Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Building Momentum

Greetings, I wanted to start this blog out by thanking Cabrini Connections Film Club for accepting me as a new group leader! This week was another busy week for film club. We continued to make shot lists and storyboards. At this point there is a shot list and boards for about a third of our short film. Working through this process never ceases to inspire me. Everyone in the club has helped to contribute ideas to the film each week and with each new idea I can see it taking shape.

We had a few less members this week due to Brittany and Reggie’s birthday, but that did not halt our progress. Mae gave a great tutorial on the basics of screenwriting formatting. Formatting for screenwriting can be overwhelming at first, it is something that becomes easier with practice. I can’t wait to see the script for our film formatted like a true screenplay.

After our writing discussion we jumped right back into creating shot lists and storyboards for two more scenes. Kierre was on fire this week! He had such a great vision for the kidnapping scene. He managed to transform a fairly simple scene into one with great dramatic and cinematic potential. Melissa and Marquise were feeding on Kierre’s vision as well and we powered through ten shots in just a few minutes!

This week we managed to build a great deal of momentum. I am confident that we will have completed storyboards for the film early next year when we all come back after the holidays. Stay tuned for our photo storyboards.

Thanks for reading,

Karl Geweniger

Friday, December 11, 2009

Work in Progress

Video and Filmmakers Club has continued to meet through the month of November and into December, and they've added three club leaders: Mae Moreno, Shu Ling Young, and Karl Geweniger. The group is currently working on a script and storyboards for their first film project. Members' roles for the project are as follows:
  • Executive Producer - Kierre Halbert
  • Producer - Melissa Young
  • Associate Producer - Marquise Cook
  • Director - Brittany Murphy
  • Assistant Director - Marquise Cook and Cantrell Strauther
  • Writer - Kierre and Melissa
  • Camera - Cantrell
  • Audio/Sound - Reggie Murphy
  • Lighting - Sean Mayfield
  • Editing - Reggie, Melissa, and Sean
  • Production Assistant - Cantrell, Marquise, Kierre
  • Design - Brittany
  • Actors - Everyone!
Stay tuned for more updates! Thanks for following.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Role Playing

I connected with Cabrini Connections via 'United We Serve' hoping to assist in the process of grant writing.
After my first visit with Dan at their facility, I met Bradley and inquired about how he came to vounteer with the organization. He discussed the variety of afterschool clubs and mentioned I might be interested in sitting in on Film Club later that evening, as my degree and much of my post-degree work experience involved camera and talent assisting while working in the Texas and Louisiana film industry.
Since that time I've had the pleasure of joining the Film Club on three occasions.

It's evident that the kids in the club have come to love and trust Michael as their mentor but
the downside of this is that Michael's eco-conscious production company is incredibly demanding, often taking him out of town to film special presentations.
It's clear that he needs a partner to help man the ship and keep the kids engaged and committed to filming their Cabrini Connections short horror film.

When he phoned last Saturday to say that he had to leave for Nashville on Monday, I knew he was calling to ask if I could sub for him.
My initial reaction of terror would have made a great close-up clip for the Film Club project as I must admit the thought was intimidating.
I'd never taught anything in my life, aside from managing and training a host of renegade children while working as a traveling store manager for American Apparel.
As a retail manager you are trained to know company policy and proceedure inside and out; in other words, the manual comes with the job - you supply the confidence.
Leading Film Club, there is no manual. You have to dive in head first.

Despite Michael's absence, this week's meeting accomplished the goal of storyboarding Scene Two and was full of energy thanks to the latest club addition - smart and sassy 6th grader Narae.

We stumbled a bit in the beginning as there was some confusion as to whether or not we'd need to start the storyboarding process over and due to missing dialogue and storyboards due from the previous meeting.
With Melissa and Sean's help we worked around this and resumed tbe process of storyboarding from Scene Two Shot Two.
Melissa was assigned to direct this particular scene and using the shot list crafted over the month of October, we worked on visualizing each shot under her guidance.

For the storyboarding of Scene One, Sean and Reggie had volunteered to sketch the shots out.
Unfortunately Sean was called away from the meeting for family reasons and it seemed the brunt of the illustration would fall to Reggie alone this week.

When it came time to sketch Scene Two, to our surprise Narae and Marquis both enthusiastically volunteered to do a shot a piece.
Then suddenly everyone wanted a shot a crafting a panel on the storyboard - except Kierre and Cantrell . Both asserted they did not know how to draw.
I assured them there is no right or wrong when it comes to drawing and encouraged them to each map a shot.
Kierre contributed Shot Four and learned that he could draw afterall.

Towards the end of the meeting, Cantrell shied away...anxious to begin shooting and using equipment rather than dealing with the hassel of pre-production.
Bradley joined the group after snack time and, sensing the restlessness, promised that next week we'd take a break from pre-production to film the Art Club.

Next week is certain to be just as action packed.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Editing good times at Video Club!

We got down to the basics of editing today with two guests, Karl and Shuling, who work for our club leader Michael!

It was great getting to hear editors and directors of actual Hollywood movies share their stories in the first video clip we got to watch: The Cutting Edge. The Kuleshov Experiment clip we got to watch next was pretty amazing because it showed me that the exact same picture can bring about very different emotions when it's juxtaposed with different images. Neat! We also got to learn about different continuity editing techniques though an action-packed video featuring clips from V for Vandetta.

What we found pretty intriguing was the fact that there are about 24 frames for every second of film we watch. So in that short 45-second clip we watched in Video Club today, we calculated that there were 1,080 frames! Yikes, now that's a lot of pictures!

The best part, though, was getting to have hands-on practice actually making our own editorial decisions! It was challenging to splice together 4 shots, including a wide shot, a close-up and two two-shots from different angles, but our finished products turned out great! It was refreshing to see the different edits made by both our groups, as well as the cut that Karl had originally done when he edited this scene for his college project. It's amazing how 1 scene can be cut in so many ways!

We're really excited to apply all that we've learned today about video editing to the horror movie we'll be making. Check back next week for more on our learning journey when Michael returns!

Film Club's first crack at editing!

Today we all learned about editing and editing techniques. There were tons of video clips illustrating concepts like the 180 degree rule which we talked about a few weeks ago with Brad. We learned about eye-matches, cut on action, and cross cutting. After a lot of talking about editing we finally got a chance to edit a short scene trying out some of the techniques. We split into two groups and each made a cut. We ran out of time at the end but the time we did have actually making edits was fun.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 21st, 2009

Video and Filmmakers Club held its first fall meeting on Monday night. Tutoring and mentoring began last week so there were some new recruits in attendance: Kierre and Marquise (pictured below in mysterious blur). Last week's cameraman, Cantrell, showed both of them how to use the camera and they proceeded to shoot two scenes: our entry into the main room of Cabrini Connections and our characters' introductions.

Before shooting, we discussed elements of pre-production including screenwriting and storyboarding. Though we do not have the time to write a thorough script and draw a detailed storyboard, it is important to get a general idea about what is going on in a particular scene and how it should look. Based on camera techniques we learned earlier this summer, group members came up with some great ideas (for example, the following shot of Reggie walking into Cabrini Connections was all Melissa's idea).

Thanks for following our work. We hope to have a video ready soon!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Week 6 (summer)

Today was our first day of filming!

We accomplished a lot in 90 minutes including writing and capturing the first two shots of our first scene.

The first day of a shoot is always exciting and everyone who was in attendance did a great job including Sean, Melissa, Reggie, Brittany and Cantrell (as our director and shooter for the day)!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 5 (Summer 2009)

Video and Filmmakers Club did not meet this week because of Labor Day, but we were on CBS 2 Chicago at 10pm! Click HERE to watch!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Week 4 (Summer 2009)

Video and Filmmakers Club met tonight for a video camera lab. Club Leader Michael Alexander brought in a "procorder"(professional camcorder) to show eight students in attendance how to use it. They executed four shots - still, pull out, pull in, and pan - and then watched their work in playback mode.

After a lot of hands-on work, the meeting concluded with a long brainstorming session. The club has decided to shoot a horror film on the premises of Cabrini Connections. Each club member will star in the movie (they've already decided on roles) and direct a scene. A script will be collectively written next week and shooting will take place on September 14th.

Lastly, Video and Filmmakers Club was paid a surprise visit by CBS 2 Chicago! Footage of the club was taken and several students were interviewed. Look for the piece on Cabrini Connections to air tomorrow night (Tuesday) at 10 PM CST!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Week 3 (Summer 2009)

Video and Filmmakers Club met on Monday for a photography lab. Students learned about framing, aspect ratio, camera angles, and other elements of filmmaking before using digital cameras to practice an array of shots, such as...

Medium shot of Jon'nita

Medium close-up of Melissa

Low angle shot of Charles

Everyone seemed to enjoy the introductory lesson, but they are really looking forward to next week's lab with real HD video cameras!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Week 2 (Summer 2009)

Video and Filmmakers Club met last night to discuss documentary composition. Club Leader Michael Alexander showed clips from several films, including Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media, What the #$*! Do We (K)now!?, and our very own Cabrini Green, 'This is What I Know': Our Lives, Our Truths, Our Stories, an award-winning film created by Cabrini Connections students and volunteers. We discussed effective strategies for documentary filmmaking and how we may apply elements from the films watched in our own work.

Next week there will be a photography lab. Ultimately, videos are just a long string of individuals images, so that is where we will start! Students will work on framing, camera angles, and more. The club, current in week two of its six week summer session, plans to make a short film about Cabrini Connections to be shown at the first nights of tutoring on Wednesday, September 16, and Thursday, September 17. Thanks for following our progress as this new version of the film club gets off the ground. Please stay tuned!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Week 1 (Summer 2009)

9th grader Charles Hill is here to give us a recap of Week 1:

The video club just started Monday, August 10. The video club's first day will always be tedious work, getting started and planning such ideas. As for now Michael has shown the group the basics in learning the video camera, editing, and watching how to interview people. I have learned a lot of what we will be doing. I predict that the video club will be very spectacular at Cabrini Connections.