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February 24, 2014

Music in Cinema

Editing & Music: An Interview with Three Editors at the Sundance Film Festival

Walter Murch

What is the future of film?

...a master of picture editing and sound design, Murch has worked with, among others, director Francis Ford Coppola on such cinematic milestones as The Conversation, The Godfather I, II and III, and Apocalypse Now.
"Walter Murch: From The Godfather to the God Particle"

Walter Murch on Editing:

February 20, 2014

Exercise 3: Creativity in Motion

Exercise 3: Creativity in Motion
With an artist and creative process as your subject, shoot a montage portrait of an artist at work, use a variety of shots and camera movements. Light deliberately. Edit to 30-60 seconds with simple sound or music.

Post Link to Project on Vimeo by Tuesday after Spring Break
Include in your blog post:

Title: Full Name of Artist who is subject of your video

Video by : Your Full Name

Any other credits (music or sound)

Student Examples (2013):






Also: View The Playlist, local public television spots on artists

GO SEE OSCAR Nominated Shorts at Zinema!

Playing at Zinema this weekend!

Extra Credit to anyone who attends and posts to the blog...

February 7, 2014

Prep Your Pitch

On Thursday Feb 20 we will meet again to hear the pitches in MPAC 155.
Feel free to meet with other students to develop your idea, or work independently on an idea to pitch that day. Post ideas to the Brainstorm page on the blog. Run your ideas by Tom and Joellyn if you want feedback.

Each student (or story team) will have 5 minutes to pitch an idea for a collaborative short film to the class. Prepare an enthusiastic and engaging presentation of an idea for a film you would like to work on. Follow the checklist of points to cover in your pitch. Please keep your pitch under 5 minutes. Your pitch must offer an idea that is realistic within the timeline, technical tools, and financial limitations of our class. Each story idea must integrate the GLASS as a visual element into the film. Stories may also integrate Glensheen as a shoot location. Films can be shot in multiple locations, but be realistic about the time it takes to plan and shoot. Each film idea must have clear roles for 2 or 3 actors, offering them a chance to bring their character to life through closeups, actions and emotions that fit your story. Scripts will be developed and refined to include speaking lines for each of the actors.

Make sure you include this info in your Pitch.









VISUAL PLAN: (optional, bring printed images of locations to support your pitch)


SCHEDULING ISSUES times of day you prefer to shoot:

Suggested / Pitch Checklist

Teaser Pitch
Story Pitch
Optional Visual Plan (5 - 10 images to show during your pitch)
Outline or Script (optional)

1. Teaser Pitch starts off with the hook of the story. You have to sum up the storyline of your idea in around 25 words or less. In the teaser pitch, the first sentence introduces the characters, the next sentence illustrates their conflict, and the final sentence can allude to the genre or visual style and leaves listeners wanting more.

2. Story Pitch is much longer than the teaser pitch, but still try to keep it short. The story pitch starts with your hook and then you run down the rest of the story. Be sure to articulate those crucial elements ... the heroes, their goals, the conflict, what's at risk and why they're fighting to save it, any pivotal events or emotional turning points, and the conclusion. Your story pitch for your short film idea can be less than 200 words.
Keep it simple.

3. OPTIONAL: Visual Plan is where you give us a sense of your cinematic storytelling sensibility. Show us some images (image stills, location shots, storyboards, color swatches, etc). You can show a few images from existing films as examples, but you must also show us some original images. This is where you need to express your aesthetic choices and the overall visual style of the proposed project. Bring prints to share during your pitch.

4. Script (also Optional at this time) Prepare an outline of the plot or key shots that will makeup the short film. The film can be very visual, but it must also include dialog. An outline of the main action and key shots is all that is needed for this short pitch. A more complete shotlist and / or screen play will be generated if your idea gets selected. Don't plan to read a script during the pitch, simply
outline the key moments in the plot.

Students will vote on their favorite ideas after all the pitches.
We will do our best to select an interesting range of projects to go into script development and production.
Tom will have final say on casting. Joellyn will have final say on film crews.
Teams will include about 3 filmmaking students and 2 acting students for each project.

February 6, 2014

Exercise 2: Capturing the Light

Exercise 2: Capturing the Light
Using only easily available light sources or natural light to illuminate your subject, create a simple narrative using a variety of visual strategies to capture and exploit the light. What low-budget light sources can you test? Light through window at various times of day, simple table lamps, candle light, flash lights, car headlights, fire light... See what your camera is capable of capturing. Make sure you have at least one person and one object in your scene.

Suggested location: a place you want to shoot at later this semester. Try to use a variety of shot types, as in previous exercise. You must use a tripod for at least half of your shots. At least half of your shots should keep the camera still. Work on focus, and be deliberate about what is in focus in each shot. Don't use any zooming motion. When using motion, limit use of hand held camerawork. If you have a fluid head tripod, use it for smooth pans!

Edit to 15-30 seconds / optional simple sound. Sound must be copyright free or cleared.

Exercise #2 Capturing the Light ....
Should be posted to Vimeo and the link posted here by

Please show rough clips / in process next week.

We will view this film :

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography

Here are some examples of student experiments with capturing various kinds of lighting on video:

Sam Hagen

Kate Bendel

Sarah Heil

Bethany Bourgoin

Ryan Holmquist

Marissa Murdy

Brittany Hecker

February 5, 2014

Duluth Underground's / Short Shorts Film Festival!

You are cordially invited to The Underground's 9th Annual Short Shorts Film Festival!

February 8, 2014 at 7:00pm.

This festival brings together amateur and professional filmmakers from across the globe, all for a chance to win cash prizes. Tickets are only $10 and are available online, or via phone at 733-7555. Advanced tickets recommended as this event always sells out.

February 4, 2014


Notes from Class Brainstorm today:


Working Title: Matched Set

In this collaboration, Acting for the Camera Students will propose characters and Visual Narratives students will propose locations and visual moods. Students will work together to create stories and short scripts that integrate: glassware object, Glensheen Mansion, Duluth settings. Scenerios will be brainstormed and developed. 5 teams will shoot 5 different scripts, each featuring at least 2 actors in speaking roles. Each storyline can vary in time period and core conflict, but must integrate the glassware object.


Filmmaking students have been scouting locations around Duluth. See 2 pages of images here...

Locations / Scenerios that you may want to expand into a short film project. What location are you most interested in? What era? What time of day? How might this location connect to Glensheen mansion storyline?

What film genre inspires you most? What conflicts or human interactions would be at the heart of the story? What mood or visual look are you interested in creating? How might you integrate the antique glassware object?

What characters would you like to develop? How might you interact with the glass object? What conflicts or motivations would most engage your character? How might your character change over the arc of a short narrative? What era or setting most appeals to you?