My first year film literacy students have started their big movie project. Students will be spending the next few months making short films, three to four minutes long, in their production groups. I thought it would be a good idea to Skype with one of my former students, Nic Weinfeld, to get some tips as we start this whole process. As usual, Nic had some great advice for us. I edited the twenty minute Skype chat down into this six minute video. I tried to focus on some of the main ideas I want my students to take away from the conversation.
In the past, I always had students first brainstorm story ideas before thinking about possible themes. However, during our Skype chat, Nic recommended that we first come up with a theme BEFORE starting to think about possible character and story ideas.
So I asked students to brainstorm possible themes they would like to convey in their films. I wanted them to come up with messages that were meaningful and relevant to them in their own lives. As Nic said during our Skype, if you are passionate about something you want to say, your film will be a lot more meaningful. Students worked in their groups coming up with possible themes. Check out our Theme Bulletin Board we created sharing all our different ideas:
After each group decided on a theme for their film, we started brainstorming story and character ideas. It was definitely easier for students to start thinking about possible story ideas after they had already identified a theme. I had students brainstorm twenty different story ideas before finally deciding on one.
Students are now in the process of planning out their films and figuring out exactly how to tell their stories. When they begin writing their scripts next week, I hope we can Skype with Nic again for some more advice.