Digital Documentaries

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1 Digital Documentaries Student Handouts 2004 Teaching Matters, Inc

2 Table of Contents Page Title of Handout 2-4 Process Road Maps (3 versions) 5-7 Project Rubrics (3 versions) 8 Characteristics of an Effective Personal Narrative 9 Characteristics of an Effective PSA 10 Characteristics of an Effective Informational Documentary 11 The Pitch Project Checklists (3 versions) 15 Story Board (What You See What You Hear) 16 Sample Story Board Conducting an Interview Roles and Responsibilities (3 versions) 18 Media Elements Video Clip Assessment Forms All content herein is copyright 2004 Teaching Matters, Inc. 475 Riverside Drive, Suite 1270 New York, NY USA [212] Teaching Matters, Inc.

3 Teaching Matters, Inc. Road Map for a Personal Narrative

4 Teaching Matters, Inc. Road Map for an Informational Documentary

5 Teaching Matters, Inc. Road Map for a Public Service Announcement

6 Informational Documentary Rubric Category Score Main Idea Stays with one clear main idea Has a main idea, but some information doesn t fit Has a weak or unclear main idea Does not have a main idea Supporting Media Elements Media elements provide strong support for the point of view Media elements support the point of view, but are not compelling Media elements do not support the point of view No supporting media elements are used Sources Uses and cites several reliable sources Uses only one or two reliable sources Uses mostly questionable sources Does not use outside sources Structure Narrative has a clear organizing structure and flows logically Narrative has an organizing structure but needs some improvement Narrative is disorganized No attempt at an organizing structure is in place Variety and Pacing Changes the screen image and/or audio on a regular basis to engage the audience Changes media sometimes to engage audience, but pacing could be improved Uses more than one medium, but doesn t engage audience Uses only one medium Production Values Has high-quality sound, video editing, camera work, and transitions Production values could be better, but main idea is supported Technical problems make the main idea hard to understand Technical problems ruin the video; main idea is lost Teaching Matters, Inc.

7 Personal Narrative Documentary Rubric Category Score Storytelling Techniques Develops an interesting story from the point of view of a central character Starts with an interesting story, but has no clear theme Story is confusing or not interesting Does not tell a story Supporting Media Elements Media elements provide a variety of details that support the narrative Media elements support the narrative, but more details are needed Support for the narrative is often unclear and confusing Media elements do not provide details that support the narrative Sources Uses and cites primary and secondary sources that relate directly to the narrative Uses only secondary sources that support the narrative Uses sources that do not support the narrative Does not use outside sources Structure Narrative has a clear organizing structure and flows logically Narrative has an organizing structure but needs some improvement Narrative is disorganized No attempt at an organizing structure is in place Variety and Pacing Changes the screen image and/or audio on a regular basis to engage the audience Changes media sometimes to engage audience, but pacing could be improved Uses more than one medium, but doesn t engage audience Uses only an interview with no other media Production Values Has high-quality sound, video editing, camera work, and transitions Production values could be better, but don t interfere with the story Poor production makes the story hard to understand Technical problems ruin the video; the story is lost Teaching Matters, Inc.

8 Public Service Announcement Documentary Rubric Category Score Point of View Makes a persuasive case for one clear point of view Argues for a point of view, but is not persuasive States a point of view, but does not argue for it Does not state a point of view Supporting Media Elements Media elements provide strong support for the point of view Media elements support the point of view, but are not compelling Media elements do not support the point of view No supporting media elements are used Facts Uses and cites supporting facts from reliable sources Uses supporting facts without citation Facts don t support point of view Uses opinion without facts Structure Narrative has a clear organizing structure and flows logically Narrative has an organizing structure but needs some improvement Narrative is disorganized No attempt at an organizing structure is in place Variety and Pacing Changes the screen image and/or audio on a regular basis to engage the audience Changes media sometimes to engage audience, but pacing could be improved Uses more than one medium, but doesn t engage audience Uses only one medium Production Values Has high-quality sound, video editing, camera work, and transitions Production values could be better, but don t interfere with the case Technical problems make the argument hard to understand Technical problems ruin the video; the point is lost Teaching Matters, Inc.

