • Special acknowledgments from employers/instructors
  • Future education plans
  • Hobbies or other activities you enjoy
  • Discuss what is contained in your portfolio
  • Discuss the type of work/projects/activities you enjoy the most in school

Sample Introduction Letter:

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

John Star
242 Crest St.
Capitola, CA 95010
(831) 553-2323
jostar@yahoo.com
Date

To Whom It May Concern:

I am currently attending Soquel High School where I will be graduating this year in June. I have enrolled in ROP classes, which are business-oriented. ROP classes have given me a closer look at the business world and I have learned excellent work skills. 

My top five work skills are:
  • Excellent communication skills with strong listening skills
  • Responsible and reliable with attention to detail
  • Strong team player who thrives in teamwork situations
  • Good computer skills
  • Excellent time management skills
I have received special acknowledgement from my employers for strong skills and work ethics.
I recently was accepted to CalPoly and plan to go there in the Fall and pursue a degree in Agribusiness. After receiving my degree, I plan to work in my family’s strawberry farming business. Eventually, I hope to be the president of the business. I have many hobbies including surfing, skiing and playing baseball but most of all, I enjoy riding my horse up in the hills. It gives me a sense of freedom and independence.

My portfolio shows some of the skills and abilities I have acquired in while attending Soquel High School and throughout my work experience. I have always enjoyed landscaping and have enrolled in the Horticulture class for my last semester of high school. From my past experience you will notice that I enjoy working especially when I leave the job better than it was when I first got there. I have been doing tree work for three years and have worked for commercial and residential customers. Thoroughness and safety are some of my favorite qualities.

Included in this portfolio, is my resume summarizing my schooling, work experience, and skills. In addition I have a list of references, letters of recommendation, and samples of my work. I hope you enjoy reviewing my portfolio.

Sincerely,

John Star






Due by Thursday!

 - Mr.W

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Writing a Good Great List of References

Students,
It is incredibly important to develop a great list of references. These references will help you obtain jobs, college admissions or acceptance into special programs.

Who makes a good reference?
  • Teacher
  • Coach
  • Counseler
  • Present or past employer
  • Family friend
  • Anyone that can speak highly of your abilities, skills and worth

References to avoid:
  • Anyone under 18
  • Personal friends
  • family members
  • Anyone who cannot speak highly of your abilities or skills

Important Tips:

  • The format of your references should match your resume exactly, same header, same fonts.
  • Do not include references on your resume
  • Include at least three references
  • All references should be responsible adults who know you well and can speak to your character and skills
  • Always ask whether or not someone is willing to be a reference before including them in your list
  • Verify the contact information before handing over to an employer


Format:
Use the following format for your references

Persons Name:   Bob Smith
Address:            123 Fake Street
                          Santa Cruz Ca, 95060
Phone #:             (831) 555-4321
Title and              Business Owner
work place:         Moland Spring Bottled Water

Grading:
Your resume's and reference lists are graded assignments. For a total of 10 points, grading is as follows:
2Pts - Resume and List of References is complete per Handbook Guidelines
2Pts - Resume and List of References is well formatted and easy to read
2Pts - Resume and List of References contains no typos or errors
2Pts - Resume and List of References are two separate documents with consistent style, font and header
2Pts - Resume and List of References are emailed to me as PDF files with descriptive file names (don't send a file called "untitled.pdf")

Due on tuesday...


- Mr. W

Monday, November 9, 2015

How to Write a Good Great Resume and List of References!

Hello Students,
Having a solid resume is the cornerstone to your job future. A well written and well designed resume is what sets you apart from other job applicants. A perfectly written job application, a quality resume and a list of positive references is the job seekers trifecta. In this class we will teach you these skills and more. Below is a list of writing tips, read over it before finalizing your resume.

Link, right click to download: ROP PORTFOLIO HANDBOOK

Resume Writing Tips:
Communication, Clarity, Information Hierarchy:
Choose fonts that are complimentary to each other and assist in creating information hierarchy, this helps the reviewer find the information they need quickly. Choose a good sans serif font for your section titles and a complimentary serif font for the rest.

Have an objective:
Know the purpose of your resume and edit it for different job scenarios. Having a focused job objective listed on your resume will help you with attaining an interview and getting hired.

Back up your special skills with job experience:
List your skills but make sure your listed job experience, training or education reflects those skills. Are you really good at making websites? Let them know how and where you learned that skill.

Research and use the right keywords:
Every industry has its own language, research job offerings and pay attention to the keywords that are used. If you put your resume online with a job placement service they will often use certain keywords to search their database for potential hires.

Be descriptive with job experience:
A job title will communicate your role, but not the details of your work experience. List the duties, tasks, activities, skills and achievements that were part of your job.

Format your text:
Use bold text to start each section. Use bullets for lists. Make the document easy to quickly scan and read. Clarity of format is crucial, you have ten seconds before the employer will move on to another applicant.

List most recent job experience first:
This also goes for education, list the most recent first. If your still in High School you can say "future class of 2012", or "Currently attending HS".

