Student Filmmaking Starts with Free Tools

November 23, 2009 at 1:14 pm Leave a comment

Today’s post is for beginners and it’s about scripting and storyboards. It will also provide links to a free scripting tool and free lesson plans. Want more than the basics? No worries. There will be plenty in the coming weeks for intermediate and advanced filmmaking! Even interviews with our professional judges! So come often and participate in the conversation.

I’ve got a nifty tool you can use to get started right away with a very fundamental part of filmmaking: the concept idea and scripting. Getting the idea/creative vision/inspiration for your film, video or one-shot wonder down on paper first is a good thing and this is much easier to do if you use a process called storyboarding. You have flexibility with a variety of ways you can get your ideas captured so do what works best for you. It’s more important to have a tight, all-inclusive and coherent roadmap for the process of completing your film that keeps you on track rather than worrying about which process to use.

For example, I frequently use Post-It Notes for my general outlining process so I can move them around on the wall easier as I hone my idea. I’ve used dry-erase boards, recycled paper, napkins, cardboard, anything I can draw on and tape to the wall — I’m kinda “old school” — that way, I can sketch little rough visual pictures of things like captions, props needed, camera angels, look and feel references, stuff like that. It almost looks like a crude comic strip. It’s not meant to be perfect at this initial stage — just capturing thoughts and ideas down.

I also jot down any little odd thing through this part of the concept brainstorming process. Items that may seem irrelevant or too detailed in the early stages still get their little notations and then go into a grouping we call the “parking lot” for later. You can do that too. This Post-It Note process also allows for my team members to add their thoughts and ideas as well. I prefer to collaborate with a team of diverse skill sets and thinking to get the best ideas flowing.

Then I grab my computer and take all of the little Post-It Notes info and dump them into a more polished electronic scripting formatting tool similar to Kids’ Vid Storyboarding Tool — it’s free and easy to use. It’s a fantastic way for beginners to jump right in. I know plenty of creative people who storyboard right on their computer. It doesn’t matter what you prefer so I’ll repeat this again — don’t let the process stop your creativity. Go with the flow that fits your comfort zone and then loop back around and put it into a process to keep you focused, on track, on time and on budget! Storyboarding tools are a great way to help with this process.

Additionally, on Kids’ Vid, you’ll see a variety of good fundamental information important to getting you started with a solid foundation if you’re a fledgling young filmmaker. For educators, this site is simple to understand and provides resources to incorporate video production into your classroom curriculum. Take a look at the classroom lesson plans Kids’ Vid provides as well.

OK, let us hear from you! Do you have a cool tool or thoughts and ideas to help get the creative process going? If so, leave a comment. Also, let us hear your No. 1 question about filmmaking and we’ll get the answer for you.


Entry filed under: film,, Learning, OneSeventeen Media, Technology, Young Minds Digital Times. Tags: , , , , , , , , , .

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