9 Characteristics of an Effective Public Service Announcement Definition: A Public Service Announcement, or PSA, is a 30 to 60 second video. Its goal is to persuade an audience to take a specific action or adopt a particular viewpoint on a cause or social issue Persuasive Argues one clear point of view Makes you want to do (or not do) something Entertaining Engages the audience with a variety of media, such as narration, text, interviews, photographs, dramatizations, or music Holds your interest Based on facts Uses and cites data from reliable sources Does not rely on rumors or unsupported opinions Has a clear and realistic message Something that you can immediately go out and do or take a stand on Uses concise language Gets to the point in 30 to 60 seconds Teaching Matters, Inc.

10 Characteristics of an Effective Informational Documentary Definition: An Informational Documentary is a non-fiction film without actors. Typically, it is a journalistic record of an event, person, place or phenomenon. Its purpose is to convey factual data. Compelling Based on facts Has a point of view, but does not try to persuade Entertaining Engages the audience with a variety of media, such as narration, text, interviews, photographs, dramatizations, or music Holds audience interest Based on facts Uses and cites data from reliable sources Does not rely on rumors or unsupported opinions Uses concise language No more than five to ten minutes Teaching Matters, Inc.

11 Characteristics of an Effective Personal Narrative Definition: A Personal Narrative is a film that documents one person s or several persons experiences as a way of understanding a historical event. Compelling Based on facts from the point of view of the person States facts as they happened Entertaining Engages the audience with a variety of media, such as narration, text, interviews, photographs, or music Holds audience interest Based on facts Supplements personal testimony with data from reliable sources Has a personal message Facts are told based on a personal point of view or experience Teaching Matters, Inc.

12 The Pitch Before a documentary film gets made a filmmaker has to present a rationale (a reason) for the project. This process is called: The Pitch. It is now up to you to sell your ideas to your class. 1] What is the main idea for your video? 2] What types of sources will you use to support your idea? (images, video clips, interviews, student dramatization) 3] How will you get access to these sources? 4] Why is it important to make this film? Teaching Matters, Inc.

13 Student Project Checklist for a Personal Narrative Project Checklist Start Date Completion Date Pick topic, group members and make a project folder Return student release form signed by a parent/guardian Submit media release form signed by a parent/guardian Take notes Organize notes Contact interviewee and schedule interview date Write report on topic Assign jobs and titles Confirm appointment with interviewee Create a sequence of the story Formulate the interview questions Prepare the interview questions Practice the interview Prepare the set (props and equipment) Conduct the interview Edit the first movie (First Draft) Edit the storyboard Sequence the clips Enhance the first draft Gather primary sources Write a Narration Voice Over Script Record the Voice Over Second Draft (Final Video Production) Assessment Film Festival Teaching Matters, Inc.

14 Student Project Checklist for an Informational Documentary Project Checklist Start Date Completion Date Pick topic, group members and make a project folder Return student release form signed by a parent/guardian Submit media release form signed by a parent/guardian Take notes Organize notes Contact interviewee and schedule interview date Write report on topic Assign jobs and titles Confirm appointment with interviewee Create a sequence of the story Formulate the interview questions Prepare the interview questions Practice the interview Prepare the set (props and equipment) Conduct the interview Edit the first movie (First Draft) Edit the storyboard Sequence the clips Enhance the first draft Gather primary sources Write a Narration Voice Over Script Record the Voice Over Second Draft (Final Video Production) Assessment Film Festival Teaching Matters, Inc.

15 Student Project Checklist for a Public Service Announcement Project Checklist Start Date Completion Date Pick topic, group members and make a project folder Return student release form signed by a parent/guardian Submit media release form signed by a parent/guardian Research and take notes Organize notes and write outline Draft script Assign jobs and titles Confirm appointment with interviewee Create a sequence of the story Formulate the interview questions Prepare the interview questions Practice the interview Prepare the set (props and equipment) Conduct the interview Edit the first movie (First Draft) Edit the storyboard Sequence the clips Enhance the first draft Gather primary sources Write a Narration Voice Over Script Record the Voice Over Second Draft (Final Video Production) Assessment Film Festival Teaching Matters, Inc.

