Filmmaking Class Week 3

Class Notes: Theme = the inferred stance taken on a topic of a story. Everything that happens within a story should reference back to a theme.

Reflection Questions for Six Word Memoir Project
  1. What aspect of the filmmaking process did you connect with the most in this project and why? (writing, pre-production planning, production/filming, editing/post-production)
  2. What aspect of the filmmaking process did you find most challenging and why?
  3. What skill from another discipline (academic subject) do you think will serve you going forward in this class? Why/how?

My Answer: For my Six Word Memoir I skimped on the writing part. I was in “documentary” mind set. I did brainstorm about 25 six word memoirs, and enjoyed the experience. I started shooting a few different films using a few different memoirs.

I did no do much pre-production for the first couple of shoots. I just captured what was going on around me, similar to doing photojournalism. For my final film, I looked at a shot list and tried to collect as many different ones that I could, also documentary style. 

I enjoyed the filming and playing with the visual options. I shot so much footage that I did not use or even look at more that a quarter of it. I plan to take seriously a plan that the more I shoot the better I will become at video. I will get back into the habit of carrying a camera and shooting every day.

I am a better editor that I am a cinematographer. I edited this short on my IPhone using an application called InShot. It is what I taught homeschool kids when I was doing workshops because it has a free version. I use Pinnacle (on a large old iPad when I make basketball highlight videos), Adobe Rush (on a small school issued Ipad when I do projects with Rivers middle school kids) and have used IMovie – which I dislike – since Apple released it a million years ago.

My goal for this class (and working through the summer) is to become competent with Premiere. To that end I have several projects that I shot over the last two years that I have not yet edited. I also plan to spend a minimum of 3 hours a week playing with Premiere. 

My shooting challenge is holding the camera steady – despite using a steady hand gadget for every shot. When I received comment cards from my classmates about my short, most asked if I considered using a tripod (no because I was shooting in the move documentary style) or a steady hand. I need more practice shooting hand held on the move and may invest in a shoulder mount. I will also play with a monopod and the dolly mounted tripod.

The (fiction) writing part of this class will stretch me and serve me well because it will push me out of my comfort zone.

Four Brainstorming Activities

Please read this adapted excerpt and complete the four brainstorming activities outlined in the text.

Excerpt from Sheridan, Sherri. Developing Digital Short Films.

Beginning the Story Concept Process (p. 18-19) Screenwriting is more like architecture than it is a whoosh of sudden creative inspiration that magically pours out over the pages. Your script is the blueprint for constructing every aspect of your film. Great screenplays are built up in layers, using the types of techniques presented in these first four chapters.

The first step to making a short film involves finding a great original idea to develop into a script. If you do not have the story for your film down before shooting, you do not have anything. By the end of this chapter, you should know the following:

  1. Who is the main character in your short film?
  2. What does your main character want to achieve?
  3. What types of themes are you interested in exploring?
  4. What makes your idea original?
  5. Are you sure this is a film idea you would love to see?

My story: My main character in my short film will be nameless woman, 60ish, living in New England. She wants to get through the day of substitute teaching without losing her mind. I want to explore the relation between this “part time” teacher and a lonely young student who can not seem to get anything right. I don’t know it it is an original idea. It will be filmed from the point of view of the teacher. The camera will never show the teacher only what the teacher sees and hears. It is a short film that I would go to see.

The Most Important Thing: What is the goal of telling a good story? What is the primary goal of any film, play, novel, song, TV show, video game, or animation? Think about this for a moment before you read on; it is a very important point. Most people say that their primary goal is to entertain or make money.

These things are important, but may not happen unless you approach it this way: The first and primary goal of a filmmaker is to evoke a series of strong emotional responses from the audience throughout the entire story.

People also like to be entertained by amusement and surprise, inspired by the character’s noble actions, informed about new relevant ideas, and explore fresh perspectives and insights on life. Above all else, however, you need to get the audience emotionally engaged in the story, to stimulate their curiosity about the characters and events. This does not happen by showing characters crying or screaming at each other.

You engage the audience when you tell the truth emotionally based on your own experiences and original insights about life, in your film.

Review the emotional impacts of your favorite films. What did you feel when you were watching them? When you go to the movies, keep an eye on the audience. See whether you can get an emotional read on how involved they are in the story. Films that don’t do well usually fail to evoke any emotion at all.

Here’s the basic structure of a story that you will want to wrap your short film around to practice applying the techniques in this book: It is a story about a protagonist (lead character) who wants something(goal) that forces them to take action. They meet with an escalating array of conflicts (obstacles) leading to a final climax and resolution.

