Tuesday, November 21, 2017

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
Schedule for Final Projects:
  • Project proposals should be done and approved by Wednesday November  29th
  • Storyboard/shotlist/scripts should be done and approved by Wednesday December 3rd
  • Preliminary shooting should be completed by Friday December 15th
  • Rough Cut should be complete by Friday December 22nd
  • Final Project completed with Press Kits by Friday January 13th
  • ROP Portfolios with Demo Reels Due Thursday 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

Sunday, November 12, 2017

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:
  • This is an introduction letter, about you, written to people that may be viewing your portfolio.
  • Should be about 1 page long.
  • Letter should be free of typo's, spelling and grammar errors.
  • Follow the examples in the Portfolio Handbook and include the information listed below...

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

To Whom It May Concern:

I am currently attending Santa Cruz 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.


John Star

- Complete your letter of introduction and add it to your Portfolio project!

 - Mr.W

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The Art of the Storyboard

Project Schedule
Your Scavenger Hunt video proposals are due,email me your proposals for approval. Once you have approval you can begin the storyboard process, or create a shot list. This must also be reviewed for approval before you can schedule camera time.

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.

Have fun!
- Mr.W