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When CreatorUp first approached me about working on a series of educational videos about soft skills in the workplace, I wasn’t sure if this project was a good fit for me. After all, I’m a writer and director with a background in narrative filmmaking, and only minimal experience in the educational realm.
However, after hearing the parameters of the series and the goals that Feather River College was hoping to accomplish, I realized something important: the things that make me love movies and TV are actually the very same things that could make video an effective teaching tool. Narrative filmmaking could help students understand the universal soft skills that help lead to professional success.
Knowing vs. Understanding: The Power of Video to Make the Abstract Real
Let me back up. I know from my own time as a student that it’s incredibly difficult to understand ideas without a context. Even now, I still remember the day my high school physics teacher explained angular momentum conservation by bringing in a turntable, standing on it, and spinning. When his arms were outstretched, he span slower, and when he brought them in, he span faster. I might have known what angular momentum conservation was before that demonstration, but I didn’t understand it until I saw it.
That’s because there is a difference between knowing something and being able to apply that knowledge in a real-life situation. Too often, there is no intermediary step to help students transition from the theoretical sphere to the practical.
Framing each of the soft skills that FRC identified in a narrative, problem-based video scenario does exactly what my high school physics teacher did with his spinning demonstration: it takes abstract information and transforms it into something concrete. By showing scenes in which these soft skills are necessary – for an assortment of people, in a variety of job functions, across a range of industries – we were able to create a series of videos that provide the necessary stepping stone between learning a skill and using a skill. Ultimately, incorporating key elements of narrative filmmaking into this educational curriculum provides students with a more organic and seamless learning experience — and, consequently, greater capacity for professional success.
CreatorUp instructor Katherine Vondy is a writer, producer and director whose work spans theatre, film and literature. You can find her regular musings on her blog, The Walking Deadpan.
“CreatorUp is Going Places” and we need your help! Do you love creators, education, and helping people make new projects? You might be a great candidate to become a local CreatorUp Accelerator Program Director! (more…)
What pisses you off the most about retail, online shopping, or company reputation? For me, nothing grinds my gears more than crappy customer service. Especially for your business, social media is a two-way conversation that you can’t afford to miss out on. Using your social media to grow customers should hands-down be one of your top priorities. (more…)
What would social media be like without our phones? Besides geotagging your new profile pic, its obvious that without staying up to date on our phones, the lack of urgency would reduce business’ effectiveness. The whole point is that people love stories. Between 140 character blurbs and using your phone’s built in camera you can make astounding content on your phone for your business. (more…)
What’s worse than not knowing what to say for your business’ online accounts? Not knowing what to say across five or more websites that you’ve set up those accounts on. Don’t make that mistake. These websites, also known as “channels” are your first line of communication with your audience. Your social media storytelling abilities reflect your brand legitimacy and, in turn, your value to the consumer as a business. (more…)
Color Correction can be the savior you need for a project that requires a bit of help. It has a lot of versatile functionality, but mostly you can use it to iron out any production problems you might have had (for example, a light that changed or the sun going down). People keep color correction as a staple of their digital cinematography arsenal because it can be used to make one shot’s look match another in order to keep the audience engrossed in the storyline and characters, and not focused on the production value. Leave that to the critics. (more…)
Every shot in your film should advance the story – no ifs, ands or buts. You can convey a lot of meaning inside of a classic “two shot” (a shot with two people as the main focus) without your actors having to say anything. It is all based on how you position them next to each other as well as within the frame. This is known as “blocking.” There are a couple of different styles when considering how to film a movie, and each has its appropriate uses when you’re learning how to film a movie. (more…)
“Any problem in production could have been fixed in pre-production” – Ang Lee
Chaos is the word of choice when describing what it can be like on a poorly planned film shoot. Nobody knows what to do, tensions are running as high as the stakes, and your coworkers will be at each other’s throats. Luckily, that is rarely the case thanks to good Pre-Production planning. Everything from understanding the project’s tone to putting your crew into motion to duplicate that tone requires a plan and a back up plan. Preferably two. (more…)
Your ability to be confident on camera results from how much you have prepared for each shoot you do. Over time you will develop your flow and your on-camera persona will be a genuine reflection of your personality. Until then, here are some tips to get you started: (more…)
Keeping a cool head on camera is no easy feat. For anyone. In order to prove to the audience that you can do this, you need to prepare ahead of time to get your goals accomplished. (more…)
One useful idea that we haven’t discussed yet is actually raising money before you launch your campaign. While we have emphasized the importance of your all-encompassing first impression, it helps to have the numbers already there to back it up. Which is more impressive, a campaign that has no sponsors? Or one that already has 30% or more of its target goal? This is a good number to try and hit because its not impossible by any means and it carries a solid heft when potential donors hear it. (more…)
Startups are a special breed. In my opinion there is no other part of the industry where an entrepreneurial project can establish a career so successfully. Your Startup project’s campaign is an extension of what it stands for as a brand, and one important part of a brand is who knows about it. (more…)
Once you have your perfected pitch squared away, the next step to focus on is how you’re going to raise money in an effective and, most importantly, personal way. As a startup, your individual brand can be your biggest asset unlike many of the larger, faceless corporations in the industry today. (more…)
You want to make a great first impression if people are going to buy into your project. No matter how many people you bring it to, no matter how many views you get on your page, it all boils down to how you design your pitch and one-liner. (more…)