Identity & Reality: Cinematic Production & Critical Studies Week 1&2

As part of my personal growth in 2023, I am taking a filmmaking class at the Rivers School in Weston, Massachusetts. The class is taught by Sophie Lane.

Filmmaking is about communicating ideas through audio-visual means. In this class I will practice visual storytelling that is personal and compelling and learn to connect with my audience in impactful and meaningful ways.

When I minored in filmmaking in college in the early 1980s, we shot film, cut it in pieces and taped it back together to edit it. The sound was recorded on a reel to reel tape deck. The sound track was synced to the film. I am looking forward to learning digital skills such as editing video using Adobe Premiere.

CLASS NOTES: Filmmaking follows a formula which becomes the spine of your project. You plug your creativity into the process.

Fixed focus lens = Prime lens

“Zoom with your feet.” Ms. Lane

*Practice shots

When building your projects, clips should be 3 to 5 seconds. You can tell a lot of story in 2 minutes.

My Personal Menu
This is my Personal Menu plus brainstorming my Six Word Memoir
Six Word Memoir

As a warm-up project for this class, each student will write, film, and edit their own six-word memoir.

These are fun to brainstorm.
Pre-Production Checklist

Title of Film: I am enjoying art these days.

Film Director: Robin Sallie

Filming Date: Jan 30, Jan 31, Feb1, some vintage footage

Storyboards Complete (in sketchbook)

Crew: Robin Sallie

Cast: Art students and Mr Nesbit

Locations: The Rivers School, Weston (Art rooms)

Props: none

Lighting: Ambient, RGB Panel Pro

Audio: voice over

*Equipment: iPhone SE 2020, Canon T8i, Sony Handicam, Lavalier Lapel Microphone Omnidirectional Condenser Micophone for cellphone, Monopod, Tripod, plastic camera frame, 18-55 mm lens, triple shoe mount (for light and micophone)


  • TRT: 60-90 sec.
  • Include opening and closing credits
  • Use as many different shot types as possible
  • Use as many camera movements as possible
  • Text of your six-word memoir included (points for creative placement)

TENTATIVE DUE DATE: Thursday, Feb.9, at the end of class for an in-class viewing party on Monday

First page of my storyboard. My next one will have much smaller boxes and get all the panels in the same page.

Key parts of a storyboard

Each scene has a title that includes a scene number, and a shot number. The title for Scene 1, Shot 4 would be S1.4.

Each shot in a film has a storyboard panel showing one specific action or moment.

A sequence is multiple shots to be filmed at the same time or at the same location to make up the same scene.

The caption under each panel is a description including details such as camera movements and shot types.

Logline practice

Logline, or log line, – a brief (one to two sentence) summary of a movie, tv show, etc. that hooks the reader in and describes the central conflict of the story. (Note: a logline is not a tagline nor is it a synopsis.)

A strong logline describes the protagonist with strong adjectives, gives the protagonist a clear goal, uses irony, increases the stakes and may break convention.

Formula: When [INCITING INCIDENT] happens, [OUR PROTAGONIST] decides [TO DO ACTION] against [ANTAGONIST].

MY NOTES: I need to practice writing Loglines. Mine are weak. I don’t think I watch enough movies or television to do them well.

My attempt to write a Logline for Toni with an I,(2021)(TRT 11:53).

Tagline – a short text which serves to clarify an idea for, or is designed with a form of, dramatic effect. Many tagline slogans are reiterated phrases associated with the film. Movie taglines are designed to get audiences to want to see your movie.

The main difference between logline and tagline is that a logline is a screenplay’s concept written down in one or two sentences, whereas a tagline is a short text that introduces the brand message of a finished product.

Synopsis – typically a one-page document that summarizes your film. It contains the film’s title, genre, logline (a one-sentence summary), and a five-paragraph explanation of the film’s storyline, major plot points, and key characters.

Camera Techniques

My Notes: Practice camera movements and shot types. Consistent results comes from consistent effort and consistent discipline.

Writing About Film: Terminology and Starting Prompts. Learn this vocabulary.

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