Do not freak out at this point if you think this classic story structure is dated and boring. Almost all films use this structure, and the trick is finding an original approach. 

Character: The actions and reactions of your characters drive the plot forward. Characters create their own realities as externalizations of their inner worlds inn a sense.

Plot: The series of events that happen in the story to the characters.

Theme: Invisible underlying universal-controlling idea, moral message, concept, emotion, issue, essence, or soul of a story.

Conflict: Obstacles that stand in the way of the protagonist in achieving their goals.

Interaction: Characters interacting, connecting, and disconnecting from other characters, ideas, or things. Not all stories are based solely on conflict. Many times in a short film, an interaction or connection occurs that results in a conflict, discovery, or decision. This initial connection often leads to a disconnection and possible reconnection later.

Four Basic Types of Films (p.37)

Classic Narrative: Single protagonist with linear time (time frame of events obvious to viewer). Everything you need to know about the story is presented clearly. Cause and effect are clearly observed. Objective viewing experience (viewer conclusions about the story are similar). Focus on making viewers feel.

Post-Modernism: May not have a single lead protagonist. A distortion of time with jumps in time and space (nonlinear time), where audience may not know where in tie events are taking place. May ignore cause and effect completely. Mixing other forms or styles of films together. Strong awareness of unusual camera techniques to tell the story.

Documentary: Organizing information that already exists.

Experimental: No characters even necessary. Nonlinear time. No cause and effect. Viewer understanding is unnecessary; the experience of watching the film is enough.

Create a list of 10 Possible Main Characters (p. 30-31) Focus on creating original ones, not characters you have seen in other movies. These could come from stories you’ve written, sketched, or thought about creating. Some of these characters may be from famous films or animations that you combine with parts of other characters or actors to create new versions. These people could also be based on real people you know or animals, as long as you change them enough to create original screen versions. The goal of this exercise is to be able to see and feel what each original character is about, using as few description words as possible.

  • Character (include descriptive adjectives, age & geographical location)
  • Possible Occupation
  • Best Talent/Worst Flaw
My Chart

Top 10 Film Locations (p.35) What unique locations do you have in your area that might make an interesting film world or setting? Every square inch of Los Angeles and New York City has appeared on film somewhere. Are there any haunted, creepy places in your town? What about historical sites, strange-looking power plants, beautiful gardens, magnificent rock formations, cinematic cemeteries, national landmarks, lookout points, abandoned buildings, strange museums, weird stores, or wacky houses? Where is the best spot in your town to see a sunset? What’s the scariest, happiest, most romantic, most scenic, most diabolical, or most futuristic place within a 50-mile radius of your home? How could you take existing locations near your home and make them seem like they are in a different time or place? You usually do not need a film permit for a monopod camera shoot, and may be able to shoot the scene fast if your actors have been well rehearsed.

MY Top Film Locations (Mine are all on campus)

  • The Rivers School classrooms
  • The Rivers School offices
  • The Rivers School gyms and locker rooms
  • The Rivers School the head’s house
  • The Rivers School the admissions waiting room
  • The Rivers School the admission director’s house on Nonesuch Road
  • The cabins at Nonesuch Day camp
  • The docks at Nonesuch Day camp
  • The boat house at Nonesuch Day camp
  • The Nonesuch pound
  • The Rivers School boardwalk bridgeThe woods around Nonesuch Day camp
  • The creepy basement in Blackwell music at the Rivers School
  • The black box at the Rivers School
  • The Cafe at the Rivers School
  • The darkroom at the Rivers School
  • The Living Wall in Rever at the Rivers School
  • The Nurse’s office and isolation rooms at the Rivers School
  • The creepy attic at the Willis House at the Rivers School.
  • The grounds and fields at the Rivers School
  • The Rivers School houses

(Wow! Shots (p.35): Sometimes you will think of a great single shot that turns into a film world or specific scene location. Occasionally, you will see a shot that takes your breath away because it is so visually powerful. Perhaps the composition is superb or the match cut from one scene to the next works perfectly. Maybes it’s just a beautiful scene that looks like a stirring series of award-winning photographs set in motion. You want to include as many Wow! Shots in your film as you can imagine. Make a list of 10 Wow! Shots you have always wanted to see in a movie. Don’t think plot, character, or theme yet. Don’t think about whether you can create the shot yourself or can afford to shoot on location. Indulge completely in your fantasy of having every available resource to plan 10 of the best visual shots you have ever wanted to see on a screen.)

