Monday, December 19, 2016

Video Production and Animation Final: Demo Reel and ROP Print Portfolio

As part of your final you will produce a high energy demo reel that showcases your work during the semester. You will also complete your ROP print portfolio. Both of these items are due on the 18th.

Demo Reel Project:
Having a compelling demo reel is a key component in communicating your talents and digital media skills to potential employers and clients. You final project is to create a demo reel that showcases your skills. Read: Pixars tips on creating a demo reel

  • Choose a short and high energy piece of music to edit your demo reel to, make sure you have this ready before you begin editing
  • Launch Adobe Premiere and begin adding all of your rendered animation assets and video projects from the semester (work from other classes or prior semesters/independent work is allowed)
  • Create an intro slide plus an ending title slide with your name and email address
  • Edit your slides, images, animations and videos to your music, make sure to edit on the beat of your music track to keep it compelling
  • Demo reel music and action should crescendo towards the end
  • Keep the demo reel down to 1 minute or 1:30 approximately
  • Include tails and 2-pop
  • Turn in via NAS or SNET in full HD H.264 with 10Mbps Data Rate

ROP Print Portfolio Project:

Having a polished and professional looking portfolio is key to your success in finding work after High School and moving on to developing a career. Download the ROP Portfolio Handbook to use as a guide for creating your own portfolio, a requirement in all ROP classes.

Portfolio's are due by the end of the semester and must be ready for presentation, evaluation and critique. You will complete a digital version as a PDF file for evaluation. Class winner will be able to print and prepare their portfolio for inclusion in the Portfolio Showcase competition. This portfolio is part of your final grade.

Remember that the best portfolio in class will be sent to the portfolio design competition that ROP has at the end of each school year, your portfolio will compete against other graphic design classes across the county, and there are prizes!
A judge evaluates print portfolio's from past entrants...

Portfolio Development Assignment:
  • Your portfolio must be created in Indesign and the final file must be a multi-page PDF document
  • Use the Pages palette to create multiple pages for your portfolio with Indesign
  • Your portfolio cover, table of contents and all materials should look clean and consistent. Use consistent design style across all aspects of your portfolio, this includes color, typography, layout and style

Your Portfolio must contain in this order: See portfolio handbook for more details...
  1. Cover page with your name, class title, year. Spend some time on this, it should show good design skill and be reflective of your personality
  2. Table of contents
  3. Letter of Introduction
  4. Resume
  5. Handwritten Job Application 
  6. List of References
  7. Letter of Recommendation -  cannot be from your ROP teacher or a family member
  8. 3 or more work samples with written explanation about the work, why is it important to your career choice? What did the project entail, what were the challenges and difficulties? Give us details.
How Your Portfolio Is Evaluated:
  • Contains required content and format
  • Well organized
  • Free of grammer problems
  • ROP related work samples
  • Shows creativity
  • Nice appearance
  • Shows skill development
  • Appropriate for use in job search
  • Professional appearance
  • Nice presentation
A print portfolio can take many forms, it can be professionally bound, stitched by hand or bound with a spiral ring... how will you create your portfolio, what will make it stand out above the rest?

Tips For Winning The Portfolio Competition:
In the last few years the portfolio competition has gotten fierce, especially for the graphic design category. Other schools have printing facilities that we don't, so you must use your creativity, ingenuity and eye for design to stand above the rest. Consider purchasing a large format portfolio binder and printing work samples at 11X17", or consider making a hand-bound book format to showcase your work. The limits are only contained by your creativity!
Use this as a rough guide to laying out your own portfolio...
Ok, have fun!

Student Portfolio Design Samples:

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Final Video Project: Pre-Production Phase

Hello Students,
Read all details of this post to learn how to proceed on your final project. In this pre-production phase of your final project you will create, develop and refine the vision of your film. Consider this a guideline or rough sketch for your project. Though many aspects are to be considered this work is invaluable for ensuring your vision is executed with thoughtfulness.

Scenes from Mel Stones short film "Red".

Storyboards, Scripts, Shot lists and Beatsheets:
Only students that have pre-approved project proposals may move onto this planning, or "pre-production" phase.

For you team/solo project you must decide what planning format to use for your project. While professional production will have multi-faceted planning phases, your time is limited to the method that will benefit your project the most. Traditionally, scripts, storyboards and shot lists are all developed to create a solid vision, this is crucial to ensure that project and client budgets are used efficiently.

For Dialogue heavy, original drama's or adaptive projects a script with minimal scene direction is often of most value.

For Original works, read up on the popular Beatsheet method for creating a compelling story arc. details below. If your struggling to come up with an idea that works as a film read the Beatsheet outline below and use it as a guide to create your own vision.

For documentaries or experimental films, a shot list... detailing locations, subjects, context, narration, interviews (also called A-roll footage) and shots of scenery or places/events (also called B-roll footage). These shot lists are usually listed in the order that makes the best use of production time, so scenery and related footage is shot in the easiest non-sequential manner and then edited to fit the timeline that is required to tell the story or message in the final edit.

