Teen Shorts

By Juli Gonzalez and Rebecca Ivey

Introduction

In this program, teens will plan, film, and edit a video with digital and electronic equipment and they will post their video on various video sharing sites. They will learn to use the equipment as well as have the opportunity to create a video from start to finish. Teen Shorts may be a single program or a series of programs. It encourages teens to learn about their community as well as using technology that may not be available to them elsewhere.

Preparation

At times, teens will be responsible for library equipment. Prior to the program, arrange for the teens to "check out" the video cameras if they must leave the building to film. Become familiar with policies for checking out electronic equipment, which vary from library to library. Speak with your library administration in advance about establishing policies and procedures, if needed. Example of a Camera Circulation Policy and a Laptop Circulation Policy are included at the end of this program.

Collect examples of film shorts to show to the teens. Examples of film shorts can be found in the DVD and Web site sections of this program.

For the program, the library will need:

  • video camera
  • computer
  • editing software
  • subscription to a photo sharing site

Be sure to check the equipment and software in advance to be sure everything is in working order.

A Flip Video Camera is preferred, both for its lower cost and for ease of use. At least one computer is needed for the editing phase, but it would be preferable to have a computer lab reserved for the editing process. Having a reserved space allows teens to interact and offer their opinions in a more private setting. There are several cost effective options for editing software, including Corel Video Studio ($29.99), Video Spirit Pro ($39.95; free 30-day trial with watermarks added to the output at CNET, http://download.cnet.com, and Power Producer ($49.99).

Free video editing programs are listed under the Editing section in this program if funding is a challenge. There are also many free photo-sharing sites where the video can be uploaded, including YouTube, http://www.youtube.com, and Google Videos, http://video.google.com.

Program: Teen Shorts

Teen Shorts is designed as a multi-part series of program to last throughout the summer. It can be reformatted into a one day, shorter program if preferred. In some cases, several shorter sessions may be needed to complete a specific set of activities.

A librarian, who is comfortable making videos and working with all the equipment and software, may present the program to the teens. If the librarian is not familiar with the technology and software, invite a knowledgeable patron, community member, or a tech savvy teen with video production and editing experience to lead the program. In the planning stages, take time to network with a local teacher, cable TV station operator, local videographer, or a teen familiar with the technology who would enjoy presenting the program or who can assist the librarian.

The number of teen participants for this program can vary. Logistical matters depend on the library and the librarian responsible for the program. This type of program can lend itself well to any number of participants, from two to 200. With a smaller group, teens can do multiple jobs. For larger groups, teens can pair up and frequently multiple people will be needed to do the same job (i.e., actors, stagehands, and set designers).

The sessions described below are designed to guide librarians in planning a program that best suits their teens' needs. The program length is up to the librarian and may be tailored to your local situation. All aspects of the Teen Shorts program can be arranged to fit in various periods depending on a library's schedule. Not every piece of the program described here needs to be carried out.

Section One: Introduction

Section One is designed to allow the teens to meet each other and become familiar with the equipment. Typically, it may last about 2 to 3 hours. This is a teen-created, teen-powered project . Teens will have complete control over planning, filming, and editing. Encourage them to think outside the box, take creative risks, create new characters, and put a new spin on something familiar. The supervising librarian can assist by ensuring that the locations, supplies, and people needed for the film are available.

In Section One, teens will explore the technology that will be used to create the video. They will view examples of videos and decide which role they prefer. For example, a teen may be better suited as a director, actor, videographer, etc. In the resources section, recommended books and web sites will help guide the teens in picking the role for which they are best suited. A handout of Teen Short Jobs outlining common roles is provided.

Show the teens multiple examples of film shorts. Examples are included in the DVDs and Web sites sections of this program. After they have viewed an array of shorts and have an idea of what can be done, give them time to discuss what they like and do not like. Allow the teens to brainstorm ideas in small groups or as a larger group.

Once the teens have an idea of what type of film they want to make, introduce storyboarding and let the teens begin designing the action and sequence of their video. A good resource for learning about the process and language of storyboarding is Storyboards, http://accad.osu.edu/womenandtech/Storyboard%20Resource/. A template for a storyboard is included at the end of this program.