My Wow! Shots

  • The sunsetting over the Nonesuch Pound
  • The Grand Canyon South Rim
  • Berry College, Georgia (The college is more reminiscent of a European castle than a school. Berry College features arched walkways, stone towers, a decorative pond, and immaculate lawns.)
  • Swarthmore College, Pennsylvania (The Scott Arboretum, amphitheater, and accompanying gardens are a highlight of the campus with over 4,000 ornamental plants)
  • North End Streets & Alleys/Old North Church/Revere House in Boston
  • City Hall in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (It is like stepping back in time.)
  • Fairmont Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens
  • Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • The Ohio State Reformatory (also known as the Mansfield Reformatory) in Mansfield, Ohio. (The Shawshank Redemption was filmed there in 1994, Judas and the Black Messiah in 2019 and Shelby Oaks in 2022 – plus many, many more.)
  • Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe and Zambia
  • Avenue of the Baobabs, Madagascar
  • Acadia National Park, Maine
  • Maasai Mara, Kenya
  • Pulau Tioman, Malaysia
  • Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
  • Sedona, Arizona
  • Chefchaouen, Morocco
  • Porto, Portugal

Top 10 Story Flavors (p. 36-37) The following list is designed to help you narrow down the types of stories you are most interested in developing. If you had to pick just one story flavor from the following list as your absolute favorite, which one would you choose? Pay attention to what story flavors you are most interested in exploring with your films so that you can study other similar films for visual ideas. Experiment by combining different flavors to create new ones, such as a science-fiction, obsession-reality show, or a postmodern historical fantasy. Come up with your Top 10 story flavors, and have fun with this exercise. Add any categories that you are interested in exploring that I may have missed.

  • Action/adventure. Big adventures, hero journeys, disaster, survival, daring stunts, and action sequences.
  • Animation. Far-out or surreal visual elements with objects that can turn into other things. These stories usually show us something real actors or sets cannot do as easily, such as talking animals or living toys.
  • Ensemble. Stories about groups of characters unified by a common theme.
  • Experimental. Avant-garde rule breakers. Creating films that audiences may not even understand.
  • Biography. Find meaning of the person’s life (theme), and make the person the hero (or anti-hero) in their own tale.
  • Buddy. Friendship or nonromantic close relationships developed over a series of events.
  • City symphony. Films about a single location with different perspectives, characters, events, and time frames.
  • Comedy. Show how characters in the best situations still manage to mess up, or create “fish out of water” tales. These stories are often used to showcase the brutality of social life.
  • Crime. Murder mystery, detectives solving cases, reporters investigating crimes, prison stories, heists, spy stories, criminals/victims getting revenge, courtroom dramas, organized crime.
  • Disillusionment. Protagonist’s view of life changes from positive to negative.
  • Documentary. True story about event, people, or place.
  • Drama. Passion, madness, dreams of the human heart.
  • Education. Protagonist changes worldview from negative to positive by learning something new.
  • Fantasy. New-world rules playing with time, space, and laws of nature.
  • Historical. Stories from the past often work great to show us some themes of our present situations at comfortable distances.
  • Horror. Bad, evil, scary, creepy things.
  • Journey. Trip, road trip, or travel tale.
  • Love story. What gets in the way of romantic love?
  • Maturation. Coming of age story.
  • Mockumentary. Fiction that looks like a real documentary.
  • Music video. Short film for a song and hopefully with some story, theme, or context.
  • Musical. Songs used to tell stories from any genre.
  • Myth. Hero journeys, ancestral memories, prehistory, moral conduct, or urban legends.
  • Obsession/addiction/temptation.Willpower versus obsessions/addictions/temptations.
  • Personal anthology. Video diaries, personal events.
  • Postmodern. No single lead protagonist with distortion of time and space.
  • Punishment. Good protagonist turns bad and is punished.
  • Psychodrama. Madmen, serial killers, crazy people, nuthouses.
  • Reality shows. Real-life, voyeuristic-style stories. TV shows such as The Osbournes, or Survivor.
  • Redemption. Protagonist goes from morally bad to good.
  • Science fiction. Possible future, unknown past.
  • Societal problems. Political, racial, medical, educational, business, environmental, and family.
  • Sports. Big character change in relationship to a sporting event.
  • Supernatural. Spiritual or freaky occurrence in unseen realms.
  • Tragedy. Cautionary tales, somber themes, catastrophic characters.
  • War. Combat, prowar/antiwar.
  • Western. Wild West. Good versus evil. Gunfights, cowboys, bank robberies. Cattle drives, ranches, horses, and saloons.

