agenda :: 3/3

writing warm-up: (10 min) Think about a recent conversation you had with another person, or a group, in which you learned something new about a topic you were unfamiliar with.  Write about your thoughts on the difference between learning through conversation with another person, versus learning by reading about a subject.

video warm-up: (10 min)

“Ideas are like fish. If you want to catch little fish, you can stay in the shallow water. But if you want to catch the big fish, you’ve got to go deeper. Down deep, the fish are more powerful and more pure.They’re huge and abstract. And they’re very beautiful.”

activity: Improvisation Interview: (10 min)

  1. Pull up your 100 questions page from day one.
  2. Pair up with someone near you, ideally someone you don’t know too well.
  3. One of you will begin as an interviewer, and the other will be the interviewee. The interviewer chooses a question from their list that can be used to interview another person, and must proceed to interview for at least five minutes by riffing off of the interviewees responses. The only requirement is that your interview must not stop before I call time.
  4. Switch roles, and repeat step 3!

screening: this american life, “two wars” :: b-roll: a common technique in documentary filmmaking is to combine interview footage with “b-roll” material that supplements the meaning of the piece and the fills out the picture you are painting for us of your subject. this could be shots that establish the scene (interesting things you notice in the interview environment), capture important “action”, or otherwise fill in the gaps and break up interview footage or audio, and reinforce the message. b-roll is the key to keeping things interesting and avoiding a “talking head” interview, but also to help tell us about the subject.

what kinds of b-roll did you notice used in this story? jot down a few things you notice on a scratch piece of paper if you need. how does this documentary challenge the conventional ways of interviewing a subject?

in-class writing: pre-production journal

  • a few good examples of an a-level response to this journal :: edwinnicole; kelley
  • take the next 30 minutes or so to begin answering all the prompts in the pre-production segment of the production journal. you should write in as much detail as you can for each segment, even if this is just your initial idea. it is important to think about these things before you go out and shoot, and is a useful way to start thinking about the subject of your piece and what you’ll need to prepare for shooting. remember, this is a map and outline for your project, and this writing is meant to be mostly for your benefit. however, it also keeps me in the loop about the progress of your video project. this writing will ask you to commit somewhat seriously to exploring an idea, which is the first scary step you have to take to make something great!

group meetings: check back in with each other and share what you’ve written for the pre-production journal. help each other fill in the gaps if there were any segments of the journal that you were having trouble with. share any other pertinent info or feedback you received in the past couple days, and ask questions.


  1. Prepare a ten-question interview centered around a topic of your choice.  You will interview a classmate with these questions in class on Tuesday and record it with your ISight camera (or other camera), so have the questions posted on your blog but also printed or written out for you to follow. also due on your blog by wednesday at 11:59pm
  2. if you did not yet finish your pre-production journal, make sure you finish it some time this week and have it posted to your blog by monday at 11:59pm.  by tuesday’s class, we will move forward into the “production” segment of the video process. it is natural that your project will evolve at this stage, but addressing these points now will help you create a much better piece. if your subject changes completely, these prompts will need to be addressed again.
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