Documentary project

Due date: June 23
Length: 7-8 minutes
Your film will be entered in the Voices from the Margins social justice film festival.
You and three classmates will produce a short  (8-minute) documentary that tells the story of one of the men we work with on The Redemption Project in a compelling way. Your documentary should tell their story but also provide context on juvenile-life-without-parole sentences for those who may not know anything about it.

This will take a lot of creativity and work and we will devote much of the next three weeks to the project. It needs to be informative, beautiful and professional – not a crappy little video you throw together for class. This involves real people – very vulnerable people who often can’t speak for themselves. You will help them to be heard and you should take that very, very seriously.

I’ve moved the filmmaking process along for you by providing a topic, subject and some interviews, but there is plenty of work left for you to do. A feature documentary – 75 to 90 minutes – takes about 3 years. I’m asking you to make an 8-minute film in three weeks. You will need all of that time to make something good.

One of the first things you will need to do is brainstorm about how you are going to tell this story and then decide on assets – the bits and pieces you will need to assemble into the film. These include interviews, b-roll (could be scene-setting or television news clips, etc.), music, text slides (maybe) etc. I’ve got you started with some assets, which are available in a Google Drive folder.

June 2

• Introduction to the case
• Brainstorming a story arc – how does it begin? What is the middle? How does it end?
• How much context do you need? How much context of the crime? Of juvenile-life-without-parole? Do you need to include all of the court cases? How do you do that? Video? Text?Do you need to travel to get any of these?

You won’t answer all of these questions today, but you have to start asking them.

June 9

• Plan and shoot b-roll in either Pottstown or Philadelphia.
• Choose audio clips.

June 16 – By now you should have logged your clips and have a pretty good idea of which ones you will use, so today you should have completed:

• A full storyboard (picture of this should be submitted with your video). You will present this to the rest of the class today.

• Found music (if you are using it) that can be used. Be sure to consider fair use when choosing music. There is lots of music on line that is royalty and rights free.

• Make decisions about fonts.

• Begin to transfer clips into Premiere or iMovie

(A reminder that this is collaborative process. Everyone should be contributing to the project.)