List most important skills first:
When writing out your skill list make the most important skills the first ones on the list. If you are applying for a web design job, list your web skills first. Change and edit this for different industries/jobs.

Leave out the obvious:
It is not necessary to add "available for interview" or "references available upon request". References are standard and expected, and of course you are available for an interview. Thats the whole point!

Avoid negativity:
Don't trash talk past employers or state that you didn't like a past job. Simply state that you were looking for future opportunities.

Go with what you got:
If you haven't had work experience yet, just list any summer jobs, volunteer experience etc. If you have hobbies that are relevant to the job you can list those. If you don't have a diploma or degree then just list your estimated date for completion.

Proofread your resume:
Have your neighbor or classmate read your resume. Sometimes the spellchecker doesn't catch typos. The more eyeballs that see your resume before it gets in the hands of the employer the better.

Although these resumes contain similar information, styles do vary.

Resume Writing Assignment:
  • Download the ROP Career Portfolio Handbook and follow the template to write your own resume from scratch
  • Create a 1 page resume that meets the handbook requirements for all included information
  • Use the program or online tools of your choice to write your resume
  • Demonstrate good typography, spelling and accuracy, make sure your resume shows good information hierarchy so it is simple to read and each section is listed clearly
  • Drop your resume into your folder on the Network Attached Storage as a PDF file to get credit


List of References Assignment:
Students,
It is incredibly important to develop a great list of references. These references will help you obtain jobs, college admissions or acceptance into special programs. A strong reference will refer to your skills, abilities, competencies, experience and accomplishments to a potential employer and can be the key to employment or the first step towards a new career.

Who makes a good reference?
  • Employers
  • Co-workers
  • Teachers
  • Coach's
  • Counselors
  • Family friends if they are over 18
  • Anyone that can speak highly of your abilities, skills and worth

References to avoid:
  • Anyone under 18
  • Personal friends
  • Immediate family members
  • Anyone who cannot speak highly of your abilities or skills

Important Tips:

  • The format of your references should match your resume exactly, same header, same fonts.
  • Do not include references on your resume
  • Include at least three references
  • All references should be responsible adults who know you well and can speak to your character and skills
  • Always ask whether or not someone is willing to be a reference before including them in your list
  • Verify the contact information before handing over to an employer


Format:
Use the following format for your references

Persons Name:   Bob Smith
Address:            123 Fake Street
                          Santa Cruz Ca, 95060
Phone #:             (831) 555-4321
Title and              Business Owner
work place:         Moland Spring Bottled Water

Grading:
Your resume's and reference lists are graded assignments. For a total of 10 points, grading is as follows:
2Pts - Resume and List of References is complete per Handbook Guidelines
2Pts - Resume and List of References is well formatted and easy to read
2Pts - Resume and List of References contains no typos or errors
2Pts - Resume and List of References are two separate documents with consistent style, font and header
2Pts - Resume and List of References are emailed to me as PDF files with descriptive file names (don't send a file called "untitled.pdf")

Due on tuesday...


- Mr. W

- Mr.W

Monday, October 19, 2015

The Art of The Storyboard

Students,
For our video projects you may be asked to create storyboards or shot lists, read through the content below to get started on your own boards/lists:

Shot Lists:
A shot list is like a storyboard but without visuals. You simply describe the action, lighting, setting, dialogue and camera angle. 

For instance: 
  • Fade up on football field, eye level camera
  • Low camera level, player runs onto field
  • Cut to side shot, track with player

The basic idea is to create a recipe that you can follow when you go out to shoot your project...



The Art Of The Storyboard:
After a concept is established for a film, a script can then be created and storyboards can be executed to visualize the film. A storyboard is meant to represent the framing, action and elements in each shot in a sequence. It is a valuable tool to draw from when actual shooting begins.

Your storyboard should convey essential information:
  • What characters are in the frame, are they moving? Seated? Standing?
  • What are the characters saying, seeing or experiencing
  • How much time is passing, is it a long panning shot? Or a quick succession of shots?
  • Where is the camera? High, low? Over the shoulder? Birds-eye view? Is the camera moving or still?

After storyboard creation do not be afraid to change camera angles, dialogue etc... this is all part of the creative process.

Draw your storyboard in pencil so that some shots or text can be reworked. Your artwork does not need to be fancy, use basic shapes, stick figures and simple backgrounds.

Use language to describe camera angles and shot styles:
CLOSE-UP SHOT:   A close range of distance between the camera and the subject.
DISSOVLE: A transition between two shots, where one shot fades away and simultaneously another shot fades in. 
FADE: A transition from a shot to black where the image gradually becomes darker is a Fade Out; or from black where the image gradually becomes brighter is a Fade In. 
HIGH CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks down on its subject making it look small, weak or unimportant. 
JUMP CUT: A rapid, jerky transition from one frame to the next, either disrupting the flow of time or movement within a scene or making an abrupt transition from one scene to another. 
LEVEL CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which is even with the subject; it may be used as a neutral shot. 
LONG SHOT:  A long range of distance between the camera and the subject, often providing a broader range of the setting. 
LOW CAMERA ANGLE:  A camera angle which looks up at its subject; it makes the subject seem important and powerful. 
PAN:  A steady, sweeping movement from one point in a scene to another. 
POV (point of view shot): A shot which is understood to be seen from the point of view of a character within the scene. 
REACTION SHOT: A shot of someone looking off screen. 2.: A reaction shot can also be a shot of someone in a conversation where they are not given a line of dialogue but are just listening to the other person speak. 
TILT:  Using a camera on a tripod, the camera moves up or down to follow the action. 
ZOOM:  Use of the camera lens to move closely towards the subject.