Section Two: Brainstorming

Section Two is designated as the brainstorming session. After the introduction to Storyboarding in Section One, teens will further develop their storyboard. Once the teens get an idea of the basic plot, have them break into groups doing various tasks. They can now work on the scripts or create any costumes or backdrops that are needed.

The script may take more than one planning session, so plan accordingly. There are several web sites and articles dedicated to helping write scripts including, Screenwriting.info, http://www.screenwriting.info/01.php and How to Write a Good Short Film Script, http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3336775.ece.
Sample scripts can be found at various web sites including, Short Movie Scripts, http://www.simplyscripts.com/genre/short-scripts.html and http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/samplescript.pdf.

If teens need more time to create the costumes or backdrops, a separate program session can be designated to create them.

Section Three: Rehearsal

Teens will need an opportunity to rehearse the script and fine tune the script. During the rehearsal, teens can practice their blocking and cues. Cue cards can also be created during this section. Rehearsal is for everyone, including the actors, the costume designers, and the scenery technicians. Videographers can also use this opportunity to practice with the equipment.

Section Four: Filming

Section four of the series is designated as the filming session. Teens will meet for brief instruction on filming so they can learn the various types of shots that will give their film a more polished look. They will then begin filming. Scenes can be filmed in the library, outside the library, or if permissible at various locations throughout the city. Teens may go on location to interview and film the people designated in the storyboard. The resource section of this program offers several web sites with filming tips. A filming Tip Sheet is provided in this program for the teens to take with them on location.

Section Four will probably be the longest program session. The length will depend on many things: the script length, how many takes are needed, the number of set changes required, how well the actors know their lines, etc.

Section Five: Editing

After all of the scenes have been filmed, the teens will edit their work. During the editing process they can put the scenes together, add music, credits, and other effects. Section Five will typically run about 3 hours.

If funds are not available for video editing software, several sites offer free software, such as Windows Movie Maker, Adobe Premiere Express, VideoThang, and JayCut Online Editing Software. Most video editing software provides tutorials on how to use their software. Several online tutorials are listed in the Resources section of this chapter.

By the end of this session, the film should be ready for a final review before the premier.

Section Six: Movie Night

For the final section, host a movie premier night. Have the teens invite friends and family to the premier of their film short. The length of this program depends on how many movies were created. If it is just one movie, the program can be lengthened by having an awards ceremony after the movie, or a red carpet event prior to the premiere.

Teens can decorate the room to look like a theatre. Lay out a red carpet and have people act as paparazzi to make the premier seem even more authentic. In addition, the library can provide refreshments for the event.

If your teens will host a movie premier, make sure the movie(s) were loaded properly and ready to show prior to the event. Ask one teen to act as the master of ceremonies, introducing each film, its cast, and the crew.

Books to Share

Attack of the Killer Video Book: Tips & Tricks for Young Directors by Mark Shulman and Hazlii Krog
Creative Careers: Paths for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers by Elaina Loveland
Digital Filmmaking for Teens by Pete Shaner
Filmmaking for Teens: Pulling Off Your Shorts by Troy Lanier
How to Do Everything with YouTube by Chad Fahs
Lights, Camera, Action!: A Guide to Video Instruction and Production in the Classroom by Bruce Limpus
Movie Making Course, Principles, Practice and Techniques: the Ultimate Guide for the Aspiring Filmmaker by Chris Patmore
Screenwriting for Teens: The 100 Principles of Screenwriting Every Budding Writer Must Know by Christina Hamlett

Books to Display or Book Talk

Film by Ronald Bergan
My So-Called Digital Life: 2,000 Teenagers, 300 Cameras, and 30 Days to Document Their World by Bob Pletka
Play Me by Laura Ruby
Producing and Directing the Short Film and Video by David K. Irving and Peter W. Rea

Display

Film Shorts

Use movie posters to create displays. These can often be acquired from local movie theatres, video rental stores, or the vendors who supply the library's DVDs. A number of online retailers, like Movie Goods, http://www.moviegoods.com/, also sell posters. Attach the posters on bulletin boards or in a display case. Advertise the teen program and movie premier in the display. If they are available in the library's collection, display DVDs of video shorts. A display can also include old movie cameras, film reels, a movie clacker, popcorn buckets or bags, and even some popcorn for effect. A pair of shorts or boxer shorts can be added o the display for comic relief.