16 Storyboard What You See What You Hear Teaching Matters, Inc.

17 Sample Storyboard What You See What You Hear Teaching Matters, Inc.

18 Conducting an Interview 1. Set up the video camera Indirect, natural sunlight provides the best lighting. Position the subject in a comfortable chair with a back. Keep the background behind the subject relatively neutral. Avoid items that distract from the subject (ex: paintings, fish tanks, etc.) Set the camera on a steady surface. The camera should not move at all during the interview. Using a tripod will ensure consistent positioning. Position the camera close to the subject. Tight framing is important: when viewed through the camera, the subject s head and upper body should fill the frame. Do not position the subject in the center of the frame. Position him/her to the side, facing the empty part of the frame, like so: 2. Prepare the subject Provide water and encourage the subject to keep wet Make the subject as comfortable as possible. Discuss the content of interview with the subject ahead of time. Do not give the subject the questions, but do outline the main idea of the story you expect him/her to tell, as well as the general structure of the story (the beginning, the middle, and the ending). Instruct the subject to talk to the interviewers, not the camera. Instruct the subject to answer questions using complete sentences. For example, to the question How did you register to vote?, the response should be I registered to vote by walking to the state office of elections... not I walked to the state office of elections Teaching Matters, Inc.

19 Conducting an Interview (2) 3. Conduct the interview The interviewers should sit as close to the camera as possible. This will ensure that the subject is turned toward the camera (but not facing into it). Stop the camera after each section: personal information, beginning, middle, and ending. This will help simplify the editing process later on. Interviewers should begin by asking the subject to introduce him/herself by name: My name is Henry Smith. I live in Whitestone, New York. etc. Interviewers should take care to remain still and not shuffle their papers. Interviewing Tips: Give positive feedback to the subject by nodding and reacting to his/her story with appropriate facial expressions (smiling, frowning, etc.) Don t worry about silence; let the subject think and fill in the gaps (which will be removed in the editing) Teaching Matters, Inc.

20 Media Elements Video Clips Interview Dramatization Voice Over Narration Still Images Photos Images Political Cartoons Documents Sound Files Music Special Effects Additional Elements Transitions Titles Effects Teaching Matters, Inc.

21 Roles and Responsibilities for Personal Narrative and Informational Documentary Role/Job Responsible for: Skills Project Manager Camera Operator Researchers / Internet Specialists Video Editors Interviewers Artists The overall coordination, operations and production of the documentary. This includes tracking the progress of the various tasks (artwork, research, editing, etc.) Recording the interview and other visual materials Locating information and primary source material using the Internet, textbooks, library and other sources Creating the documentary using imovie Asking questions of the subject during the taping of the interview Creating any artwork that is used in the documentary, as well as scanning and editing Organized and responsible; very good at details and has good rapport with classmates. Technical knowledge of setting up and adjusting the camera and its accessories; loads and maintains film and camera. Has a good understanding of the parts of the camera and is able to operate the camera with precision. Has good knowledge of using library catalogues, the CD-ROM and the Internet. Is able to use the different Internet search engines to locate images and primary sources. Good knowledge of imovie; connects the camera to the firewire of the computer and imports the video from the camcorder; is detailed oriented works with precision Has good knowledge of the topic and is able to communicate well with others; is a good listener and able to connect materials read with those presented by the interviewee Has good knowledge of visual layouts; use paint to create graphic material and lettering; develops, sketches and/or prints creative ideas Narrator Audio Editors Communicating the script in an interesting and dynamic way. Collecting, recording audio only elements (sound effects, music, etc. Has a clear voice that reflects the tone, atmosphere, style, personality of the work Clear enunciation, proper pitch and being able to read with enthusiasm and interest. Musically inclined Teaching Matters, Inc.

