The Official DC Asian Pacific American Film Blog

Thursday, July 26, 2007

P.O.V.-week 2 Recap

2nd Blog Entry
POV Workshop

The 2nd week of the POV workshop went by like a flash. Our teacher, Chris Tsou began the day by explaining a typical real world production schedule. He then broke-down what the
production schedule for the workshop would be. Next, I brought out the boom mics and cameras and demonstrated how to record sound. For 45 minutes, the students worked in groups of two on a sound scavenger hunt. I told them to search for specific sounds
like sound FX, and ambient sounds. Afterwards they shared their sounds with one another and discussed the challenges and surprises of the assignment. George Yeh shared with us one of his "mystery sound FX" and we attempted to guess how it was made. Alex Hong correctly
guessed that the sound was "metallic." Some groups found creative solutions to getting hard to find sounds. For instance, Joanne Mosuela & Grace Yeon recorded a high-pitched ambient sound by asking construction workers to turn on their equipment outside.
We returned to the 3rd floor, where a special guest was waiting fo us. Armando Almanza, President of Ventana Productions, presented the students with an illuminating hour on photography and lighting. Using professional lights and video cameras, Armando showed
how light could be used to create depth and tell a story. He emphasized the importance of collaboration on a movie set, and the ability to make the most of what is available. When, Nam Nguyen asked about how to control focus and exposure, Armando said rehearsing the
focus and fixing the exposure before you hit record is crucial. Prompted by a question from Alex Hong, Armando gave a quick example of how back-lighting can be used to make a scene more dramatic.
All of a sudden, it was lunchtime. I introduced some basic editing terms and showed movie examples, while the students munched on pizza. For homework, Nguyen told the students to come up with ideas for the POV movie based on the theme: Just In Time. Each student would be responsible for writing a paragraph summarizing their idea and complete storyboards for the opening scene. On the board, I wrote a few tips on how to brainstorm. Our facilitator, Mike Song, said that next week the students would pitch to one another their ideas for
the POV movie and then immediately begin pre-production duties: storyboarding and scriptwriting. Students stayed for a few extra minutes to watch an example of a short film created by one of Nguyen's Students at GDS. And then we called it a day!

Friday, July 20, 2007

P.O.V. - Week 1 Recap

What do you get when you put eight, young aspiring filmmakers together in a room for a summer workshop? Over the next six weeks, we'll see what happens when people stop being polite and start getting real. This, after all, is their Point of View...

Bright and early last Saturday morning, eight students from the greater DC area , ranging in age from 16 and 19, met for the first time at APA Film's inaugural Point of View ( P.O.V.) Youth Workshop at Georgetown Day School . After initial icebreakers, Nguyen, an instructor, posed to students the question, "What is film?" In thinking about the key components of a movie, the students identified three key elements: movement, light, and sound. Whether it was still early, or the students were just getting to know each other, in the beginning the class was a litte quiet.

However, once they got their hands on the cameras, there was a sudden shift as everyone got their own camera to play with. First, they learned how to take off the training wheels and turn on the manual features for the cameras. The tripods were soon unfolded as they learned to pan and tilt.

After a break, they got down to storyboarding. Chris was in charge of assignments, giving students such scenes as: "Chris gets into college" or "Chris gets a visit from panda bear." Everyone had 6 storyboards to tell the story. It was amazing to see how the same story can be told in multiple ways in just 6 frames.

During lunch, we played games like connecting celebrities via movies they starred in. For example, how many steps does it take to link Jessica Biel to Matt Damon? (Answer: two. Jessica Biel was in Elizabethtown with Alec Baldwin; Alec Baldwin was in the Good Shepherd with Matt Damon).

We ended the day with a series of interactive activities. We paired each student up to go through a checklist of tasks. As they recorded wide, medium, and close-up shots and practiced racking focus , it was heart-stirring to see them set up shots using everything they had available–from left over donuts to Chris and Nguyen. In no time, we ran out of time. Packing their bags, we wished them goodbye and hoped to see them next week.

I just want to note that the kick-off of P.O.V. couldn't have happened without the generous donations of local organizations like Georgetown Day School for the use of their facilities and RTNDA for lending their cameras.

You can check out pictures of the first day of workshop here:

Next week, Nguyen will update you on Week 2, where the students will start to learn lighting techniques and editing software.

-Vincent Huang
Education and Outreach Chair