Viewing Assignment > 5 Shorts


Art2040 Students: Please view at least 5 Short Films over the next week and take notes using the format below. Find quality short films… like Oscar Nominated Shorts and other award winning short films. View others you find on the web. Be selective. If possible, find works that relate somehow to your own creative work, as inspiration for a technique or look you hope to achieve. Try to use films that are longer than one minute and shorter than 15 minutes (though the definition of a short film may vary).

What makes a good short film? What types of stories and characters can be captured in this short format? Make notes on your favorite shorts, type your reflection and post to the class folder once you have discovered 5 shorts you want to share with the class.


Your writing/ reflection must note all of this info for each film (some of this info can be found online and pasted into your reflection):

Run time:
Link to the film : (URL of website, dvd, tv or movie theatre)
Story Synopsis:
Visual strengths:
Use of Light / Color:
Digital techniques:
Use of Sound / Music:

OVER THE WEEK, YOU SHOULD PLAN TO VIEW MANY SHORT FILMS and PICK YOUR FAVORITE 5 shorts TO SHARE WITH CLASS. When considering shorts to view, look for genres and techniques that represent your own aesthetic direction. You may include Oscar Nominated Shorts, check out some shorts from the library DVDs, or search links to many collections of short films on the web…

See links to Short films… (know some good links to short films? send them!)

Pre-Production Planning

Art2040 Pitch Assignment resulted in 4 teams moving forward into production:

Before You Sleep : Pitch by Melissa, Team: Ben M, Emily

Costumed and Dangerous : Pitch by Micah, Team: Thomas A, Lizzy, Matthew

Project Manhattan (P.M.) : Pitch by Matt, Team: Wilson, Haley, Ben L

Letting Go : Pitch by Chris, Team: Megan, Thomas F

Each team must meet this week … Please follow instructions below to do pre-production work on your group film project and be ready to share your work on the pin up board next week to get your project “greenlighted”.
I suggest each group establish a folder on google drive titled: Art2040_Team_workingtitle
Please share this folder with everyone on your team AND with me ( )
Include your preproduction shot lists, script, location photos, and other planning in the folder.
Each group will fill the board with their Pre-Production plan…including an outline of dates and locations and tasks for each shoot day. The team must show that they have discussed and worked on the many pre-production tasks below:
• Shooting Script (even if your project has very little dialog, you still need a script  that outlines the story / action). For a short film, this should be no more than 3 pages long.
• Shot lists for each shoot (Break down the story into shoot dates / locations. Note each shot you want to be sure to get. Include cutaways and ambient sound and visuals to remind yourself to capture a variety of shots that will help when editing later)
• Photos of locations (scout and shoot your stills horizontally in movie format! Discuss issues with light at each location. Look at ways you may need to dress the set, or art direct the location.)
• Storyboard multiple shots for each scene (Storyboarding helps you think through interesting angles and makes sure you get the wide, medium, and closeup shots you need. It really helps you communicate with each other about what you want to capture on location. You should cross check your  shot lists with storyboards.)
• Casting plan (If you need an actor, you can ask the Theatre department how to do a casting call. It is very important to coordinate your cast with your shoot dates / times. If an actor can’t make the times, find someone else. Get a firm commitment, discuss costume / clothing, color palette, makeup. On a no-budget student film, the actors may want to help with costuming.)
• Equipment plan (What cameras, tripods, steady cams, dollies, lights, sound equip will you use? who gets the equipment and tests it? and who operates it on each shoot?)
• Team roles and crew assignments Who directs each shoot (you may choose to take turns) ? Who works with actors? Who wrangles equipment? Who runs cameras, lights, sound? Who gathers props and costumes? Who checks continuity? Who drives to locations? Who secures permissions? Who coordinates team communication?
To get Greenlighted, you must prove you have done all the pre-production planning!

No Film School is a great resource for beginning filmmakers. Full of tips, tricks, and smart examples. Here is a link to their recent collection of useful forms for pre-production planning and other tasks…


Every Filmmaking Form You’ll Ever Need in 99 Free Templates

Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge

Now Accepting Submissions for Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge. Emerging artists ages 18 to 24 compete to win a year of professional and creative development, mentorship, all-expenses-paid trip to the 2018 Sundance Film Festival.

