Advanced Filmmaking Reflection


Wes Anderson directing Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Having screened and discussed all the films in class, reflect on you Quarter 1 Narrative Short Film. Demonstrate through this reflection what you have learned from the process of making you film with a crew of your peers.
At least 3 sentences each answer: 
  1. What do you feel you planned well on this production (something you did intentionally that is visible / audible in the final product)?
  2. Tell me a story from your shoot. Did anything happen on your production that was unexpected? Was it good or bad for your production?
  3. What would you do differently next time? What have you learned from making this film?
  4. Who contributed to your production, and how? Give thanks to one of your collaborators (crew or cast members).
  5. What is the best film (other than your own) produced in this class so far, and why?

Review an Article on Digital Technology

panasonic limuxThe possibilities for digital photography are expanding every day with new tools and technologies. For this assignment, search on line for an article or review of a digital imaging technology that you are curious about. Write a summary of the article (one paragraph), and your opinion of the technology. Post your review on your blog. In your blog post, include a link to the article so we can read it, as well as at least one image of the technology.

Alternate assignment: Review a favorite photographer who uses digital technology in their work. Describe their work (summarize it) in your first paragraph, then describe why you like it (review it) in your second paragraph. Include a link to their work, as well as an image or images of their work in your blog post.

I expect you to search online and find the article on your own. It can be a technology review, but don’t just get information from the company’s website–read a review as well by a third party.

Short Documentary Assignment


Paul Van Ness, awards Victoria Robbins the first place award as co-director for the film STAINED GLASS. Photo by Mary Shea Photography
Paul Van Ness, awards Victoria Robbins the first place award as co-director for the film STAINED GLASS.
Photo by Mary Shea Photography

Objective: Create a 3 to 5 minute non-fiction film that explores a subject interesting to the student through interviews and visuals. We will enter your films into this year’s Salem Film Festival’s Five Minute Student Doc contest. Link: Salem Film Festival

Possible topics: A biography of a subject; an exploration of a hobby, sport, or passion and the people who do it; an investigation of a controversial topic, exploring both sides of the issue; documenting an event; a historical documentary, using still images. See examples at the bottom of this post.


  • Subject is student’s choice, but must be approved by the teacher
  • Topic is concrete; film should also explore a theme or larger idea
  • No more than 5 minutes in length
  • 1 main interview (more if needed)
  • 30 shots (“b-roll”) to illustrate that interview
  • Still images, historical images or “found footage” (pre-existing media) if needed
  • Music can be used for montage sequence(s), intro and ending
  • May use text or a voiceover to convey information beyond the interviews


  1. Choose a partner, or choose to work alone. Your teacher may pair you up with someone you haven’t worked with before.
  2. Identify and research three subjects.
  3. Discuss them with your teacher.
  4. Identify and arrange interviews (subjects, locations) or an event to document
  5. Type up a pre-production packet: 
    • In a treatment (4 or 5 sentence paragraph) describe your film (story, characters, theme)
    • A list of interview subjects (with a one sentence description of each)
    • Interview questions (at least 5) for each interview subject
    • A list of locations 
    • A list of shots (“B-Roll”)
    • voiceover script or on screen text (as needed)
    • A production schedule (when you will be shooting, and where)
    • An equipment list for each shoot
    • A list of five next steps for your production (what do you need to do from this moment to get your production rolling)  … download this production packet template here: Documentary Production Packet
  6. Practice technology needed for shooting (wireless lavaliere microphones, camcorders, location lights with umbrellas)
  7. Shoot the video
  8. Rough Edit (Shooting may continue while you begin editing). This means putting the pieces in place to tell the story. Resist using effects or doing extensive audio editing until the story is complete
  9. Screen for fellow students and teacher
  10. Fine cut (trim, effects, color correction, transitions, titles, credits, audio effects and mixing)
  11. Share and screen with the class


Search the Short Film of the Week website to find short documentaries on your own. Also, watch these select outstanding short documentaries for inspiration and ideas…

The Most Quoted Man in the News

Follow Your Fears

A Brief History of John Baldessari

Mo’Ne Davis: Throw Like a Girl

In Guns We Trust


Every Runner Has a Reason

Marie’s Dictionary

A Kiss Deferred

Clint Smith: Beyond This Place

Making Memories

Smith, Eugene - Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946
Smith, Eugene – Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946

Essential Questions:

  • What are key images that represent the most important people, places and things in your life?
  • How can photography be used to preserve or remind us of memories?
  • How does the way an image is shot and printed affect the tone, mood and meaning of that image?
  • What power do photographic images have to tell a personal story? What is not visible in images?
  • How do words–titles, captions and descriptions–enhance (or take away) from the meaning of a photographic image?

Directions: Shoot two rolls of black and white film. You need to capture of the following seven subjects from your daily life…

  • People who matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • Places that matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • Things (objects) that matter the most to you (2 or more)
  • A person, place or thing that will disappear for you in the next three years, or will never be the same (at least 1 image)

Each subject needs to be photographed two different ways (ie, up close and far away; different angles; different light). Remember, every choice you make as a photographer can add to the meaning of the subject in some way. Think about what you know about design from previous assignments.

