Undergraduate Producing Homework Due Dec. 11th, 2015

video

I want each student to produce a short film about completing a process and have it on YouTube - ready to screen - for our next class on Dec. 11th.

By process I mean a series of actions or steps taken in order to achieve a particular end.

Simply put, I want each student to make a short film about someone doing something.

They can work with other students making their films, but each student should make their own short film. They can shoot it on cellphones. It can be edited together using any editing program the student wants - even just in the phone.

I would prefer that each film be no longer than 15 shots. Shorter is OK. No film should be longer than 2 minutes - and shorter is OK.

The finished films must be posted to YouTube.

In English, film teachers call the kind of film each student will be making a “process film.” That's because these films show a process - a series of actions or operations leading to an end - from start to finish.

For a process film, each student can choose to show almost any process with a beginning, middle, and end.

For example?

1) A girl putting on make-up.
2) A boy tuning his guitar.
3) A child tying a shoe.
4) A mother making noodles.
5) A worker planting a tree.
etc.

The great thing about a “process film” as a learning exercise is:

1) It teaches about visual storytelling. You need to plan your shots to tell the story. The idea is not to use words (try not to use dialogue or voice over) - just let the pictures tell the story. It will really help to have a written story outline and storyboard - but they are not required for the assignment. Music is OK but also not required.

2) Almost every Hollywood film includes a section that is technically a “process film.” A chase sequence is a process. And Rocky training for a fight is a process. And Tony Stark building his Iron Man suit is a process. So learning how to make a “process film” is an essential part of learning be a filmmaker.

But wait… we’re not done…

The part of the assignment that makes it complicated is that I also would like each student to use both of the tools we discussed in our last class as they think about their process film.

Specifically, the tools I want them to work with are the ”4 Character Questions” and “The Hero’s Journey.”

To start, once each student has decided on a process, I want them to ask the 4 questions about the character who is engaged in the process.

For example?

1) What does the girl putting on make-up believe?

2) What is the girl putting on make-up afraid of?

3) What does she think she wants?

4) What does she really want?

(Maybe she is going on a date she doesn’t want to go on - because she thinks the boy isn’t good enough for her - but then her date surprises her with flowers! And she realizes she really wanted to be appreciated!)

Or maybe the boy tuning the guitar will be performing a song at his parent’s wedding anniversary. What he believes and fears will effect how he behaves. And, if the filmmaker really considers what the boy tuning the guitar thinks he wants and what he really wants - could that help to make the guitar-tuning film much better than just a film where the lead character doesn’t have goals and obstacles?

In addition to thinking about the "4 Character Questions," I also want the students to think about "The Hero’s Journey."

Here are links that the students can follow to watch videos that explain how The Hero’s Journey has been used in other films:

http://www.randyfinch.com/2013/07/the-heros-journey.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V7drZMyL5M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGV1BvnyvGo

Is engaging in a process (e.g., putting on make-up or tuning a guitar) like a journey with trials and an ultimate battle? Does the person who has attempted the process (of putting on make-up or tuning a guitar) return with a new understanding about what they are capable of? Maybe that’s asking too much for a short film. But The Hero’s Journey is a tool that Hollywood screenwriters often use to think about how to make their stories richer and more meaningful. And it actually can help to make even very some short films (commercials?) better.

Good luck!


Here is the assignment in Chinese (translated by Chen Cheng-Yu).

Randy老師希望每個學生都能拍攝一部介紹流程的短片(process film)並放到youtube上,準備下次於12月11日上課時播放。

介紹流程的影片,意思是其中會包含有一系列的動作與步驟,藉由這些動作與步驟最終達成某種特定的目標。
簡單來說,老師要大家拍一部關於"某人"在做"某事"的短片。
同學們可以互相合作,但每個人都要拍出屬於自己的一支短片,短片本身可以是用手機拍攝,亦無須使用特定剪輯軟體,整部片甚至可以是全手機完成亦可。

Randy老師說每部影片裡最好不要超過15顆鏡頭,影片短是沒問題的,並且上限是2分鐘,再次強調,片長短是OK的。
最終完成的影片需要上傳到youtube上。

在英文中,電影學校的老師將這類的影片稱之為" process film"。因為這些影片展現了從頭到尾完成某件事的各種步驟或行動。

在這個拍攝process film的作業中,每個學生可以選擇任何包括開始,中間過程與結尾的某種行為過程為主題。
以下是一些僅供參考的例子。

A. 某個女孩化妝的過程
B. 某個男孩在幫吉他調音
C. 一個小孩綁鞋帶
D. 一個媽媽煮麵
E. 一名工人種下一棵樹…等等

拍攝process film是一個好的練習,因為

A. 這是一個練習用影像說故事的機會,拍攝時需要計畫好要拍攝的鏡頭,並用這些鏡頭說故事。重點是不要靠話語說故事(盡量不要使用對白或畫外音),讓影像成為說故事的素材。如果事先寫下故事大綱與分鏡會對整個拍攝產生極大的幫助,但故事大綱和分鏡並不在這次作業要求的範圍之內。使用音樂是OK但同樣不規定必須要有。

B. 幾乎所有好萊塢電影中都包含了可被視為process film的片段。一段追逐戲,洛基中為比賽訓練的過程,東尼史塔克打造他的鋼鐵衣,這些都是process film。學習如何拍攝process film是學習如何成為電影創作者不可或缺的原素之一。
但等等,還沒結束…

在這次作業中,老師希望同學都能在自己的影片中讓上次課堂上講到的故事技巧派上用場。
更精簡的說,老師希望同學能是用課堂中提過的"四個角色問題"和"英雄的旅程"這兩個技巧。
第一步,同學需要先決定要拍的process film是關於哪種行為,接著,就開始用四個問題來問影片中執行process的主角。
例子:
A. 那個在化妝的女孩相信什麼?
B. 那個在化妝的女孩害怕什麼?
C. 那個在化妝的女孩以為她想要什麼?
D. 那個在化妝的女孩真正想要的又是什麼?
(或許她正要出門去約會,但她其實不想去,因為她覺得她要去見的那個男孩不會是她的菜,但接下來那個男孩卻送女孩花,給女孩驚喜。女孩終於知道她想要的是不是天菜,而是一個會欣賞自己對自己好的人。)
或者是那個在調吉他的男孩,他將要在父母的結婚週年紀念日上演奏,他內心相信和害怕的事情會影響到他的行為,又如果電影創作者真的有用心思考這個調吉他音的男還以為自己想要的是什麼與他真正想要的東西又是什麼,或許可以讓一部本來主角沒有目標和難關須要克服,單純介紹怎麼調吉他的影片有趣一點。
除了"四個角色問題"之外,同學還可以思考的是"英雄的旅程"。
以下幾個聯結與影片是英雄的旅程如何在其他電影中被使用,同學可以參考。

http://www.randyfinch.com/2013/07/the-heros-journey.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4V7drZMyL5M

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGV1BvnyvGo

完成一件任務的過程(像是化妝或調吉他音)某種層面上來說,也像是英雄的旅程中的試煉或與魔王的終極殊死戰,影片中的主角(那個化妝的女孩和調吉他音的男孩)完成手中的任務之後,是否得到某種對自己生命極限的全新了解。或許這對一個如此短的短片來說太多了,但英雄的旅程是很多好萊塢編劇在試圖讓他們的故事更豐富和更有深度與意義時常使用的工具之一。而且有時候英雄的旅程還是可以讓一些短片或甚至廣告的故事更紮實。

總而言之,助各位好運!

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