Tag Archives: student filmmakers

Teaching TV Production in a Digital World

Here is a link to an impressive book on Google Books called Teaching TV Production in a Digital World – Integrating Media Literacy written by Robert Kenny. If you have a Google account, you can read the entire book through the My Library section of your Google account.

This 360 page book has been designed specifically for teachers. The target audience is teachers of a first-year high school television course whose students most likely consist of ninth-graders. However, there are no assumptions in the content that would preclude upperclassmen from taking this course. Although this book is aimed directly at television production, all lessons are structured to guide teachers of different academic disciplines who wish to pick and choose appropriate topics for their own subject areas.

From the introduction…

The intent of this book is to present a case for and to show teachers (particularly new ones) how to implement a television production program that is in tune with the changing times. No longer can the primary outcome of a television course be to simply prepare future employees for conventional jobs in the traditional broadcasting industry. In the digital world, video is creeping into the mainstream as an integral part of the digital revolution. Michael Johnson, Ph.D from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), first coined the term garage cinema (Davis, 1997) that refers to a growing cottage industry in which anyone with an idea has the opportunity to produce and distribute video products through the Internet. Desktop television might also be an equitable label. This extension of the use of video into our daily lives has increased the need to broaden the scope of the television curriculum to include a more intense focus on media and visual literacy.

Student Filmmakers Use Vimeo to Hone Their Craft

I stumbled across a fantastic group on Vimeo the other day. It’s the Student Filmmaker’s Collective. This great group of young filmmakers is really serious about honing their craft, and they’re using a Vimeo group to foster their skill development.


Membership in this group is open, but if you intend to post videos, be forewarned. This group not only takes their filming seriously, they have the video toys to do some amazing things.

To date, there are 749 members of the Student Filmmaker’s Collective. They hail from all sorts of colleges and high schools from around the world. With 1700 videos uploaded to the group you get to view many unique filmmaking styles.


The creativity of this young group is absolutely riveting. I found their use of lighting, camera angles, and unique perspectives fresh and captivating.

Take, for instance, the video by Victor Suarez entitled Night Eyes. The entire film is shot at night and Suarez’s use of light within the dark is captivating. Even more impressive is all the effects were done with only the camera itself.

Contrast that video with Joshua Stocker’s The London Chroming Company Ltd. Toned down color schemes really reflect the historical value of the film.


The exciting thing about this group is it’s ability to carry on discussions in the forums. They share their production techniques, items of interest, comments on films.

Vimeo is the Cadillac of video sites. Film quality is beyond that of the “talking head” videos on YouTube and the quality of the comments falls right in line with this standard. Unlike YouTube, unconstructive and hurtful comments are absolutely not tolerated. These students are all about helping each other improve their craft. If a comment doesn’t accomplish that, it’s removed.

Up and Coming Filmmakers

It’s going to be interesting watching the careers of these young filmmakers. In the meantime, check out their work in the Student Filmmaker’s Collective.

Studentfilms.com – The online student film festival

Studentfilms.com is an online filmmaking resource for film students and aspiring filmmakers from around the world.

The site features:

  • internet broadcasting of your film (upload it to their site) – viewers of your film can write a review, you can post contact information for those interested in your work.
  • forum discussions – discuss films on the site, introduce yourself to the studentfilm.com community, discuss filmmaking tips and techniques, ask questions about screenwriting, pre-production and post-production, ask questions about which film school to attend at the unversity level
  • Filmmaking Articles – Online Avid Tutorials, Tools for writers, HD product reviews

Active topics on the forum right now include, requests for iMovie help, Making a movie from a book and a vigorous discussion of NY vs LA, which discusses which media center is best for a young filmmaker to begin their career in. There is also a discussion of universities which have exemplary film schools, like New York University’s Tisch School for the Arts.

