Introduction to Video Production - Course Description

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive,
and then go do that.
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive."
—Harold Thurman Whitman

It has been said that the pen is mightier than the sword, and that a picture is worth a thousand words. What does that make a moving picture with sound? What other creative enterprise has had as much positive influence on the world as story telling from stone-age hearths to ancient Greek plays to today’s motion pictures? We are, and always have been story tellers, and story lovers. We don’t have to be forced by law to go to the movies, we pay for the privilege. Natural selection favored the story telling hunters and gatherers who told of their adventures and lessons learned around the hearth fire, entertaining and passing along valuable survival information conferring reproductive advantage to story telling behavior, and here we still are.

Making movies is about telling stories. It is about manipulating the viewer into identifying with the characters, ideas and events portrayed, and providing them a memorable and rewarding experience. This applies to every genre—theatrical, documentary, educational, artistic, activist, reporting and even advertising where useful products and services are revealed. Like any creative enterprise, there are many abuses and awful malicious productions abound promoting disempowerment, hatred and violence which benefit none and harm all. It is the responsibility of the makers to proudly create worthy productions of the highest possible quality. If you don’t have a story, you don’t have a video.

There are two sides of video production, or any art form, craft and art. First is learning the craft, the tools and techniques of the masters, and the ones you invent as you go, how to mix your paints, prepare your canvas, operate your cameras, get the most out of your editing software—skills that require training. Second is your unique artistic, creative side which invokes inspiration, passion, imagination, experience, and creative freedom.

In this class your mentors’ job is to learn where you are and where you want to go and help you get there. We can teach you how to use the tools as you need and want to learn, suggest project ideas, resources and connections we think will move you forward on your chosen path, but it is up to you to choose, create, refine, and manifest those projects that ignite your passion. Creating and distributing high quality video is inherently a collaborative process. Although there are some who thrive working alone on the creative side, learning how to collaborate smoothly with others is essential to your success in just about any career path. This course will encourage self-selected organization into project crews according to which projects appeal to you.

The first and most essential project proposal is to document the class itself to eliminate the need for note taking, provide materials for future classes, and learn the basics of shooting and editing. This is a beginner’s training exercise with a very practical purpose rich with integrated learning challenges. All are encouraged to participate and rotate through all of the crew roles.

"If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together."
—African Proverb

You will also learn the essentials of business and legal issues every videographer needs to know.

There will be no grades, only constructive reviews of created works by peers, mentors and professionals. Success is liking what you are doing and being proud of your work. Individuals and crews that do exceptional work will likely find themselves in demand for paying gigs sooner or later, develop reputations, and may even start their own companies down the road. There are also film festivals, contests, stock agencies and other exposures that can produce awards, recognition, connections and income. Posting works on YouTube and a number of other video websites provides world-wide exposure.

If a career in video production itself is not your aim, consider the asset video production skills would be on just about any career path. You can take them anywhere.

Make your life an art form, and everything you do will be art.

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