Thursday, October 15, 2015

Video Production Scavenger Hunt

Hello Students,

Your next assignment will be graded on your ability to accomplish 20 specific technical shots or techniques and how creative you can be within those constraints while creating a video project. Minimum video length 2 minutes, 4-5 minutes max. We will discuss all these techniques and how to accomplish them in class. You will also be graded on time management, working in teams effectively and ability to meet the deadlines.

Teams will be chosen by picking numbers. Teamwork is crucial on this project, every one must participate and contribute to the final project. You will work in teams of 4.

Teams will shoot footage and share among each other, each team member will produce their own final edit of the project for grading.

20 Video Production Techniques
Video Project Specifications:
1 Page proposal/pitch must be approved before production can begin.

Production Schedule:
Oct 16 - Proposal Due
Oct 20 Script, Storyboard or Shot List Due
Oct 27 - Preliminary Shooting Complete
Oct 30 Rough Cut Edit Due
Nov 3rd -  Final Editing Complete and ready to present to class


Format: The final format of the video is your choice, it could be a music video, action video, narrative or experimental. You could even make an instructional video about these video production techniques. Here are some format options:

  • Produce a video about the positive people and events at our school 
  • Produce 1 or more Public Service Announcements around a current local/social/environmental issue
  • Produce a "Statement Video" on a topic that is personally important to you
  • Produce a music video
  • Produce a short narrative (drama, intrigue, wizards?)
  • Produce 1 or more comedy skits and format it as a short comedy show

Grading: For full credit your video project must contain one example of each of the 20 shots listed below. Shots may be combined, for example a twin shot that is created with a green screen. Camera work should be smooth and steady. Editing should be well timed and without edit glitches or gaps. Must have titles and tails. All deadlines listed above must be met on time.

Rules: No content that glorifies violence, drug or alcohol use. Music must have family friendly lyrical content. 

Note: Each team member must take turns shooting and acting. Outside actors or camera operators allowed. Teams may help each other for difficult shots. All project storyboard/scripts/shot lists must be approved by me before production can begin.

Each team member is responsible for editing their own final version of the video, no group efforts with editing.

A shotlist and storyboard must be created and the final video must contain 1 example each of the shots or effects listed below:


1. Silhouette Shot - actor or actors must be silhouetted against a background


2. Green Screen Shot - actor or actors shot against green screen, background must be keyed out and replaced with background still image or video


3. Single Source LighCloseup - actor or actors shot closeup with single light source for high contrast


4. Shadow Shot - camera shows shadow only, can pan up to actor after, or show interaction between two characters through shadow only


5. Twins - use static camera and split screen effect to show actor and a "double"


6. Window Illusion - overlay semi-transparent video over actor or actors to simulate window reflection


7. Frame Within A Frame - look for environments or architecture that "frames" your actor or actors




8. Background Slide - use a sideways camera movement to give the impression that the background is moving behind your actor or actors


9. Handheld Dolly Shot - follow the action with a handheld shot, must use a tripod as a counterweight to reduce camera shake, change camera height during shot


10. Fall Away - camera walks backwards from actor or actors


11. Walk In - shot begins on actor 1, in the foreground or background actor 2 steps into frame


12. Camera Flow - shot begins with Handheld Dolly Shot following actor 1 walking to the right, actor 2 passes in foreground going in opposite direction and camera changes direction to follow actor 2. This change in direction can happen 2-3 times



13. Spin Shot - camera spins around actor or actors 360 degrees


14. Motionless Camera - camera is tripod mounted, focus on motion in scene, all actor or actors must be moving. extras can help add energy to a scene


15. Whip Cut - camera quickly sweeps away from scene, edit is made to seem like camera ends on a second scene, also called a sweep cut


16. Slow Motion - Video source is slowed down by 75%. slowing down any more can be done but render time is increased. Ask me how to do extreme slow motion with Adobe After Effects.




17. Pass Through Wall - Camera moves up to wall, fades to second shot inside moving towards center of room. Can also be pass through window, pass through keyhole etc...


18. Extreme Angle - camera angle has extreme foreshortening or perspective


19. Saturated Color Background - actor or actors are shot against a background of mostly a single vivid color, such as a brightly colored wall, green grass, etc...


20. Textured Background - actor or actors shot against textured background, brick wall, fence posts, tree bark, ivy etc...

Extra information about these shots can be researched online... have fun!

- Mr. W