Media Comm. Level 3: The Cell Phone Movie

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Skill Level: Level 3

Badges Earned: Media Communications Level 3

Estimated time to completion: 15-20 classes (two months). 

Description:  If you’ve completed Level 1 and 2, you’ve gone through creating a basic zoetrope or flipbook, you’ve created an animation, using a handful of different kinds of animations programs. Now- it’s time to take storytelling to another level: The Cell Phone Movie. The device on our pockets can be a very powerful tool. I’d like you to take a moment (put on some headphones), and watch this film:

Now- keep in mind- this film did not use a spoken script. It did require a soundtrack. Did it need dialogue to convey a story? Part of the problem with cell phones, is that the audio is horrible for creating movies- so this filmmaker, instead, simply used music and text. It’s a strong message.

Where could you take this idea? Think about that.

As always fill out a challenge proposal. Remember that just like any problem, stories have solved LOTS of problems, so what problem will your story tackle? 

Step 1: Write a story treatment / script. Create a Google Doc, and write a one-paragraph outline of your story. Stories follow dramatic structure. This is dramatic structure. If your movie is going to have dialogue- write a script. There’s a great ADD ON for Google Docs that helps you do this. Create a new Google. I wrote an example script using this tool. It’s fun- you’re a screenwriter now!

Step 2: Create a Storyboard. All great movies take some planning. You can create a storyboard a number of ways. I’ll outline two. Watch this video as I explain a basic storyboard.

A. Storyboard option #1. Use Showme on the iPad. Like what I did above, you can use the Showme app to create your storyboard. Use stick figures, that’s fine, but every storyboard will have:

  1. Dialogue
  2. Basic action or stage direction (what are the characters doing in this scene?)
  3. Possible camera movement
  4. Shot number (every shot of your movie)

B: Storyboard Option #2: Draw your storyboard using this template. Download this template, and print out a few sheets.

Just like above, you’ll need everything from 1-4 on the above list.

STEP 3: Film your video. 

For any video that you’re filming, I suggest using Google Drive to back up your clips. That way you can clear your device and free up storage when you need to. Also- keep in mind- a telltale sign of amateurish video is handheld cameras. Handheld can work as an effect, when it’s necessary, but use a tripod whenever necessary.

That means whatever device you have, you should have the app for iPhone or for Android. Want to use an iPad? That’s okay- but keep in mind- the camera quality is better on the new smaller devices like iPhone or Android.

You’ll need actors!

Depending on your story, you’ll need people. You’ll want to ensure that those people are consistent in the story- so you’ll want to make sure that they wear the same outfits in the same scene. Little mistakes like this can ruin a movie. If you plan things right- perhaps you’ll only need the actor for one day- and this won’t be anything to worry about. The Mankind is No Island movie didn’t have to worry about this because it didn’t use actors in traditional scenes.

4. Assemble your film (edit). Using one of the Macbooks in the classroom, use iMovie to import your video and edit. If you saved it to Google Drive, you’ll have to download all of it. This should be a fine editing tool for this movie. Add Title Cards, credits at the end, and use text overlays where you see fit. Keep in mind- iMovie titles and text are very noticeable to the seasoned media person. If you can use title cards that were made from scratch- or from say Google Drawings- your movie will have a better quality. Also- don’t ever use the iMovie music. If you want music, you can find royalty free music on iTunes. Talk to your instructor.

Notes:  Remember that you want this movie to speak to the largest audience possible. Gear your movie to a wide audience.

Some tips along the way: Upload your final video to a YouTube Channel (like this one).  They can be used as evidence of completion. One demo video can be enough evidence to receive numerous badges. Length needs to be long enough to communicate your idea.

Earn Your Badges:  When you’re done, earn your badge!



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