Refreshments

Refreshments are welcome at each program but also be sure to serve an assortment of movie snacks at the premier. Popcorn, small candies, soda and water are always favorites.

Guest Speakers

Seek out local business people, professors, AV teachers, local public access TV or cable channel personnel, local reporters, people in the TV/Film industry, patrons, or teens that may be able to add to the real life experience of the program. Learning a new skill from the librarian or a book is great, but adding real life stories from a professional or someone with life experience can bring true excitement to the program. Interesting guest speakers can also be the spark that makes the program a huge success. In addition, local or public access television channels may have personnel that are willing to talk to the teens and provide assistance in running the program. There may also be clubs at local high schools or community colleges (AV, journalism, drama, etc.) which may attract even more teens to your library program.

Films/DVDs/Videos

A Collection of 2007 Academy Award Nominated Short Film. (190 minutes)
The Ultimate Shorts Collection (486 minutes)

Alternate/Additional Programs

Here are some suggestions for some cost effective and shorter alternative programs libraries may host in addition to or instead of Teen Shorts.

Create an Avatar

Teens can create avatars in Second Life, http://secondlife.com/, or Face Your Manga, http://www.faceyourmanga.com/homepage_eng.html. These short computer-based programs are quick and easy to learn.

Create a Vodcast

Teens can create video podcasts (vodcasts) with a video camera and computer. Instead of creating a storyboard and editing, teens can just tape themselves (or a subject) in a single setting. Instructions for creating vodcasts may be found at FreeMarketingZone, http://www.freemarketingzone.com/rss/create-vodcasts.html and Wired Magazine, http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/14.05/howto.html.

Create an Animoto Slideshow Video

If a video camera is not available, teens may use still pictures to create a movie. There are many free software application that convert photos into videos with musical accompaniment, such as Animoto, http://animoto.com/, Slideroll, http://www.slideroll.com/, and One True Media, http://www.onetruemedia.com/otm_site/public_home. Just upload pictures to computer, use effects offered on the applications, then upload the slideshow to YouTube, MySpace, or another photo and video sharing site. Directions for making an Animoto video are in the Globe Trotting Polynesia program.

Photo Contest

As an alternate to Teen Shorts (or in addition to it), have a photo contest in which teens use their cameras or camera phones to take pictures. Have multiple photo categories. Categories may include Best Overall Photo, Best Overall Picture taken on Camera Phone, Best Black and White Photo, Best Action Shot, Best Nature Shot, and Best Portrait.

Display the photos on a bulletin board under the appropriate category and let the teens' peers judge the photos. Winners might receive a digital camera or gift card to area store. There are many budget options for digital cameras, starting at $9.99.

For details on how to organize a photo contest, please see the "Say Cheese: Digital Photo Contest" program, "Let's Get Digital" by Valerie Jensen and Maritza Hernandez in the Texas Teens Read! 2010 manual at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/ttr/2010/manual/digital.html. Also see "Bringing the Fine Arts to Young Adult Readers: Writing and Art Contests" by Natasha Benway in the Texas Teens Read! 2009 manual at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/ttr/2009/manual/artwriting.html.

Comic Creations

This program is similar in style to Teen Shorts, but produced on paper. Teens create, plan, storyboard, and draw a comic book or manga.

To learn more about manga, see "Manga Mania" by Deban Becker in the Texas Teens Read! 2009 manual at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/ttr/2009/manual/manga.html. To learn more about creating comics, see "This World and Other Worlds: Cartoon Creations, Front Page News, and Virtual Time Travel" by Monique Franklin in the Texas Teens Read! 2009 manual at http://www.tsl.texas.gov/ld/projects/ttr/2009/manual/thisotherworld.html.

Web Sites

Festival of Film Shorts
http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=10093A1A43D86B25&search_query=film+shorts+for+teens
This web site provides a collection of film shorts produced by teens for a library film festival.

Film and Music Industry Jobs
http://www.jobmonkey.com/filmmusic/movie_industry_jobs.html
This web site provides brief definitions of typical movie industry jobs, such as director, producer, script supervisor, set designer, camera operator.