My Top 10 Story Flavors

  • Animation. Far-out or surreal visual elements with objects that can turn into other things. These stories usually show us something real actors or sets cannot do as easily, such as talking animals or living toys.
  • Experimental. Avant-garde rule breakers. Creating films that audiences may not even understand.
  • Biography. Find meaning of the person’s life (theme), and make the person the hero (or anti-hero) in their own tale.
  • City symphony. Films about a single location with different perspectives, characters, events, and time frames.
  • Disillusionment. Protagonist’s view of life changes from positive to negative.
  • Journey. Trip, road trip, or travel tale.
  • Documentary. True story about event, people, or place.
  • Maturation. Coming of age story.
  • Music video. Short film for a song and hopefully with some story, theme, or context.
  • Personal anthology. Video diaries, personal events.

Brainstorming for Favorite Subjects (p. 40) What areas of interest fascinate you the most? Answer the following questions to help you come up with a Top 10 list of subjects:

What are your favorite Top 3 favorite books? Create a brief sentence or two about the plot using the story concept sentence discussed earlier. See whether you can find the theme of each story and sum up the unique subject matter or genre element.

My top three favorite books are

My Friend Flicka – It is a 1941 novel by Mary O’Hara, about Ken McLaughlin, the son of a Wyoming rancher, and his mustang horse Flicka. Kenneth McLaughlin is a 10-year-old boy living on Goose Bar Ranch, just out of Cheyenne, Wyoming, with his practical father, Rob; his mother, Nell; and his older brother, Howard. Rob is often unsatisfied with Ken, who daydreams when he should be attending to practical matters; Nell, however, shares her son’s sensitive nature and is more sympathetic.

Mama Day- It is the third novel written by Gloria Naylor in 1988. The story focuses upon the tragic love affair of “star-crossed” lovers Ophelia “Cocoa” Day and George Andrews. The setting of the novel is split between New York City, where George was born and raised and Ophelia has recently moved, and Willow Springs, a fictional community situated on a coastal island on the border of Georgia and South Carolina where Ophelia’s family has lived for several generations.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (original title in Swedish: Män som hatar kvinnor, lit. ’Men Who Hate Women’) is a psychological thriller novel by Swedish author and journalist Stieg Larsson (1954–2004). It was published posthumously in 2005, translated into English in 2008. Larsson asks how responsible criminals are for their crimes, and how much is blamed on upbringing or society. Middle-aged journalist Mikael Blomkvist teams with 20 year old hacker, Lisbeth Salander, to catch a serial killer.

What are your Top 3 favorite hobbies or areas of study? These activities may include adventure travel, sports, arts, collecting, gardening, yoga, watching TV, playing video games, or anything esle you love to do in your free time.

My favorite hobbies or areas of study are

  • Studying Black hisory
  • Reading books by Black writers
  • Coaching basketball and athletic development
  • Listening to audio books (I love trashy mysteries, young adult fiction and historical fiction
  • Drawing and painting in my sketchbook
  • Gardening at home
  • Auditing interesting classes at Rivers, online and out in the community
  • Designing political T-shirts
  • Playing board games with my wife and kids
  • Taking photos
  • Blogging
  • Digital storytelling

What Top 3 historical events, time periods, or people interest you the most? Explain specifically why each subject fascinates you if possible.

My answer: I enjoy reading books 10th to 18th centuries. I love reading about knights and serfs. I also like reading about the Harlem Renaissance and that era of Black joy. I don’t have a favorite historical event per se but the Black Panther movement fascinates me. I want to know more about Isabel de Olvera, explorer, early 1600s She was born in Querétaro, Mexico, in the late 1500s to an African father and an Indian mother. As a young, unmarried, free mixed-race woman in 1600, she sought permission and protection from the mayor of Querétaro to join an upcoming expedition to New Spain (or present-day New Mexico, Arizona and Florida). Although historians are not sure of her motives — some records suggest that she may have been hoping to assist recently settled families at her final destination — her deliberate preparations for the journey were documented. Isabel de Olvera’s existence as a free woman in the 1600s challenges the narrative that the Black experience in America began only when Africans were forcibly brought to this country and enslaved. Her journey is also among the earliest recorded instances of Black people fighting for liberty in North America, an act of resistance that is repeated throughout history.