22 Roles and Responsibilities for Public Service Announcements Role/Job Responsible for: Skills Project Manager The overall coordination, operations and production of the documentary. This includes tracking the progress of the various tasks (artwork, research, editing, etc.) Organized and responsible; very good at details and has good rapport with classmates. Camera Operator Researchers/Internet Specialists Video Editors Actors Recording the interview and other visual materials Locating information and primary source material using the Internet, textbooks, library and other sources Creating the documentary using imovie or Windows Movie Maker Memorizing and learning to speak the character in the script Technical knowledge of setting up and adjusting the camera and its accessories; loads and maintains film and camera. Has a good understanding of the parts of the camera and is able to operate the camera with precision. Has good knowledge of using library catalogues, the CD-ROM and the Internet. Is able to use the different Internet search engines to locate images and primary sources. Good knowledge of imovie or Windows Movie Maker; connects the camera to the firewire of the computer and imports the video from the camcorder; is detailed oriented works with precision Gets to know more deeply the character he portrays. Identifies with the period in which the character lives. Artists Narrator Audio Editor Creating any artwork that is used in the documentary, as well as scanning and editing Communicating the script in an interesting and dynamic way. Collecting, recording audio only elements (sound effects, music, etc. Has good knowledge of visual layouts; use paint to create graphic material and lettering; develops, sketches and/or prints creative ideas Has a clear voice that reflects the tone, atmosphere, style, personality of the work Clear enunciation, proper pitch and being able to read with enthusiasm and interest. Musically inclined Teaching Matters, Inc.

23 Video Clip Assessment Form for Public Service Announcement Clip Name Example: Father speaks Description of Video Clip Example: Father speaks about son not wearing seat belt. Rating Not important Interesting, but not essential Essential Example: Additional Elements (still images, music, transitions, video footage, narration, art work) Example: Add still image of son. Production Notes (specific instructions for adding or deleting elements) Example: Add at 3.5 seconds for 2 seconds Teaching Matters, Inc.

24 Video Clip Assessment Form for Personal Narrative or Informational Documentary Clip Name/Number Type of Video Clip A: Describes the main action D: Supporting Detail B: Background Information (Write the letter of your choice A, D or B). Rating Not important Interesting, but not essential Essential Comments Teaching Matters, Inc.

25 Creating a Script What is a script? A script is the written version of all that is said in an informational documentary or public service announcement. It includes narration (words read to an audience) and dialogue (words read in a conversation between people). Although scripts are written, they are meant to be read aloud. As a result, the language in a script must be: Natural and concise (written so that it can be easily understood) o o If you are reading a book, you can read and reread a complicated paragraph until you understand it. If you are listening to a script with complicated ideas, you may not have the opportunity to stop and research the parts that are unclear. For example, if you are in a movie theater watching a documentary, you can t stop the actors to ask them what something means. You might get kicked out of the theater! And even worse you still will not know what the actors meant. Well-organized (follows a logical order) o o If you are reading a book, most likely it has been organized into chapters and labeled sections, so that you can easily follow the order that the author has created for you. If you are writing a script, you need to make sure that there is a logical order to the information that you present. Your script should follow a sequence that is well-organized, so the listener understands the story being told. Appropriately timed (read at a pace that is not too fast or too slow) o o If you are reading a book, you can read the pages at your own pace; you might spend three minutes on one page and then zip through another page in only one minute! If you are listening to a script, you have no control over the speed at which the words are read; that has already been decided by the person who recorded the audio. As a result, if you are the person writing the script or recording the audio, remember that the words should be read at a pace which is not too slow (so your listener does not get bored!) or too fast (so your listener does not get confused and lose interest!). Expressive (conveys the feeling to the listener) o If you are reading a book, you have visual cues to help you understand the text, such as: o headings, o indentations and o punctuation. o However, if you are listening to a script, you must depend on -- o pauses and rhythm, o tone of voice and o inflection Teaching Matters, Inc.

26 Teaching Matters, Inc.

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