The Studio Assignment


With the studio really up and running, I want to expand the possibilities. Last spring I gave out an abbreviated form of this lesson – which didn’t quite work cause of technical issues in the control room. This year advanced students will produce a talk show as the major part of their second quarter grade.

I’ve posted the entire assignment on The VJ Classroom and will post the individual forms there soon.

The lesson is meant to teach students

Technology – how to use the control room lights, mikes, cameras, editing
Teamwork – they must collaborate and work together to achieve their goal/grad
Communication – pull all of the elements together to communicate with a targeted audience (which they must define)

And finally – not taught but highly encouraged – creativity. Don’t mimic, don’t go through the motions…have fun and make something new and real. Here are the basics.

• In a four person team, come up with a concept, set design, lighting, show open and close, and invite guests to appear on a (shot as live) talk show.
• Must have show open and close and an insert segment that contributes to the mood/theme of the show
• Possible themes could be sports, politics, teen issues, music, performing arts, academic subjects, community issues, or one suggested by your team.

The teams each have four students, each of whom has an assigned roll in each stage of production.

The show must run between five to ten minutes. I’m allowing about seven weeks to create this show…it has to fit into the schedule of daily taping of the Daily Bulletin, which will alternate this quarter between second and fourth periods. Additionally advanced students will have other assignments as they arise.

The rubic takes into account procrastination – there are a series of mini-deadlines that must be met so I know they are not putting off the inevitable. They are also (very) responsible for keeping a paper trail…a folder with all production paperwork including scripts, production forms, etc.

Let’s see how this plays out.


48HFP…last day…

Adam and I are staggering…we got to my place around 3:15am this morning after a full day of shooting and editing (and trying to find stuff in the school storeroom). But no, we still weren’t done – we edited most of the movie.

Still a movie with no name though.

What have we learned so far? Well, next year I won’t have construction crews all over my studio, so I can get in a few days beforehand and get all my gear lined up.

Always have food – these are teenagers and if they aren’t constantly fed, they slow down. Mentally and physically.

Be adaptable. What you planned doesn’t always work. We thought our breakers would all be there at 2pm so we could begin shooting…the last one filtered in around 6pm.

Don’t change your script too much…be adaptable, but stick with the plot.

Willfully independent teenage daughters can surprise you at 2am with near perfect readings of their portion of the script.

The quiet students turn gregarious once they feel comfortable with the group. And this group did bond. We worked through our barriers, shots that weren’t as visualized, always running late schedule and left on better terms than we began on Friday night.

So Adam and I will continue. My husband pulled me out of bed (ugh) at 8am. Adam beat me to the kitchen and had already slid into the edit chair, where he was fine-tuning some scenes.

It is now 10:36am. We have a screening for parents at noon. Thank the skies above we not only found suitable music…but the title of the music has become our movie title. Some days things just work out.

Late tonight I’ll post the final on this.

48 Hour Film Project/take one…

I know…I’m a journalist. But I think everyone who’s held a camera at one point or another has wondered if they could shoot a movie…yeah, right. (Just as every reporter has a book inside them.)

So tomorrow the great experiment begins. I’ll be blogging along as my students and I work together to create a movie for the 48 Hour Film Project. We will be gathered together in San Francisco tomorrow night to draw our genre, get our line of dialogue, prop, and character(s). Then it’s back on the road for the two hour drive home, with students brainstorming and writing the script. Hopefully that will be completed tomorrow night.

We’ll be shooting Saturday and Sunday…and editing furiously at the same time. I have a small crew of about six students from broadcasting plus a tight-knit group of break dancers and other students who made the mistake of talking to me at the wrong time.

Stay tuned…and remember, we are not out to win…we are out to be winners.

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