Keep a journal for this projects (can be on your laptop). Write freely about each of your subjects (people, places and things). What do they mean to you? Why did they deserve to be preserved or remembered through photography?

Printing: You need to print the following:

  • Two contact sheets (one for each roll)
  • One image of each subject (you may choose your best shot)–so, at least seven images
  • 8×10″ standard size for all images
  • One 16×20″ print per student optional (if you haven’t printed one yet, you must print one for this assignment!)
  • At least one lith print (choose one image to reprint using lith developer…so you have a normal black and white print, plus the lith print to compare)
Bonnie, Shotgun Lounge by Alec Soth
Bonnie, Shotgun Lounge by Alec Soth

Advanced Photography Reflection (Q1, Fall 2015)

Vivian Maier Self-Portrait
Vivian Maier Self-Portrait

Advanced Photography – Quarter 1 Reflection

The H-Block Advanced Photography students have discussed what they feel is important to them in this class. They have agreed on three main ideas (listed below). Mr. Gooder agrees to evaluate this class according to these criteria. Students will first write a reflection and share it with their teacher, who will respond in writing.

The reflection itself is an assignment and will be due on Friday.

Directions: Write a paragraph (5 or more sentences) describing your work in each of the following categories. Please pay attention to each of the bullet points (although you don’t need to make a list). You should cite examples of your (ie which projects or images you excelled on, or specific lessons or experiences, in and out of class), and reflect on ways you can improve as you move forward (things you want to learn, pay more attention to, and so on). 

Optional: The class decided that each student should have the option to suggest the letter grade they feel you deserve in each category. Mr. Gooder will assign his own letter grade and compare them. If they differ, he will split the difference. You may prefer Mr. Gooder to do the grading, and just work on the reflection (without assigning grades). 


  • Excludes outcome of print–more about each student trying to do the best work they can
  • Focus on desire to improve, applying techniques, overcoming challenges, reshoot as needed
  • Use class time effectively
  • Try new things (ie painting with developer, solarization, different print sizes, image cropping, and so on)
  • Open to suggestions from teacher and peers
  • Meets deadlines and gets work in on time
  • Pays attention to teacher’s comments (listening and learning shows up in the work)
  • Attention to detail (doesn’t leave negatives out; uses darkroom notebook)
  • Shoots more than just the assignments
  • Tries to improve and grow as a photographer
  • Prompt and prepared – good attendance


  • Demonstrates good darkroom étiquette:
    • washing trays
    • pushing prints into chemistry
    • moving prints along
    • cleaning up your enlarger station / things organized into drawers
    • cleaning up (ie drying prints) for the rest of class
    • careful with the rotary door
    • Watch the phones
  • Helps other students through:
    • Giving constructive feedback while working
    • Participation in critique when work is done–pays attention, looks at work
    • Insightful comments on other peoples work
    • Respecting other points of view
    • Helping to maintain a non-competitive atmosphere in class, or engages in healthy competition

Quality of Work

  • Demonstrates darkroom skills (dodging/burning; filter choice; focus; easel setup; clean negs)
  • Makes choices about individual style or related to what you are trying to express with the print
  • Develops strong negatives (good values and density)
  • Negatives and prints show originality; effort in terms of finding subjects and locations
  • Negatives and prints show variety
  • Shows a distinct point of view; has a story to tell
  • Note: while art is subjective, we agree that all work should be of high quality according to the above criteria

Digital Photography Final Reflection (Q1, Fall 2015)

photo by Cig Harvey

Digital Photography – Quarter 1 Reflection

We have decided as a class to reflect on our work this quarter, without assigning a letter grade.

The reflection itself is a graded assignment and will be due on Friday.

Directions: Write a paragraph (5 or more sentences) describing your work in each of the following categories. Please pay attention to each of the bullet points (although you don’t need to make a list). You should cite examples of your (ie which projects or images you excelled on, or specific lessons or experiences, in and out of class), and reflect on ways you can improve as you move forward (things you want to learn, pay more attention to, and so on). 


  • How you show creativity in your photos
  • Shooting
  • Angles
  • Color
  • Approach the subject
  • Lighting and shadows
  • How you edit the photos
  • bringing the best
  • Originality
  • Experimentation


  • The Images
  • Process – apply your knowledge, skill and effort
  • Reflects creativity and effort
  • Images relate to writing
  • Do images tell a story
  • Images work well together
  • Do they demonstrate skill


  • Explains your photos
  • Gives insight into your thought process – enables you to get more out of it
  • Reason why you chose the subject (personal?)
  • Background on where you are.
  • Contribute to your work?
  • Well – written, organized, correct length
  • assignment requirements Meets deadlines, etc
  • Quality of thought – meaningful – original – Ideas progress and change from project to project


  • Helping the person next to you
  • Commenting on blogs
  • In class critique
  • Paying attention in class
  • Class etiquette


  • Ambitious locations
  • Number of images
  • A lot of different angles
  • Ambitious subjects
  • Takes risks 
  • Uses every minute of every class productively
  • Applying to assignment
  • Showing growth and visible improvement