ULearn – Cinematic Narrative in the Classroom

Presentation home base – by Jim Sill

Media Literacy – “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and create media

Our understanding of media texts is constructed. How we perceive ideas comes through mediated experiences that draw on intertextuality and our familiarity with common conventions and prior knowledge.

“Teach students to interpret the power of visual language” – Martin Scorcese (Great article outlining this)

The similarities between the production process and scientific method:

  • Pre-Production – The Big Question and Design
  • Production – Observations and the Doing
  • Post-Production – Analysis (Did I get enough?)
  • Evaluation – Conclusions and Publishing

Exemplified by all these addition resources from Jill Sill on Edutopia.

Digital storytelling (still, voice over music) Vs cinematic storytelling (using cinematic devices to tell a story).

The workshop took a look at the development of the cinematic narrative. I like the idea of using early cinema in it’s primitive form in order to help students understand what not to do. The comparison here, is the early films that students make often resemble early cinema with few cuts, wide shots and static cameras. From the Great Train Robbery, to D.W. Griffiths’ first close up. By showing this and making this journey explicit I think the result will be faster acquisition of media literacy.

Helpful Tools:

Now what?

  • Have an authentic audience (use YouTube – turn off comments; show it to a wider audience)
  • Make the videos you share have cinematic storytelling – make these videos be attractive to a wide audience.
  • Limit the instructions – make it ONLY four shots. Limit your projects. Longer does not equal better.

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