Students explore the topic of a film diary during a filmmaking workshop.
Organization of the workshop
A group of students participates in different activities: watching film excerpts, observing, taking pictures and filming the environment, editing video material and sounds. Their final audiovisual works are brief film diaries about their surroundings. Students work in groups of 2-3, which are mentored by a professional filmmaker. A workshop provides an opportunity to experience a filming device as an observational tool, and to explore the distance between a filmmaker and his/her subjects.
As the film diary theme offers a wide range of perspectives and forms to develop further, it is important to specify the workshop’s topic (e.g., school diary, travelogue, etc.) Therefore, the mentor and the organizer of the workshop should cooperate closely, and thoroughly discuss both the workshop and the relevant activities. The age of the workshop’s participants, their cinematic experience and interests should be considered as significant factors when formulating the topic.
The selection of film excerpts is another important preparation process, carried out by the mentor and the organizer of the workshop. The excerpts should closely relate to the workshop’s topic, helping its participants become engaged in the creative process and generate ideas for their films. On the other hand, the idea for the workshop could always come from a film excerpt.
Apart from watching and discussing film excerpts, students are engaged in other activities which have three different roles: 1) activities which help generate ideas and prepare for the filmmaking process; 2) filmmaking activities, including filming and editing; 3) reflection activities. All the activities should be well-formulated and clearly defined.
The duration of the workshop might differ depending on the topic, the expectations for results, the school’s schedule, the number of activities, etc. It can be delivered in two or more days/sessions. However, it is not recommended to take the break between sessions longer than two weeks.
During the workshop, the teacher acts as a mediator between the students and the mentor of the workshop. He/she may also take on the role of the mentor’s assistant, depending on his/her skills and interests.
Homework is especially useful when the breaks between workshop sessions are quite long. Tasks link the two sessions and allow students to engage in a creative process in-between. Homework tasks should be clearly defined and easy enough for students to complete individually or in a group (without the supervision of a teacher or a mentor).
A reflection process should follow most of the activities. It is especially important at the end of the workshop. It should include the observations on the link between film excerpts and filmmaking process of the students, the distance between a filmmaker and his/her subject, the relation between a film’s form and content, etc.
It is interesting to advise students to film a familiar environment in order to reflect on the differences between the gaze through a camera lens and the quotidian sight.
Sounds and texts
At the beginning of the workshop, the mentor and the students should decide if the films incorporate diegetic or/and non-diegetic sounds, monologues, dialogues, etc.
Number of shots
The workshop’s participants can film their audiovisual works in one or more shots. However, this number should not be too high due to the limited possibilities to process and edit an excessive amount of audiovisual material.
The mentor, together with the school’s teacher, should be responsible for charging and connecting all the technical equipment required for the workshop.