For creative projects that have a lot of action, special effects, comedy timing, animation etc, a storyboard with notations of camera movement, visual effects, zooms, pans, reaction shots, closeups, etc is often the best method to make sure the project has strong energy, pacing and a story arc that makes sense.

Required Reading:
Elements of Cinema: Shot Lists and Storyboards

Storyboards, refresh your memory for storyboard requirements:
Art of the Storyboard

Scriptwriting Resources:
How to Write a Screenplay, scriptwriting and examples
Review Sample Scripts from multiple films

Storyboards, Scripts or Shot lists are due by Friday for review and approval! - Mr.W
Email your questions, concerns or final documents to me for feedback and approval. Consider this part of the experience of working remotely.

Original Narrative: Brainstorm and Create a BeatSheet

Create an outline for your teams film by brainstorming ideas for your short film and create a Logline and Beatsheet to develop your 3 act story arc. Create a document that follows the beat sheet format below:

Script Title (Your script or movie title)
Logline (A catchy, one-sentence summary of your script) 
Beat 1—Opening Scene 

The opening scene is an opportunity for you to give the audience the starting point of the protagonist’s journey. It can be an image of your protagonist, an important setting, a revealing conversation between characters, an object that is essential to the plot, etc. This should give your audience a “snapshot” of what the rest of your film might look like, or what your film is all about. The opening image in the Wizard of Oz depicts Dorothy and Toto running down a dirt road with storm clouds approaching in the background. Once you watch the whole film, you realize how important that first scene really is. And remember, just like the first page of a novel needs to draw the reader in, the opening image of a script needs to draw the audience in. (Describe your opening image in the space below.)

Beat 2—Setting Up the Story 

All the important characters (your protagonist, antagonist, and supporting characters) in your main plot will be introduced during the first ten pages, or at least hinted at. You want your audience to know all your characters’ strange tics and behaviors—basically, what makes your characters unique. You will also want to set up your conflict (or what your protagonist wants more than anything and how his or her fears and antagonist are in the way of him or her getting it.) By page ten, your audience needs to fall in love with your characters enough to care about their conflict. (Below, brainstorm character behaviors and events that you might need to write into your script in order to set up your conflict.)

Beat 3—Inciting Incident 

In the set-up, you have told us all about the world of your script. The inciting incident (also known as the catalyst) will turn that world upside down. Protagonists get fired, find out they have a long lost brother, get news that they have three days to live, meet the girl or boy of their dreams, get blown somewhere over the rainbow by a powerful tornado, etc. This is what forces your protagonist out of a daily routine and into the adventure of a lifetime. (Describe your inciting incident in the space below.)

Beat 4—The Big Decision

Page 25 is the point of no return. From page 10 until then, your protagonist should be debating whether to embark on his or her journey or just continue living his or her uneventful, everyday life. Unless you want to write a really boring script, your protagonist will choose the more dangerous and exciting path towards his or her goal. But just like it might be hard if you had to decide to leave everything behind, it will be a hard decision for your protagonist. (Below, write two lists from your protagonist’s point of view. One stating why he or she should stay, and one stating why he or she should embark on the adventure.)

Reasons why I should stay:
Reasons why I should embark on the adventure: 

Beat 5—Into the Wide Unknown 

This is a big moment for your protagonist, and you want to make sure that your audience knows it. He or she is leaving the old world behind, and stepping into a dangerous and unknown world to embark on the adventure. Because these two worlds are so distinct, the act of actually stepping into the new one must be unmistakable. A great example of this is in The Wizard of Oz when Dorothy steps out of her house and into the Munchkin City. (Below, describe the moment where your protagonist steps into the new world.)

Beat 6—Subplot 

The subplot, also known as the “B story,” is oftentimes a love story involving the protagonist, but it can also be based around supporting characters or even a brand new gang of characters. The subplot will make your script more dynamic or exciting; the more subplots you have, the more fun your film will be to watch. (Using the space below, brainstorm some ideas for various subplots and how to introduce them into your script. You may want to go back to your “Supporting Character Worksheets,” and see what each of them wants more that anything in the world.)

Beat 7—Having Fun and Getting to Know Your Characters 

This is the portion of a film where most of the trailer clips come from. As you might guess, this part of the script is more upbeat; it is less about “your characters moving towards an end goal” and more about “your characters having fun and getting to know each other.” This does not mean that it is less important. This part of your script helps your audience get to know what your characters and your story are all about. For example, this is the part of Wizard of Oz where Dorothy sings and dances with her newly-found friends along the Yellow Brick Road. (Write out some rising action that might fit into this section of your script in the space below.)

Beat 8—The 50% Mark 

The fun and games are over, and it is time to get back to the story. The midpoint of your script can be tricky. It is said that, at this point in your script, your protagonist either reaches a point where he or she thinks that things can’t get any better or any worse. The trick is that neither is true. The movie is only halfway over, and things are going to get worse before they are going to get better. This is the moment when Dorothy looks across the poppy field and sees the Emerald City. Though it looks like her journey is almost over, it has only just begun! (Below, describe the midpoint of your script.)

Beat 9—The Antagonist Returns! 