From the Pros-10 Tips for Filming a Web Video
http://bmx.transworld.net/1000074124/features/from-the-pros-10-tips-for-filming-a-web-video/
This web site provides tips on filming web videos.

How to Edit Your Video and Audio within Windows Media Player
http://www.solveigmm.com/HowTo/how-to-edit-your-video-and-audio-within-windows-media-player
This web site provides a tutorial on editing video using Windows Media Player.

How to Make a Short Film
http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Short-Film
This web site provides basic steps on filming a short movie.

How to Make a Video Clip
http://en.kioskea.net/faq/sujet-44-how-to-make-a-video-clip
This site gives helpful hints on how to stage a video clip.

How to Write a Good Short Film Script
http://entertainment.timesonline.co.uk/tol/arts_and_entertainment/film/article3336775.ece
This article provides background information on scriptwriting and includes many helpful tips and suggestions on screenwriting.

Learn to Edit Video With Windows Movie Maker
http://desktopvideo.about.com/od/moviemakertutorials/tp/mmtutorials.htm
This web site is a tutorial on using Windows Movie Maker software.

Movie Glossary: Who Are These People?
http://movies.about.com/library/glossary/blglossary.htm
This site is a glossary of movie and film roles, and includes job duties.

Sample Script: Death of the Revolution
http://extras.timesonline.co.uk/samplescript.pdf
An example of a short film script.

Screenwriting.info
http://www.screenwriting.info/01.php
This site provides helpful hints on creating a screenplay script.

Short Film
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short_film
This Wikipedia article describes the history of film shorts.

Short Movie Scripts
http://www.screenwriting.info/01.php
This site provides sample short film scripts.

Squabble - A Short Film {HD}
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BzUZZO2Kxg4
This site provides an example of a film short using claymation.

Storyboards
http://accad.osu.edu/womenandtech/Storyboard%20Resource/
This web site describes the process and language of storyboarding.

Top Ten Reviews
http://video-editing-software-review.toptenreviews.com/
Site compares several for purchase video editing software.

Video Camera Tutorials
http://www.mediacollege.com/video/camera/
This web site from Media College provides many helpful hints, including examples of different shot types, beginning camera work, when to focus and much more.

Video Production Tips
http://www.cameratim.com/video-production/tips
This web site provides several helpful tips and ideas to make quality videos.

Video Shooting Tips
http://www.adobe.com/education/hed/resources/video/pdfs/video_shooting_tips.pdf
This web site provides many helpful hints on shooting film.

Watch the Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts Online
http://ticklebooth.com/2008/01/watch-the-oscar-nominated-animated-shorts-online-2/
This is a site that allows you to access the animated shorts online, and includes a brief description of each film.

Professional Resources

Books

Action! In the Classroom: A Guide to Student Produced Video in K-12 Education by Daniel R. Greenwood
Film (Discovering Careers for Your Future) by Ferguson and JG Ferguson Publishing Company
Start to Finish YA Programs by Ella W. Jones

Web Site

Online Video Editing Applications
http://desktopvideo.about.com/od/editingsoftware/tp/onlineediting.htm
This site lists several free and for purchase online video editing software, with a brief description of each of the software applications.

Teen Shorts Film Tips

Pay Attention!

Pay attention to everything that is going on around you. Where is the sun? Do the actors look washed out? Is there a trashcan in your shot? Is someone picking their nose in the background?

Contrast

Sometime videos can look washed out. Play around with the saturation on your camera and take a few test shots.

Camera Work

Hold the camera steady. Know when to zoom, and when to have a wide shot. If in doubt, do multiple takes. Play with the angles when shooting—if you want someone to look taller, then the videographer should kneel down.

Sound

Make sure you can hear the actors/actresses and not just the background noise. Some cameras work with microphones. If they do not, you may have to film the scene a few times.

Web Sites

From the Pros-10 Tips for Filming a Web Video
http://bmx.transworld.net/1000074124/features/from-the-pros-10-tips-for-filming-a-web-video/
This web site provides tips on filming web videos.

Video Production Tips
http://www.cameratim.com/video-production/tips
This web site provides several helpful tips and ideas to make quality videos.

Teen Shorts Jobs

Actors

Often the most glamorous role, the actors and actresses are the ones who will be onscreen delivering the lines from the movie scripts.

