Your first film will be a submission for Brandon Li’s Boring Room Challenge:

Your goal is to practice the following elements that we identified last week as important elements of a great video.  Let’s call these

The Elements of Awesomeness

  1. A Story, which might include:
    • dramatic tension,
    • a core conflict
    • a challenge for the hero to overcome
    • a gap between what is and could be
    • or some other element that engages the viewer
    • an arc – intensity rises and falls
    • character development
    • a theme that might be returned to again and again
    • “codas” – little pieces that recur but change meaning as they recur
  2. Technical Excellence in capturing footage, including
    • appropriate lighting to match the mood and intensity of the story
    • appropriate camera movements (smooth, handheld, pans, zooms, tilts, etc.)
    • interesting and beautiful backgrounds, set design, and costume design
    • aesthetic and appropriate composition and framing
    • appropriate color schemes to match the mood
    • clean audio
    • subtle audio cues that add realism
  3. Outstanding Editing, including
    • appropriate rhythm and pacing
    • good timing
    • appropriate sequencing
    • aesthetic and appropriate transitions

My Submission:

I really wanted to practice all of the elements we identified, so I did the following:

  • Engagement: I worked really hard on creating tension, conflict, a challenge, and other elements to engage the viewer.  This took me several days of work – mostly just coming up with unsatisfying ideas.  Lesson Learned: The Inner Critic is an important element of creativity. It pushes you to keep finding something a little bit better.  It can also be stifling if you don’t have a deadline that forces you to get to work.  
  • The Arc: I created a multi-act story to get a sense of an arc.  This also allowed me to experiment with several different styles of storytelling (uplifting comedy, love story, thriller, dark comedy)
  • Character Development: I tried to make my character fun and lovable with the opening scene so that you care about him as the plot twists later on.
  • Returning Theme and Coda: I used the single line “open the pod bay doors” multiple times so that it had a different meaning during setup, build-up, and climax.
  • Lighting: I really pushed myself to work in multiple lighting conditions and learned a lot. I have never been good shooting in low light. I made some mistakes over and over again, but I worked quickly to overcome them and learned a ton as I went.
  • Camera movements.  I worked alone so I wasn’t able to do as much camera movement as I wanted to, but it did force me to get creative and think of new ways to move the camera (vlog style, using the drone).  Lesson Learned: Don’t fly a drone in a big building that throws the compass and gps out of whack.  🙁
  • Composition, framing, angles. I used the dance scene to practice multiple angles and types of shots. This was super-fun to work on and I am proud of my progress.  Still not pro, but getting better.
  • Audio.  I need to find a way to better manage my audio files, perhaps by syncing the time with the camera.  I had a hard time finding the audio from the recorder to sync with the camera.  In all, I was pretty disorganized throughout the shoot and could improve greatly on that.
  • Rhythm and Pacing.  This was really tricky.  I did not realize how hard this is.  This provided some very important practice and growth, but I have a long way to go to give that “experiential” feel.  Some shots and transitions still feel awkward and mistimed.
  • Transitions.  I practiced a few zoom effects with sound in the “thriller” part of the piece. It was fun, great practice, and I learned a lot.

It’s all about practice.



Practicing Angles and Composition:

Practicing recording better audio:

Creating a workflow for your project:


  • Don’t save stuff on your desktop!
  • Create a folder for your project on an external drive
  • Create a video folder in that folder.  Create folders for each camera and each day.
  • Create an audio folder.
  • Create a graphics folder.
  • Move your files from your card into the proper folder you just created.
  • Back stuff up!
  • Create your project in Premiere inside the project folder you created.
  • Go to media browser in Premiere and import the folders.

The Basics of Video Editing:


Lots more great tutorials in this week’s playlist!

The Boring Room Challenge Due Monday at Midnight

The Rules:

  • Work alone (except for actors)
  • Final results are not as important as what you learn from the process
  • Therefore, you must engage in a process that allows you to practice the key elements outlined above.
    • Compose a story that allows you to practice as many of the bullet-points as possible
    • Shoot your film, practicing as many of the bullet-points as possible
    • Edit your film, practicing as many of the bullet-points as possible
  • Post to YouTube (unlisted if you like) or post to Instagram (if under 60 seconds) with the hashtag #anth715 and submit your URL to Canvas along with a bullet-list of what you learned.
  • Also submit a list of lessons learned, preferably referencing each of the key elements of awesomeness.
  • Due Monday by midnight.


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