I love to teach because I love to learn.
What I learned from my students this semester is that you should always make the extra effort to make your work better.
Case in point: two students received A+ on their first projects but took my comments and revised. They knew they couldn’t get a better grade but they wanted to make better projects, and they did.
Now at the end of the semester, after I sat through endless pitches, radio cuts, rough cuts, fine cuts and revisions and graded all their final projects, I had a few ideas I wanted to share:
CUNY Grad School of Journalism Video Storytelling for the Web class site. Frame grab from a story by Raed El Rafei & Zara Katz
Video Storytelling for the Web Class
My thanks to you for all your hard work this semester. I’ve learned a lot from each of you and I’ve condensed a bit of what I’ve learned into the following 5 points which I intend to keep with me when I propose, shoot and edit my own stories:
- 2) Strong stories consist of actions that you can witness. (This is also true of strong written stories) Video is a medium of present tense storytelling.
- 3) Video needs visual evidence, that is, show, don’t tell. A talking head is not “showing,” rather it’s a boring way to accomplish “telling.” If you can’t “show” the story, video might not be the best medium to communicate your story.
- 4) Visual sequences are the grammar of video storytelling. “B roll” is like wallpaper: pretty or tacky but meant to be in the background. Write strong sentences; always capture compelling sequences with a beginning, middle and end.
- 5) Mobile is the future. Close-ups and Extreme close-ups have the most impact on a mobile device like your phone or tablet. Shoot close 85% of the time but remember to shoot one killer wide shot too.
Thanks to all of you for inspiring me! Enjoy the summer.