The main element and greatest strength of the site is its abiltiy to broadcast films over the internet and enable peer discussion of each film. Studentfilms.com now has a database of over 800 films which is searchable by genre, popularity on the site, film title, and by film school. There is also this cool randomizer feature which will bring you to any film in the database. All the reviews and comments I saw where mature and honest attempts to be helpful. Everyone is in the same boat and the community really does try to share knowledge and creative ideas. The forum section is also very strong. There is a good deal of filmmaking information shared in the forum questions.

If you are considering a career as a filmmaker or are an educator with a media-production curriculum, I think that studentfilms.com will become an excellent resource for you.

Teaching Media Production in Middle Schools

Stephanie Drotos’ Teaching Media Production is a very valuable website for educators interested in creating a media production curriculum. This site lays out in very clear detail, everything you need to teach a nine week middle school media production course. The site was created by a middle teacher for other middle school teachers interested in creating (or expanding) media production courses concentrating on teaching stop-motion animation, desktop publishing, video production.

The site includes course outlines, day-to-day lesson plans, sample class handouts and teacher resources.

Stephanie explains, “For two years, I taught a middle school class called Media Production. This course lasted for nine weeks and was taught four times a year to both 8th graders and 6th graders. I designed the course and included topics in which I was personally interested. I’ve had lots of requests for information about teaching Media Production and wanted to make the information available to help other teachers.”

If you are an educator teaching media production, I think you’ll be well rewarded looking at Stehpanie’s course ideas.

See also Podcasting In The Classroom and
Tools to take Podcasting to the next level

Student Filmmakers Reference CD-ROM

Just wanted to wrap up this series of posts about student film with a link to the Cyber Film School “Movie Encyclopedia” CD-ROM that is published by Northwest Film School (in Bellingham, WA).

This product looks to be very well organized and packed with a lot of fresh and useful information about getting your first film finished.

Contributors to the encyclopedia include heavy hitters like:

Ron Bass
Screenwriter of Snow Falling on Cedars, My Best Friend’s Wedding, Rain Man.

Lawrence Bender
Producer of Good Will Hunting, Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs.

Anne V Coates
Editor of Erin Brockovich, Lawrence of Arabia.

Mark Irwin, ASC
Director of Photography of Something About Mary, Scream.

Norman Jewison
Director of The Hurricane, Moonstruck, In the Heat of The Night.

There’s a short video blurb by Ron Bass talking about screenwriting right on the site that is great advice and shows the quality of the information in the encyclopedia cd-rom.

A listing of student film festivals

From the Director in the Classroom Film Festival Resource.

Up-to-date and detailed, this site has an ever growing list of student film festivals. The festivals are sorted by region, with contact info, guidelines and links to each festival page. A great resource for high school and college-age filmmakers, there are even some listings for middle school students.

The list is presented by The Director in the Classroom…

Director in the Classroom examines how filmmaking engages learners. The program gives students the tools, skills and confidence to take creative control of their research and presentation projects and to engage learning using video production.

Student Filmmaking Portal

StudentFilmmakers.com – I really like the idea of this site and I think they bring off their mandate very well. StudentFilmmakers.com is a portal for students who are beginnning to make films. There are listings and links for film festivals, workshops and film schools. There is a forum to discuss with peers plus an online store that has a very good selection of motion picture handbooks and manuals.

MOST IMPORTANTLY however, is the ability to post your film on the site so it can be viewed by fellow filmmakers (and the general public). There is also the ability to write reviews of the movies that have been uploaded.

Check out the Student Filmmakers Summer Shorts Contest currently running.

Videography for Educators

Apple Computer and Apple Learning Interchange has a very informative, course-like, web showcase entitled Videography for Educators. This exhibit features tips and techniques to assist in the creation of quality video products. The concepts, skills and examples are presented in a manner relevant to classroom teachers. The showcase assumes that you are somewhat familiar with digital editing software ie. iMovie or Final Cut.

Though this showcase is aimed primarily at teachers, it makes a great “Intro to Videography” for anyone. The showcase starts with the basics and moves through the video creation process.

Topics include:
Video Style
Production Decisions
Pre-Production Scouting
Equipment Setup
Effective Lighting
Effective Audio
Capturing the Video
The Art of Editing
And more