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High School Senior Project!


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#1 Lorena Wallace

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 02:08 PM

We are two seniors in high school doing a year long senior project. Basically, we get to do whatever we want for two hours a day and colleges like it on our record. The two of us decided to do something related to high school hate crimes/discrimination, as we are sick of racism, sexism and homophobia plaguing our schools. Anyway, I have some experience in filming, as I've filmed some...things...before, but the actual production of a movie is daunting. Where do we start? Logistical problems are confusing. For example, if we want footage from CNN or other news sources, how do we obtain that? Copyright problems? Yeah...if anybody has any advice on where to start, we would greatly appreciate it. Using my interest in film and my partner's interest in art, we want to make a good video. We just don't know how. Thanks in advance, for anyone taking the time to read this and/or respond.
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#2 rik carter

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 05:12 PM

You have a theme, so you?ve already started.

First - ask yourself why? Why do you want to comment on this particular theme. Hate and discrimination are bad. We all get that.

Second - What can you do with your documentary to tell us something we don?t already know? Do you have an interesting take on this subject? Do you know someone who has been injured or damaged? Do you want to tell that persons story, or do you just want to make a general comment?

Next, watch documentaries. Try different themes and different styles. As you watch jot down ideas - anything that pops into your head. Talk to people about your theme - find out what interests them, what they would like to see explored.

Then take all the notes you?ve put together and get to work. Sometimes shooting interviews will dictate where you go next. Sometimes you will have a strong POV you want to prove. If you?re doing a documentary of clips, you?ll need to research news clips.

BTW - the way you get clips from news sources is to ask. Most organizations have department set up to research and pull the clips you want. Doing it as a school project, they may even wave all fees. But you gotta ask.

Once you start consolidating your point of views and what interests people about your subject it will slowly begin to take shape.
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#3 gabrel_10

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Posted 13 October 2005 - 09:48 PM

Hey Lorena,
good luck with your project. It sounds like a worthy undertaking. Hope all goes well
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#4 Dimitrios Koukas

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 05:14 AM

Hello Lorena,
Try to have a ''spine'' of ideas and what needs to be shoot so this ideas will get stronger with the image.
Sometimes u can have the material first and then add some voice over comments or super imposes of texts after.
You have a target, wich is good, and what u need is a schedule of what u should film, and it doesn't matter in what order.You can put things in order in the editing.
Just collect the material you want, either by news footage or by new footage that u will shoot and then put them together after.
Good luck.
Dimitrios Koukas
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#5 Lorena Wallace

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Posted 14 October 2005 - 02:09 PM

Well, thank you for any comments. At the moment, the biggest problem we have is deciding if we can get certain footage, which will dictate whatever storyline/point we try to get across. Hopefully, what will be unique about our project is that we are two high school students in the eye of the storm, not casual observers who left high schoool fifty years ago. We know how intense the emotions are and just how far people will go to demonstrate intolerance or hate. We want to make a unique point, "on the ground, " if you will. We are starting with the famous story of Mathew Shepard, which we will be able to tell through news clips and images. Then we go into interviews of students, teachers and community organizers against intolerance in our area. From there, we are still figuring out where to go. So, after that pointless ramble, can anyone tell us the best way to begin filming? Do we need a microphone? I have a little one...don't know what kind, except it is a sony and attaches to the top of my camera. So we have a Sony handycam, a weird mike and a tripod...anything else we need to get started?
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#6 rik carter

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Posted 16 October 2005 - 12:37 PM

The better the microphone the better the sound. But I?m just stating the obvious. and the closer you can get it to the subject, the better it will sound.

If your school has a theater or AV department you could check with them for the best mic for your camera. You should get some form of ?shotgun? mic.

A little lighting would be good for interviews. I often use a paper lantern and a clamp light - cheap, easy to cart around and plugs into any outlet.

I don?t really like the Matthew Shepard opening idea - it?s been done so often. Everyone knows that story. I wonder if you couldn?t dig up a story that didn?t get as much attention? Make your documentary unique. Maybe even something local that the rest of us have never heard about.
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#7 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 04:57 AM

Hi,

This is the sort of thing I do a lot of the time - following long term projects, at least.

Theoretically, you're "supposed" (by the purists) to research and write your documentary before you shoot it. This is time-consuming and fairly pointless in a world where you can load large amounts of material onto a computer and build the story in the edit.

You will end up shooting huge, enormous amounts of material. Twenty, thirty times the length of your finished production, which means, yes, if you're after a 45-minute documentary you're going to shoot somewhere between 15 and 25 hours. Don't sweat it - perfectly normal.

As I say this isn't the "proper" way to do it and if you're doing a nature documentary I'm sure it isn't how you'd proceed, but it seems to work well enough to pay my bills...

Phil
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#8 Jonathan Spear

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Posted 17 October 2005 - 07:26 AM

""The two of us decided to do something related to high school hate crimes/discrimination, as we are sick of racism, sexism and homophobia plaguing our schools.""

We're all sick of it and it's plaguing most of the schools and other institutions around the country.

It would be a remarkable thing if you could somehow "teach" your schoolmates why their behavior is wrong and educate future high school students by filming acts of racism, sexism and homophobia while they're happening. They're not hard to find. Interview the "victims", and contrast their stories to what's going on in the rest of the world.

High school is, for many of us, sort of a microcosm of the real world. What you see on CNN may be on a slightly larger scale, but rape is rape... murder is murder... and hatred, jealousy and ignorance seem to be the root of it all.

My 2 cents would be:

1. One of you should hang around school with a camera. Interview students, the faculty and parents.
Wait for any hate related events and capture them on tape (or film).

2. Do the research on the history of racism, sexism and homophobia in the USA. Apply it to your present day situation. Have we changed at all, in even the slightest way?

3. Together, try to find a way to solve the problem -- beginning in your school. Don't be afraid to speak your minds and show other people losing theirs.

4. Close with your vision of a positive hate-free future and explain to your audience how it can be achieved.

Boueno fortuna,
Jonathan
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