Let's say you're just aching to grab the attention of creative students into your learning institution. The typical branding messages, billboards, brochures, and false idol 'networking' sites that parrot Facebook's game aren't working. And your running out of money/patience/vision.
Well, perhaps you oughta take a gander at the work Hillman Curtis did for one institution of higher learning...and ask yourself why with a sub-$500 digital video camera and a simple goal of crafting a simple story, you can't do something similar to grab eyes/hearts. Watch the following 3 student stories.
Admire. Learn. Smile. Realize that inspired storytelling is different than point/shoot/upload. Be humble. Start over. Storyboard. Edit. Edit some more. Empathize with your audience. And go, go, go...
Wonder what stories your own kids could tell even today at your school?
Forget the uploading watered down video tech junk that so frequently populates the edu-blogger airwaves with its nonsensical promises to impress the kiddos. Just figure out how to tell a story in simple, elegant terms. And then, maybe then, as Dan warns, consider a narrative film of your own.
High on the list of figure-it-out items of mine for this coming school year is to figure out how to wrestle the narrative film bear to the ground.
I'll admit it:
Some of it lies in wanting to figure out if video really deserves a role in a fairly traditional HS English curriculum (and I'm not talking about showing an Oscar Wilde inspired film adaptation after reading the play). This is partially a 2.0 itch that keeps wanting to be scratched, although I'm with Dan in his reminders that video done poorly is video worth skipping (and this means most, if not the huge majority of teacher/student-built videos) which lack the time/vision/ability to do narrative video well.
The second part of my craving is a bit more curriculum/student focused:
It lies in at least two students of mine from last year -- I'll call them "Z" & "M" -- who threaten to double-handedly pull me into the crafting video age on their own (along with a colleague of mine ("Kern") who is their digital movie/story teacher/mentor and the guy who will teach me a few bells/whistles, too. I'm sitting on one of their rough draft screen plays right now 'cause "Z" wanted an English teacher's POV at this stage of his story's development.
I'm going to get back to him on that, but I'm also going to urge like crazy that he spend time with the rest of the Hillman Curtis short film portfolio like "Embrace" which is just aching for me to use in the classroom this fall with the obvious "tell me what happened the day before this..." prompt to my students.
Man, is this crazy lovely, delicate, and powerful all in one short film shot! If only we have the ability to learn from it:
Oh, and I'm going to strongly suggest that "Z" and "M" buy Curtis' books about making films for the web, too: