Digital Moviemaking classes can be a bit unnerving to those teaching it simply because part of it does away with the usual model of having chunks of content ready to dole out during sessions. Though much preparation is required, it is best to let students lead the process while the teacher guides discussion and production of content. It’s tricky, but great fun for kids and there’s lots of learning involved.
What I have been doing lately is interweaving discussion sessions between production periods. We’ll touch on fundamentals in a classroom setting and then begin to work on a group project integrating those discussion points covered earlier.
The approach is different depending on the grade level. Deep creative story writing is not part of the class as it alone could take over the entire year. So parts of it are covered, such as the more technical component of script formatting, the importance of story structure and character archs. I’ve found it useful to introduce the conflict component right away and to have students try to draw a story around that. Having students bring in news/magazine story-clippings is also useful to get those creative juices flowing. It all depends on the group of students in the classroom.
Walking the students through pre-production is key. Most do not like the time spent on planning, and will most often tune you out when spelling out the various components that go into a production even before you leave the planning stage. In all these are the steps we follow to get to a set to start shooting; these must be completed before heading out:
-Chose production crew and assign titles/duties
-Design the workflow
-Develop a shooting script along with director notes for the production team
-Get photos of possible set locations and annotate key information on them
-Develop shooting script
-Make list of required costumes, props, key pieces of set or settings necessary for certain scenes
-Make equipment list
Any of the above can be skipped/morphed/swapped. Nothing is set in stone when working with creative minds. The most important thing is the story, always get the story down first. After story, everything falls in place.