Film leads to Film

About a week ago, I made my first YouTube video, to help my students prep for their exams.  It turned out to be a failure for that purpose; the kids liked the idea that I’d made a video, but hated viewing it the way I planned for it to be viewed.  But it led me to thinking, and I wound up making a second video in short order, which was a narrated slideshow of my school’s annual schedule. You can see both videos at my YouTube channel, under the username ABWatt.

But today I realized that just as writing leads naturally to more writing, so film naturally leads to more film.  Having created content that is publishable and viewable, I now wish to make more publishable and viewable films.  My desire for more opportunities to be creative is not lessened. Rather, it is strengthened by having a new medium in which to work.  I didn’t slow down on adding photos to my Flickr stream until after I’d reached almost a thousand photos.

Once I had two films under my belt, neither very successful, I began developing plans for my third and fourth.  Will they be any good? I think they’ll be better than the first two.  It didn’t take me very long to realize I needed a storyboard (for which I use a bunch of blank index cards, actually), and a script.  Two movies was enough to convince me that I needed to work on my visual storytelling just as much as my writing. I found a contest that I wanted to enter where I could show my movie, and maybe make a difference.  In this way, we gradually get better at the things we want to do.

Translating this to students is always considerably more complex, and more difficult.  I think this is one of the things that school does poorly, and could do better.  But I’m certain that next year I have to concentrate more on teaching storytelling as an artform, and relate the role of history as being a kind of storytelling that includes a semi-factual (at the least) kernel.  It’ll be worth exploring this over the summer, and figuring out how to teach this so students learn it rapidly in the new year.

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One comment

  1. Great insights. You might be interested in Kieren Egan’s work on storytelling as teaching. His book, An Imaginative Approach to Teaching, is quite good. He argues that as the pattern of our experience, narrative is a natural means of teaching.

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