April 2011 Archives

Entry #10: Week of April 25


This journal entry is due by 11:59pm, Monday May 2.

This week's blog entry requires a review of your past entries over the course of this semester. Please re-read your entries, and pick one sentence you have written that stands out for you as something you would not have expressed before you took this course. In your response, please copy the sentence, and in a 1-2 paragraph response, discuss the ways in which that sentence represents something in your own point of view that has changed since the beginning of this semester.

Entry #9: Week of April 18


This journal entry is due by midnight, Monday April 25.

This week's entry will consider the use of animation in the film Run Lola Run. In the film, each of the three segments contains an animated scene depicting Lola running down the stairs. But in each segment, the scene changes slightly. From your point of view, why do you think the filmmakers chose to animate this particular scene at those particular moments in the film? Consider what the process of animation might have allowed that shooting the scene with actual actors in the actual location might not have allowed? What does a switch to animation communicate to you? In what ways do you think the animation was or was not effective?

• Make sure your camera source (if you are not using the computer's built-in camera) is plugged in to the computer either via USB or Firewire cable, and that the camera is turned on.

• Launch the Stopmotion application.

• Click the button next to "1. sources" (it will light up then immediately go out again).

• Click the top pulldown menu next to "2." and choose your input source. Leave the bottom pulldown menu as it is.

• Click the red button beneath "3. open/close" and it will light up in a moment.

• Click the menu button that says "settings" underneath the small black box.

• Now a large menu box will open. Leave all settings as they are, but on the far right side of the "Compression" tab, you'll see two small preview windows. The top window should show your source video (the camera view). From the pulldown menu next to the word "preview," choose "compressed" and you will now see the same image in the top and bottom windows. Click "ok" to close the box.

• Click the green button next to "4. start." The button will light up, and you will see the camera view in the top "input" window.

• Click the button and the box next to "6." and you will then use the spacebar to record a frame.

• To re-record or advance/move backward, press 'S' to move forward frame-by-frame. To move back, press 'A' until you get to the frame you want. Hit the spacebar to record that frame again. You can do this for multiple frames if necessary.

• To view what you have recorded, click on the "play frame" box next to "7." The small yellow arrow in the box lights up. Press 'F' to move forward and 'D' to move back. You will see your recorded frames in the bottom "output" window.

• At some point, you should save your work. In the "saving /recalling" box, click the "save" button and choose a name and location for your file. It will have the extension ".json." If you need to leave your project unfinished, you can come back to it later by opening Stopmotion and clicking the "load" button, then choose your project file.

• When you have finished your project, you can easily make a QuickTime movie by choosing the settings in the bottom box called "export QuickTime movie" and clicking the "export" button and saving your project.

• If you want to record more or less than the default 250 frames, you can change that setting at the top while you are creating your animation. If you don't change it, then when you export you will get a QuickTime movie that is 250 frames, regardless of how many you have recorded.

Entry #8: Week of April 11


This journal entry is due by midnight, Sunday April 17.

Looking forward to our animation demo on Monday, for this week's entry, please describe in detail your favorite animated character: is it human or other, male or female, type of clothing, facial features, idiosyncratic behaviors (e.g., a funny walk, a lisp, etc), style in which the character is drawn. Then talk about your earliest memories of discovering this character, and what attracts you to him/her. What is his/her main conflict? What is so funny about him/her? Does s/he remind you of someone (perhaps yourself)?

The Mpls/StPaul Int'l Film Fest is upon us again, check out the amazing line-up of films and events!
** Please note that the MSPIFF website has been down lately, so you may not be able to get info on the site. You can either download this very detailed pdf or call (612) 331-7563:

There are two events happening that have a tie to this course, and your attendance at either of them can earn you FIVE extra credit points for attending. The first event is the Experimental Film Program, in which there will be a screening of "an excellent cross-section of some of the best avant-garde filmmaking today." A post-screening panel discussion will follow; one of the panelists will be award-winning filmmaker and UMN Professor Hisham Bizri (a personal mentor and incredible cinema artist). This event takes place Friday April 29, 2011 at 7pm at St. Anthony Main Theater, 125 SE Main Street, Minneapolis, 55414. For more information, download this doc:
Experimental Film Program Press Release.doc

The second event is "How To Make My Movie: The MN Filmmaking Scene," a panel discussion with local professionals in the film industry who will address what it takes to make and finance a film in Minnesota. This event takes place on Saturday, April 30 at 4:30 PM, St. Anthony Main Theater. For more info, download this doc:
2011 Film Fest MN Film Panel.doc

TO RECEIVE FULL EXTRA CREDIT POINTS (it's all or nothing): In addition to attending, you must write a one page paper (300-400 words, double-spaced) answering in detail the following questions:
1) What was the most useful thing you gained from attending this event?
2) In what way(s) will this experience change how you approach producing and/or viewing films and videos?
3) What question did you ask the panel? What was the response and were you satisfied? (this requires that you ask a question of the panel -- keep in mind, I plan to attend both events).

Hand-in the hard copy of your paper by Wed May 4 in order to receive your extra credit points.

Project #4 -- Information and Resources

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• Pre-production

• Production

• Postproduction

Preproduction Phase

In general, the preproduction phase encompasses all aspects of preparation that are performed before the camera starts to roll. Some aspects of preproduction include:

• Screenwriting

• Storyboarding

• Funding

• Assembling a crew

• Casting & Rehearsals

• Costume Design

• Location Scouting

• Set Design

• Properties ("props")

• Scheduling

Production Phase

The production phase refers to the period of time when the film is actually being shot. Some aspects of production include:

• Direction

• Camera operation

• Lighting

• Sound recording (dialogue, room tone, music, sound fx)

• Acting

• Production Management (scheduling)

• Continuity


Basics of writing a screenplay (pdf):

How to format a screenplay (link):

Example of formatted screenplay (pdf):


Basic Template:



Script Breakdown Sheet (pdf):

Shooting Schedule Template (xls):
Shooting SchedTemplate.xls

Shot by Shot (Shot List) Template (xls):

Entry #7: Week of April 4


This journal entry is due by midnight, Sunday April 10.

Please visit the Katherine E. Nash Gallery exhibit, Everybody is an Astronaut -- MFA Thesis Exhibition, and pick one work of art from the show to which you felt a strong connection. Write a 2-3 paragraph response to the work and post it as a comment on the main blog page beneath this entry. In your response, describe the piece you chose and the connection you felt to it. Then answer the following questions:

1. What is the main metaphor of the piece?
2. What elements work effectively to make the piece visually and/or narratively compelling?
3. What elements work against the piece and what suggestion(s) might you have for the artist?

For information on the Nash Gallery and this event:

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