Friday, July 25, 2014
Media Production Experience: Fictional Narrative Production
Cramming an "introduction" to shooting a scripted narrative into even one term would feel crazy to me. Trying to cover it in just a couple of weeks, while necessary, has felt largely inadequate. There's just such a lot of elements that have to come together with reasonable proficiency in order for a finished product to begin to look even moderately polished. We briefly covered a few of these: scripting, shot-lists and shooting scripts, 3/4 point lighting, continuity, 180 degree rule, and dialogue editing. I felt that an overview of on-set and pre-production roles would have been beneficial, as well as possibly a more thorough introduction to on-set-protocols.
We've all had a difficult time trying to assess the best ways to choose the best concepts to teach in a youth classroom setting in order to provide the best value to students. The narrative unit could easily fill an entire course, though it's highly unlikely that a non-CTE teacher would have access to cameras, lighting, editing, and sound equipment needed to really illustrate these processes to a class. (Especially a large class, where hands-on-experiences with equipment and software become more problematic).
Allowing for these limitations, I've found that most of the lesson-plan material I come up with is not best suited for a public secondary-school setting. I'm not familiar with those environments and I am a poor judge of what would work well in them. However, a lot of what I am able to devise would probably work well in a private or charter-school setting with a smaller class size and access to resources, or in a home-school/co-op environment. It would also be well-suited to extra-curricular environments where the rubric becomes less of a focus and it is easier to assume that students are motivated to engage with the material. Any of these conditions would allow for a more favorable teacher to student ratio, as well as better likelihood of being able to access the equipment and software needed to do this kind of material justice.
While I've tried to foster media-creation in my home, I'm finding that the processes involved in narrative production are too complex and require too much simultaneous enactment for me to teach with any brevity to the ages of children I have ready access to (1-8 years). I'm not yet confident judging at what point a child would be ready to recognize all of the elements of narrative production in action at the same time. But the impossibility of illustrating shooting for continuity without also going through the editing process is a good illustration of how complex it becomes to try to teach a single concept. Continuity shooting requires involvement in pre-production, shooting, and post-production in order to be quite clear. Trying to illustrate this in a hands-on-way requires some forecasting skills from a student that even many high-schoolers may find evasive.