Do you have any favorite myths? These types of stories explore events that happened before written history, show patterns, and beliefs that give meaning to life, develop shared ancestral memories, fill the gaps between the unconscious and conscious, examine moral behaviors, and help give groups of people identities. What types of myths are particular to your location or culture? What are the new myths for the 21st century? You may want to just list the types of myths you like, such as Hindu or Native American, and read some books on those subjects if you are really into doing a mythic tale.

My Top 3 Myths My favorite myths are Egyptian, Native American, Aesop’s fables and black folk tales. (African-American Folktales fall into one of seven categories: tales of origin, tales of trickery and trouble, tales of triumph over natural or supernatural evils, comic heartwarming tales, tales teaching life lessons, tales of ghosts and spirits, and tales of slaves and their slave-owners.)

Story Ideas

Once your Story Ideas chart is complete, do the following two and a half exercises, in order:

Exercise #1: Create five story concept sentences for short film ideas using the preceding chart. The goal is to think up good, original ideas you would love to see in a short film. Everyone’s chart is going to be different depending on subjective interest. You should see patterns in characters, subjects, settings, and story flavors if you have strong likes and dislikes. Construct your five best story concept sentences in this form:

My Stories:

Story 1: It is a story about a nameless woman, 60ish, from in New England who lives in Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This story explores the subject of homelessness in an animation.

Story 2: It is a story about a12 year old over sized black kid from in New England who lives in The Grand Canyon on the South Rim. This story explores the subject of belonging in a biography.

Story 3: It is a story about a 18 year old athlete from New England who lives in Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. This story explores the subject of belonging in a city symphony.

Story 4: It is a story about a 60ish Palestinian woman who lives in the North End Streets in Boston. This story explores the subject of racism in a journey.

Story 5: It is a story about a 30 something black woman from western Pennsylvania who traveling the world with only a backpack and a camera who lives in Porto, Portugal. This story explores the subject of self identity in a music video.

It is a story about a (Top 10 Character) who lives in (Top 10 film location) This story explores the subject of (Top 10 subject) in a (Top 10 story flavor).

Exercise #2: Take a look at the list of plot goals below:

  • To slay a monster
  • To win the race
  • To rule the world
  • To stop a bomb
  • To defeat an enemy
  • To win political office
  • To become king/queen
  • To get revenge
  • To save the world/land
  • To cure disease
  • To stop a natural disaster
  • To fall in love
  • To get the S.O./girl/guy/person
  • To solve a crime
  • To solve a mystery
  • To steal something
  • To win a war
  • To stop a war
  • To get rich
  • To advance spiritually
  • To become famous
  • To become successful
  • To blackmail someone
  • To get someone to do something
  • To trick someone
  • To find meaning in life
  • To solve a murder
  • To catch a killer
  • To solve/fix a problem
  • To understand something
  • To learn a new skill
  • To become a top warrior
  • To fight for a just cause
  • To do what is right
  • To help people
  • To find treasure
  • To get around the system
  • To overthrow government
  • To stop a bad thing from happening
  • To become a better person
  • To evolve to a higher state of being
  • To survive a dangerous vision quest
  • To travel to distant lands
  • To prove a theory
  • To get a promotion
  • To get a date
  • To explore new territory
  • To fix broken transportation
  • To invent a new device
  • To make something new
  • To have a successful art show/event
  • To save a current relationship
  • To destroy someone
  • To defeat evil
  • To help someone die
  • To help another group of people improve their lives
  • To uncover a conspiracy
  • To win a bet
  • To rob a bank or place
  • To escape from prison/situation
  • To nurse something back to life
  • To create a work of art
  • To break an enemy code
  • To find inspiration
  • To start a business
  • To throw a party/event
  • To get a job
  • To find inner peace
  • To become a professional something
  • To become a champion something
  • To survive a deadly situation
  • To find/rescue someone
  • To communicate with another
  • To defeat evil aliens
  • To right a wrong
  • To sell/buy something
  • To let go of someone
  • To overcome obstacles to love
  • To recover from past tragedy
  • To murder someone
  • To avoid being killed
  • To avoid being destroyed by obsession/addiction
  • To revolt against something
  • To seduce someone
  • To prove innocence
  • To find truth
  • To be accepted
  • To free something captured
  • To get through a difficult situation
  • To travel through time
  • To change history
  • To maintain the status quo
  • To explore a new reality/dimension
  • To start a revolution
  • To find/deliver an object
  • To become popular within a group
  • To have a successful first date
  • To stop a baby from crying
  • To heal a sick character or group
  • To train a pet or dog
  • To find a secret place
  • To change careers
  • To fix a terrible mistake
  • To clear possession of one’s soul
  • To explore a place
  • To explore a character’s life
  • To do something

Now, list your three most recent or favorite films. After each film, list the plot goals. Describe why you enjoyed the film so much. Was it the main character? Did you like the places in which the story took place? Was the ending a total surprise? To start to see where you own style may be heading, you need to figure out what types of films you like. You will most likely be drawn to similar themes, too. Add the theme, subject, and story flavor of each if you can.

MY favorite Movies:

Exercise #2:

My favorite recent films are Woman King, Black Panther and Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.

The Woman King is a 2022 American historical action drama film about the Agojie, the all-female warrior unit that protected the West African kingdom of Dahomey during the 17th to 19th centuries. Set in the 1820s, the film stars Viola Davis as a general who trains the next generation of warriors to fight their enemies. It takes place in what is today the Republic of Benin in west Africa. It wasn’t filmed in Benin, but in South Africa, in the KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape provinces using locations that look like west Africa. The ending was predictable because of the title.

Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king. When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.The film is set in Africa, although primarily only aerial footage was recorded there; Much of the principal photography of Black Panther was filmed in Atlanta and South Korea. The footage of Warrior Falls was recorded in Iguazu. This is the most spectacular waterfall system in the world, located on the border of Argentina and Brazil in South America.

Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is a 2022 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. It is the sequel to Black Panther (2018). Queen Ramonda, Shuri, M’Baku, Okoye and the Dora Milaje fight to protect their nation from intervening world powers in the wake of King T’Challa’s death. As the Wakandans strive to embrace their next chapter, the heroes must band together with Nakia and Everett Ross to forge a new path for their beloved kingdom.The sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, released in November 2022, was also mostly filmed in Atlanta. Wakanda and its capital, Birnin Zana, were created digitally via CGI.

Finally, going back to Exercise #1 and your five story concept sentences, choose three and add one or two plot goals to each. 

p. 45 excerpt, for some more context: Now that you have an idea for your short film, you need to give the story some structure by thinking of a plot goal for your main character. Take your Top 3 ideas and choose three possible plot goals for each story concept sentence. The three plot goals may relate as a series of goals in one story, or be separate main goals for completely different ideas. Longer films often have several plot goals that change throughout the story depending on the length. The first goal could be to sneak into the aquarium and the second one to get a picture swimming with the rare giant squid. Short films of less than 5 minutes usually only have time for one or two plot goals. Be very specific after you choose your type of plot goal. “To not get caught” needs to be more specific, such as “to not get caught sneaking into the aquarium.” Start to see the film in your head and imagine the different characters and situations emerging.

Exercise #3:

Story 1: It is a story about a nameless woman, 60ish, from in New England who lives in Elfreth’s Alley in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This story explores the subject of homelessness in an animation while exploring a new reality/dimension to find the truth.

Story 2: It is a story about a12 year old over sized black kid from in New England who lives in The Grand Canyon on the South Rim. This story explores the subject of belonging in a biography while revolting against an office job.

Story 3: It is a story about a 18 year old athlete from New England who lives in Pulau Tioman, Malaysia. This story explores the subject of belonging in a city symphony while recovering from a past tragedy.

Pitch Your Top 3 Ideas

Share your top three story ideas out loud with your classmates. Start in the form of a logline but expand it by also giving us a bit more detail about who your protagonist is, the location and time period, a synopsis of the plot including goals and obstacles, a possible ending, the story flavor, and an overarching theme. You will put it in writing here on Canvas but then present each idea out loud during class.

To help you with theme, please read this Studiobinder article(skimming is acceptable!)

My Answer:
Story 1 Middle School students make my head hurt
A substitute teacher struggles get through a day of bouncing from class to class in the middle school without losing their mind.
The movie is shot from the point of view of the teacher. Now, on campus.
The Theme is the chaos of middle school teaching.
Story 2 I am living my best life.
A giant grow-man sized 12-year old bulldozes his way through middle school in search of maturity, self-control and friends. Now, on campus.
The Theme is the chaos of middle school being bigger than everyone in middle school, including the teachers.
Story 3 (no six word memoir yet)
A high school athlete works to be accepted in his new school. Now, on campus.
The possible plots are coming in to a new school as a better player that the current starters or being an athlete in a bastion brainiacs.
The Theme is belonging in a new place.

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