Your assignment: Write, Direct and Edit a narrative (fiction) short film with dialog and action in class (or on location, with teacher’s permission). This builds off of the documentary we just watched, “The Cutting Edge: The Magic of Movie Editing”
- Form a crew of 3 or 4; come up with a “Production Company Name”
- Come up with an idea for your action sequence with your crew
- Write a 1-2 paragraph treatment (description) of your short film
- Write a script (in screenplay format) for the dialog scenes
- Draw a storyboard for each shot in the action sequence. (The storyboard form is at the bottom of this post, and is handed out in class)
- Scout locations, find props as needed, and cast actors from class (pre production)
- Shoot your film during class time, somewhere on campus; OR, with permission, shoot outside of class.
Skills (we will learn)
- How to shoot a dialog scene
- How to use a boom microphone
- How to shoot with one or two cameras, with a clapboard
- How to script (screenplay format)
- How to storyboard
- How to keep continuity between shots (match action)
- How to control the pacing of the film
- How to edit (includes creating a project, inserting and moving shots, the “L-Cut” for dialog, cutting to music, basic sound mixing, titles and credits, and transitions / color correction where needed)
- How to watch, compare and critique each other’s final work.
- Length: 3-5 minutes total
- No weapons, sexual references, drug references or profanity. No violent fight scenes. No blood.
- Characters: Two characters. You may have students in your crew to act in your film.
- Plot: The film should start with an “instigating event”–some situation that starts the action. The chase ensues. The chase must resolve or end in some way with a final short scene
- Dialog: You must have a short dialog scene (at least three lines each character) at somewhere in the film (often it works well at the beginning or the end)
- Shots: At each moment in the film, the editor should have at least 2 shots to cut to (this is called coverage).
- One random prop: You will be assigned one random prop that you must incorporate into your film, in a major or minor way
- One random line of dialog: You will choose a line of dialog at random that you must use in your film.
- Style: The dialog scenes need to follow a traditional shot-reaction shot structure (2 singles and a two shot). The action sequence must be shot two different ways–for example, all in close ups and all hand held.
- Edit: Each crew member edits their own version, with an alternate ending!
- Music: Edit the chase to music
- Finishing: Titles and credits
A storyboard form is here: