20 February 2009

Period One — Level Two — Finish and submit treatments. Watch “War Dance” and discuss camera work, editing, and production issues.

Period Two — Level One — Complete work on “War Dance.”  Watch and discuss “Citizen Kane.” It will help with “War Dance.”

Period Three — Level Two — Finish and submit treatments. Watch “War Dance.” Watch and discuss “Citizen Kane.” It will help with “War Dance.”

Notes on writing treatments, using example in class: [see notes below on how to submit treatment.]

Overview: John discovers/thinks he has magic powers. But others doubt it. He will do anything to prove he’s right. He disappears.

[Note: By choosing the word “discover” or “think,” in the sentence above, you are shaping character. If the character “discovers” his powers, then they are real and must be demonstrated in the video; if he “thinks’ he has powers, then maybe he is delusional and others are right about him.]

Your “overview” is known in some circles as a “high concept,” the big idea. In a documentary, for instance, the overview might read:

“A documentary about the stagehands and their preparation for the big show coming up at school. We will explore the tensions, skills and challenges they face as opening night approaches, culminating in shots backstage, including their reaction to the show when the curtain finally comes down. We’ll end our documentary when the last light in the auditorium goes out.”

After the overview, you describe your show in one or two pages, scene by scene, as if you were actually shooting it. In the first case, about “Disappearing John,” you would begin:

CAMERA FADES UP on John standing still, as if in a trance, in school lobby during a class change. PULL IN as students hurredly pass to CLOSE SHOT of John’s blank stare.

CAMERA TRACKS a friend who approaches John and asks if he’s all right. John tells him, “I’ve got magic powers.” Etc.,


Tools for filmmakers: Your filmsHollywood for the home:



All writing for level II will be submitted in Google.docs. How do you do that?

1. Get a Google account, and/or email written work to me at Mr.Shear8@gmail.com

2. This format will allow me to edit and assist you should you request it.

3. I will then place your work into a common account, which we can all view in class and discuss in order to refine and improve your work.

4. You may also work in a MS WORD and email any work to me as an attachment at Mr.Shear8@gmail.com and I will convert it into a Google.doc for you.


For those who missed it:

Open — Scratch!


Download here:


Students may try out the games. Monday, you will create a game in class.


View “Citizen Kane” for shots, angles, and camera moves. Discuss why this film is considered a masterpiece. What other films are considered masterpices?


Find film ideas on:



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