Saturday, August 31, 2013

New Project: Video Production Education.

As I begin this post, I'm sitting in a hotel room in Orlando, Florida.

Yesterday, I gave a talk to a conference which was geared towards helping ordinary people from around the country get better at producing multimedia content - for the purposes of enhancing their own local political activism. The format was a little off-the-cuff, and to be honest, I would have organized it much differently than it was... but I still think I conveyed some helpful information.

A lot of what I talked about came from material I'd presented in other settings.

For example, I talked about dramatic structure a bit, and showed everyone this chart I made a while back, when I was giving a talk on narrative story-telling and how to construct a comprehensible story:

The problem with this, is that without having some serious time to devote to explaining this chart, which I didn't really have, it really just ends up being a lecture that goes right over people's heads. I mean - even though it seems simple enough to understand in the context of writing a novel, or a play, it leaves open a bunch of major questions - such as: How do you incorporate this structure into a documentary? Into a news package? Into a YouTube comedy video?

Do you even need to? Maybe there are different forms to consider that work better? When is no form at all an appropriate choice?

How do I explain the complexity of all that to a room of people who are really there to find out how to set up a basic podcast studio, or learn how to get better quality man-on-the-street interviews than their iPhones allow them to get?

The truth is, there are a lot of resources out there available for film-makers to learn "Hollywood" techniques on film & video production, but not very many - or any, as far as I know - which are specifically geared towards not only helping people use their cameras better, but which also help people understand how to create better quality content at a really basic level, or for news & documentary content.

What good does knowing what a Follow-Focus is for do for you, if you don't really even know how to manually set focus on the camera you have?

Not much, I would guess.

So with that in mind, I think I'm going to start writing a lot more about production techniques, and I'm going to try to structure my writings in a way that is actually useful from start to finish. I'll include instructional videos where I can, and as time permits me to make, and work through the methods, techniques, and ideas needed to elevate people's home-movies into clear, well-produced audio & video productions.

I'll be talking about everything from story-development through distribution... But I might not be doing it at this blog. I need to think about it a bit before I start, but if I do this the way it probably needs to be done, I may very well need to create a proper online course through Udemy, Kahn, or Skillshare or something like that, and I'll probably shift over to a CitizenA Media blog.

I'd like this to be useful to people, though, so what I really want to know from everyone out there reading this is: What problems have you encountered that you've not been able to solve? What can I help you with?