Director/Producer

The director/producer of a film will manage all aspects of the film. They will take the lead role for the film's direction.

Editor

The editor will take the lead role in changing the film from short clips, into a movie masterpiece. They are responsible for combining clips, adding music, and any other special effects.

Script Writer

This is one of the hardest jobs—writing the script. Scripts need to include dialogue, camera actions, and a point!

Set Designer

This job will include designing any sets, costumes, or backdrops needed for the film.

Stagehands

This position is the grunt of the movie set. They are often the ones who want a behind the scenes role, and are responsible for moving and hauling equipment and sets.

Videographer

The videographer is the one who does the actual filming of the scenes.

Web Site

Film and Music Industry Jobs
http://www.jobmonkey.com/filmmusic/movie_industry_jobs.html
This web site provides brief definitions of typical movie industry jobs, such as director, producer, script supervisor, set designer, camera operator.


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Camera Circulation Policy

The Denton Public Library provides a collection of circulating electronic equipment for library use. Customers with a valid photo ID and a current full-service library card with no outstanding fines on account are eligible to use the circulating electronic equipment. Technology, TexShare, Temporary Resident, and Courtesy cards are not considered full-service.

The Library reserves the right to terminate the loan of a camera or other electronic equipment at any time, without notice to the borrower if a library employee believes the equipment has been left unattended by the borrower, used in violation of policies, or used in a manner that is likely to damage the machine. The Library also reserves the right to refuse loan of equipment to any person who has damaged library equipment in the past or used equipment in violation of Denton Public Library policies.

Loan Periods and Availability

Library programs receive first consideration in electronic equipment availability. Cameras are available on a first come, first served basis and no reservations are permitted. They circulate for a period of two hours and are not renewable. Cameras are for use inside the library only. They will be checked out until one hour before closing and should be returned to the reference desk 30 minutes prior to closing.

Liability

If a camera is damaged, lost or stolen, customer agrees to pay $1,000 or the replacement cost of the camera, whichever is greater. Customers will be required to sign a responsibility agreement at time of check out.

Limitations of Use
  • Camera use is subject to the Denton Public Library Internet Use Policy.
  • Cameras may be used only inside the library, but may not be taken into the restrooms.
  • Cameras should never be left unattended.
  • Only one camera may be checked out on a library card at a time.
  • Only one camera may be checked out per card/borrower per day.

http://portal/Documents/org/CityFlaglogo.jpg small Logo 2006

Laptop Circulation Policy

The Emily Fowler Central Library provides a collection of ten circulating laptop computers for interior use. Customers with a valid photo ID and a current full-service library card with no outstanding fines on account are eligible to use the circulating laptop service. Technology, TexShare, Temporary Resident, and Courtesy cards are not considered full-service.

The Library reserves the right to terminate the loan of a laptop at any time, without notice to the borrower if a library employee believes the laptop has been left unattended by the borrower, used in violation of policies, or used in a manner that is likely to damage the machine. The Library also reserves the right to refuse loan of a laptop to any person who has damaged library equipment in the past or used computer equipment in violation of Denton Public Library policies.

Loan Periods and Availability

Library programs receive first consideration in laptop availability. Laptop computers are available on a first come, first served basis and no reservations are permitted. Laptops circulate for a period of two hours and are not renewable. Laptop checkout does not count against daily PC time limits. Laptops are for use inside the library only. Laptops will be checked out until one hour before closing and laptops should be returned to the reference desk 30 minutes prior to closing.

Liability

If a laptop is damaged, lost or stolen, customer agrees to pay $2,000 or the replacement cost of the laptop, whichever is greater. Customers will be required to sign a responsibility agreement at time of check out.

Limitations of Use
  • Laptop use is subject to the Denton Public Library Internet Use Policy.
  • Laptops may be used only inside the library, but may not be taken into the restrooms.
  • Laptops should never be left unattended.
  • Only one laptop may be checked out on a library card at a time.
  • Only one laptop may be checked out per card/borrower per day.
  • Customers should not tamper with the security settings on the laptop. Doing so will result in the loss of borrowing privileges and/or fines.
  • Personal software should not be downloaded onto the laptop and no user files shall be retained on the hard drive.
Page last modified: August 15, 2011