Project
The Long and the Short of it: A class about Short Films
- A multi-skill project course about language, culture, and the telling of compelling but compact stories
Fri. 3rd. Period David P. O'Donnell
Keywords:
Culture, Discussion, Listening, Project, Research, Speaking, Vocabulary, Web Activities, Writing

This course is about the medium of short films. Whereas feature films and television programs have extended periods of time in which they can make us interested in their characters - make us laugh, cry, connect, and think about things in a new way - short films attempt to create similarly impactful pieces of art over a much shorter span. Sometimes they succeed spectacularly and sometimes they fail. In this course, we will try to unpack what makes a good short film, and in so doing we will experience more than two dozen examples of films from around the world and attempt to make our own. We will build web pages where we analyze, deconstruct, critique the efforts of others, and document the process of trying to create our own short movies.


This class is intended to improve student motivation to help them learn about language, to enjoy art, to explore new ideas, to enjoy the stories of others, and to tell their own stories. 


Attendance: 25%
Class Participation: 25%
Web Work: 25%
Short Film: 25%
Extra Credit: 25%


1

  1. Attendance
  2. Course introduction
  3. Sign up to make web page and begin constructing our individual websites
  4. Watch 1st short film & discuss themes
  5. Form groups and discuss making our own film / experiment with cameras.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

2

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 2nd short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, iscuss making our own film in more detail. Brainstorm genres, themes, characters, etc.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

3

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 3rd short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Pitch 3 different general plots. Share your possible plots with another group. 

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

4

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 4th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Pitch 3 MORE general plots. Share your possible plots with another group. 

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

5

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 5th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in EVEN more detail. Chose your top idea, and share it with another group. 

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

6

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 6th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, write character descriptions for your characters and share them with another group. Think about casting from the members of your group and other classmates.


Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

7

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 7th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Make storyboards for your short film and begin scriptwriting. Cast the movie and have cast members really get into the character. Think of their motivations, think of their likes and dislikes, think of their first toy, biggest irritant and greatest passion. Who are they? Who are you when you become them?


Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

8

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 8th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Show your scripts to another group. Do a table read of your script. Pay attention to where people are sitting, and how they are spaced. People who are close (lovers, best friends, siblings) sit close. People who are not close (enemies, estranged siblings, disgruntled ex-lovers) sit farther away, and in your minds try to feel the closesness or distance. Pretend to be those characters. Jerks should act "jerky", sweethearts should act loving and supportive, plotting mischief makers should act and talk as their characters would. Play a card game, staying in character throughout.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

9

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 9th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Practice shooting and set locations. Try to make a "rough cut" of your film.


Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

10

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 10th short film & discuss.
  4. In groups, discuss making our own films in more detail. Shoot your film in and around campus, or make plans to meet for location shoots.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.
3. Work on your films with your groupmates.

 

11

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 11th short film & discuss.
  4. Watch early cuts of student films. Give constructive criticism.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

12

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 12th short film & discuss.
  4. Watch more early cuts, and if possible, finished products.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

13

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 13th short film & discuss.
  4. Watch finished products. 


Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

14

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 14th short film & discuss.
  4. Watch finished products.

Homework

1. Watch 1-2 more related films
2. Work on your web page and write about the films you watched and your progress on your own filmmaking endeavors.

15

  1. Attendance
  2. Preview/discuss theme for this week's film
  3. Watch 14th short film & discuss.
  4. Watch finished products if applicable.
  5. Play games and/or enjoy award-winning and/or blockbuster movie
     

    Homework 

    1. Have a fantastic holiday.
    2. Finish any make-up / extra work before the deadline (to be announced).