Seeking the next generation of emerging filmmakers, Sundance Institute and Adobe Project 1324 opened the Sundance Ignite Short Film Challenge. Fifteen winners will be selected from narrative and documentary short film submissions to win a career-launching opportunity.

More info at Deadline is September 26.

Fall 2017 > Project 1

Project 1:  Capturing the Light (20 sec)

Explore a simple subject through deliberate choices of light + shots + angles. Shoot on location in Duluth, capturing a sense of place, natural light, and a short narrative arc. Your video must include at least one person in addition to the “object of desire”. Use a variety of shot types and angles. (You must include least 10 different shots in 20 seconds) Use a tripod when shooting. Avoid handheld or camera movement of any kind. Focus on framing and composition of various shots. Subjects may move in or out of frame. Bring video clips to class next week for import and edit practice. Follow directions discussed in class. Your 20 second edit is DUE at the end of Class 2.

Examples of shots, angles and lighting:

resources: Camera Shots and Angles

Walter Murch on Film Editing

In class we watched
The Cutting Edge The Magic of Movie Editing (Documentary)
Students, send your notes on what you found most interesting in the video we viewed in class. Was there a film editor, era, or technique that you did not know about and would love to know more about? What did you take away from the documentary?
More Walter Murch:

In the Blink of an Eye is celebrated film editor Walter Murch ‘s vivid, multifaceted, thought-provoking essay on film editing. Starting with what might be the most basic editing question – Why do cuts work? – Murch treats the reader to a wonderful ride through the aesthetics and practical concerns of cutting film. Along the way, he offers his unique insights on such subject

The Film & Sound Editor behind Apocalypse Now & The English Patient reveals the relationship between editing and dance, the importance of rhythm – “like telling a good joke” – and how digital film has transformed his work.

Audio for Video / Sound Workshop

Emerging Filmmakers Project Duluth Workshop at UMD

NEW DATE: Wed Feb 24 in MMADlab and Media Hub (The workshop for Feb 3 is rescheduled due to the storm that impacted travel in our region. )

AUDIO for VIDEO Sound Workshop with Guest Presenter: JP Natysin, Minneapolis Audio Engineer
4pm to 8pm … TO BE SCHEDULED in Motion and Media Across Disciplines LAB (BoH 24)  University of Minnesota Duluth … Non-UMD participants can register through Fine Arts Academy   Please contact for details: 218-726-7011

See facebook Event:


Emerging Filmmakers Project Duluth presents a sound workshop on the topic of AUDIO for VIDEO. The workshop will introduce the basics of sound recording and mixing for video production, tips on techniques, gear and best practices in the industry. The second half of the workshop will cover post-production audio work-flow, sound design and editing with Pro-Tools software. The workshop presenter is JP Natysin, a Pro Tools Certified audio engineer based in Minneapolis. Natysin began his career in radio, but in 2012 he shifted his focus to working on visual media as a production sound mixer and sound designer. Since this shift he has worked on nearly ten feature films, a dozen shorts, a handful of commercials and documentaries, and more talking head interviews than he can remember. In the summer of 2015, he was the head of the audio department for No Blood of Mine, a feature film that was shot in Duluth, MN. Most recently, he has been working as an ADR Engineer at Sparkhouse, an animation studio in Downtown Minneapolis.

A 2014 demo reel by JP shows some of his work:

At the window / Exercise #1

Art2040 / Art4040  Digital Filmmaking

Exercise #1  At the window…Voiceover + Chromakey Test

Write a short voiceover for the narrator of a scene including one actor who looks out a window onto another scene… (100 words max). What s/he sees out the window is up to you… (fantasy or reality) but you need to be able to create the scene in a few short video shots. (So think about winter scenes, unless you have some other video or can photoshop a fantasy.)

Questions to ask yourself? What is the character’s connection to the interior and exterior of this location? What mood do you want to create in this short scene? How would you light the interior shot? How would you start the scene? How would you have the character move? How would you transition between the interior and exterior shot? What would be out the window? How would you capture the exterior shot? How would you capture the view from the window?


WINDOWS > Examples of windows used in movies:

EXAMPLES of Shots, angles and lighting:

Storyboard 8 key moments in this short scene, from the camera view. Use a combination of shot types and angles possible with this set up.

Write the short voiceover script (100 words max). Email the script to Joellyn ( ) by Tuesday. Put in your subject line: YOUR NAME and AT THE WINDOW

Exercise #1  At the window…Voiceover + Chromakey Test