Film School Intro

Learning from our favorites

Gather together your favorite videos and make a list of the "elements of awesomeness" that we will aspire to achieve in our own projects. Then "reverse engineer" your favorite to learn more about how they did it.

Making your first film

Today we dig into our camera kits to learn about the gear and prepare for our first projects. We will learn about ISO, aperture, shutter speed, and frame rates. And we will put it all together to learn about what settings are best for video when using a DSLR or mirrorless camera.

The Boring Room Challenge

Take up Brandon Li's challenge to make a short film using nothing but what is in your room. The goal is not to make a great film. The goal is to practice all of the elements of awesomeness.

Our First Films

Our Boring Room Challenge submissions.

Finding a Story

Learn how to find a story from storytelling greats like Ira Glass, Jessica Abel, Pixar, and D4Darious.

4K / SloMo Kits Available Friday!

We will have 3 new 4K kits available Friday afternoon.  The kits will include the usual audio equipment + Sony a6300 camera Sigma 16mm...

Telling Stories

Basic story structure as well as some of the more complex structures and theories from storytelling masters like Dan Harmon, Joseph Campbell, and John Truby. Great tips for creating fiction, non-fiction, and ethnographic films.

Editing and Storytelling

  The Story Circle of Anthropology First Quadrant: Seeing Big.  Setting and Tension.  Describe the ordinary world as most people see it, but add a hint...

Found Footage Challenge

Your challenge for next week is to produce a "Found Footage" trailer.  Record your very short story as the audio track and use properly...

Found Footage Trailers

A collection of our found footage shorts.

Seeing the Light

Tips for "seeing the light" the way a camera sees light, and how to take advantage of any lighting condition to tell your story.

Using Real Light

Tech tips and techniques for using the light, even when it is "bad" (Hint: It's never bad.)

Framing & Composition

This week we start thinking about framing and composition.  Your challenge will be to take 10 moving shots that can be used in your final project, or 10 that allow you to practice shots that you will have to get when you do your final project.

Seeing the Light Challenge Films

Our "seeing the light" challenge submissions.

Composition Challenge

Your challenge is to frame/compose 10 beautiful shots that provide the context for your story, or 10 shots that allow you to practice shots you will need to have mastered when you shoot your final project.

Our Composition Films

Our Composition Films from the Composition Challenge.

Color in Storytelling

Today we look into the "philosophy of color" or "the language of color" and start to learn more about how to achieve different color looks to tell our stories.


Last time, we talked about the advantages and disadvantages of shooting flat vs. "color-correcting in camera" as well as some half-way options like Cine...

Professional Interview Setups

The basics of lighting, sound, and preparations for a professional interview.

Color Challenge Videos

Our Color Challenge Videos

Pro Interview Setup Step-by-Step

Step by step setup for a professional interview

On the Run Interviews

Tips and Inspiration for interviewing people on the street.

Production Tips

Prepping for the 48 Hour Film Challenge

Interviews about our Final Projects

Interviews about our projects. Practicing professional interview setups.

Street Interviews

Our Street Interviews along with Wesch's first draft of his Vietnam work.

Video Fieldworker Buyer’s Guide

The following will give you a sense of how to build up your own kit for a budget from as little as $650 to...

The Elements of Awesome

At the beginning of our journey we looked at some of our favorite videos and made a list of elements that made them awesome. ...


A story is not the same thing as a topic. Topic: I’m doing a story about X. Story: And what’s interesting about it is Y. Plot: This...

Final Project Trailers

We start putting our ideas into visuals as we start our 5 week journey toward our final project.

How to Tell Complex Stories Fast

Final Project Goal:  a top-quality anthropological video.  Most likely this will be 5 to 10 minutes long and be rich and engaging throughout, following the elements...

The Dark Forest

Most of you are already in it.  It might help to know that this place has a name, and that many people have been here before you.

Your Baby’s Ugly. Critiquing First Drafts.

"Our stories are our babies, but not all babies are cute. This week, we figure out just how far we’ve still got to go...

The Giant Leap Forward

Tiffany's Libraries for Refuge: Sped up x2000% Keith's Adventure Act 1 Audio: Cheyanne and Desi's Meadowlark Project: Mackenzie's Road Trip: Colin: What are we missing? Amy and Chase:

Making it work

Building a creative career is like building a machine that you have to maintain, keep running, and keep building as you go.

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