Your protagonist has already had some run-ins with the antagonist, and has been successful so far in keeping him or her out of the way. At the 50% Mark, your protagonist may believe that he or she has seen the last of the “bad guy or gal.” Unbeknownst to your protagonist, the antagonist has been getting ready to come back with a vengeance. (Describe how your antagonist rears his or her ugly head again in your script in the space below.)

Beat 10—The “All is Lost” Moment 

Just like the 50% Mark, the “All is Lost” Moment is a false defeat. Everything that could go wrong has gone wrong. The antagonist has come back with a bigger army and a brilliant game plan right when your protagonist thought all his or her problems were gone for good (or when he or she thought that things could not get any worse). After such a huge defeat, it is no wonder your protagonist is ready to throw in the towel and give up on his or her dreams. (Describe the “All is Lost” Moment in your script below.)

Beat 11—The “Ah Ha!” Moment 

This is the moment when your protagonist pulls him or herself off the floor and back into action. Oftentimes, with the help of the supporting characters, he or she will come up with a brilliant plan (Ah ha!) to finally defeat the antagonist—this time for real. (Describe the “Ah ha!” moment of your script below.)

Beat 12—The Final Push 

These final pages of your script typically contain your climax, falling action, and your resolution. This is where your protagonist learns to overcome his or her fears in order to defeat the antagonist, consequently changing—and sometimes even saving—the world! (Describe all the events that make up your climax, falling action, and your resolution below.)

There is a lot of information here. Also, this is a “formula.” It is something that many screenplay writers use to write their scripts, but it not a requirement. You can write an “off-beat” film by rearranging all the beats or by making some longer and others shorter. Many directors experiment with timeline changes, and other experimental processes.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Final Video Project: Choose Your Destiny!

Hello Students,
This project along with your portfolio will make up your final. This last video project is a free style, you can create the project you want to, but I expect it to reflect the skills and knowledge you have been granted over the course of this class. Your video project, no matter what form it takes, should show good editing, smooth camera work, good use of transitions, tell a story or deliver information in an entertaining fashion. There should be well crafted titles and credit rolls at the beginning and end of your project. You should find ways to utilize the motion graphics and animation skills to enhance your project in appropriate ways.

What Project will you make? :
It is up to you to decide what project you would like to complete for your final. You must make sure that you can accomplish this project with the time we have left in class. Time management is crucial.
Here are some ideas for projects:
  • Original Narrative or Drama, Science Fiction, Mystery, Etc...
  • Documentary project
  • Comedy Skits/Shorts/TV Show
  • Experimental Video
  • Music Video
  • 2D Animated Short
  • 3D Animated Short
How to Get Started! :
  • Build a team of dedicated filmmakers, actors, artists and camera operators to participate in your project
  • Decide on a concept/idea for your project
  • Write a full page proposal to get approval from your instructor before proceeding
  • Create a storyboard, shot list or script for your project... whichever suits your project best and get approval from your instructor before filming begins. 
  • Schedule your shoot, decide on locations, check out equipment, gather costumes or props if needed, make sure everyone on your team is on board and begin production
Project Requirements:
  • Each team is expected to complete:
    • 1 page proposal for project complete with all project details, subjects, locations, summaries, storyline, content, special effects, etc...
    • A storyboard, shot list or script that clearly describes the project, scenes, transitions, special effects, audio, camera angles, action, dialogue.
    • A well edited final project free of technical errors.
    • Well designed, animated title sequences and credit roles that are appropriate to the film subject or style and some use of motion graphics, special effects to enhance or create transitions or scenes in the project.
    • Each team must completed a press kit with biographies
    • Each project must create an animated production logo
  • Project proposals should be done and approved by Monday the 28th
  • Storyboard/shotlist/scripts should be done and approved by Friday the 2nd
  • Preliminary shooting should be completed by December 15th
  • Rough Cut should be complete by December 22
  • Final Project completed with Press Kits by January 13th
  • ROP Portfolios with Demo Reels Due January 18th
Grading and Evaluation:
  • You will be graded against the Video Production Rubric. Familiarize yourself with it to achieve maximum points.
    • Summary:
      • You are expected to have a clear description of what your project aims to achieve and each team member should have a clear definition and fulfill their roles effectively
      • You are expected to have a storyboard, script or shot list that illustrates your project clearly with beat, structure, transitions, special effects, sound effects, audio tracks, lower thirds, titles, etc
      • The content should have a clear statement of purpose or theme and be a quality creative work.
      • Your completed project is expected to have all elements defined, be well edited and be free of technical problems.
      • Teams are expected to met, discuss and contribute to the project, and work with respect for each other.
      • All deadlines are expected to be met.

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.

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.

Your team must produce a logo for your “production company”. This logo could be hand illustrated or created with motion graphics but it must show strong technical skill and be effective and creative.

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 each of the filmmakers and actors
  • 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

Ridley Scott and Harrison Ford, behind the scenes production still from the film "Blade Runner"
Production Still from the film "Blade Runner"
Original Press Kit from the film "Blade Runner"

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

Monday, November 7, 2016

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 Writing Assignment:
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

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

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 wednesday

- Mr.W