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First Class Day

Last December, the last time I taught GEN 230 Creative Expression, we spent the final few class days in the Lecture Hall watching the students’ final projects on the big screen.

The students had a good hoot watching them, but for me it was like a final exam. The problems I saw, as a teacher, were not all solvable. But some were, and this course for Spring 2015 is my attempt to raise the overall quality of the final videos by improving the process. It’s not a complicated process, but it structures a complicated activity, which is making a short video in just a few months when you have a lot of other things demanding your attention. If you are engaged in the process and you meet all the deadlines, you will accomplish more by the end of the semester than you think you can now.

This course, in a sentence: By early May, you will have, on YouTube, a video that you made. Guiding you through the process step-by-step, I will do my best to help you make it a video that you are proud of.

There is no ink-on-paper textbook for this course. All the course materials and almost all of your work will be available online.

According to YouTube’s fact sheet:

100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. In 2014, YouTube had more than 6 billion hours of video viewed, almost an hour for every person on Earth.

100 hours per minute!! The twenty students in this course each uploading a 5-minute video will be contributing a little under two hours of video, less than two seconds in YouTube-time.

Impediments and restraints

What keeps people from expressing their creativity more?

  • fear of “The Arts”
  • confusion about the differences between fact and truth and fiction and reality
  • inspiration – false belief that they must wait for it
  • imagination/talent – false belief that they don’t have any or enough

We’re late to the party, so let’s get going!

Art is a process, not a thing. Trust the process.

Give yourself permission.

The journey is more interesting, and more important, than arriving at a destination. A video on YouTube is a snapshot of the process, a station on the journey to be left behind.

Note | your script is due via email to me on or before Wednesday, February 11, no exceptions.

Textbook: As close as this course gets to a textbook is is a free educational website for all forms of electronic media. We have hundreds of exclusive tutorials covering video & television production, audio work, photography, graphics, web design and more. You’ll also find utilities, reference material (e.g. user manuals), industry news and a helpful forum.


acting troupes

Odd Couple script (also handed out in class on paper)

Odd Couple on YouTube < Odd Couple Act 1 >

Male version example 1 | example 2 |

Female version example 1 | example 2 machinima

Machinima: “Friends” | incorporating camera-filmed video

The cast of a TV show like Friends is also known as an acting troupe.

There are about twenty students in this class, so we are going to break into five groups of four, more or less, and rehearse the beginning of the first scene of the female version of The Odd Couple, Neil Simon’s Broadway, movie, then TV production from the 1980’s. We are doing this to give you some practical acting experience and so that your classmates can better cast you in their videos.

In addition, the scene will take about four minutes to act out, about the length of the video you will make for this course, so you will get some idea of how much script material can fit into four minutes.

assignments – first week of class

  • respond to my email with your half-dozen concrete specific ideas for videos for this course.

Most of the course assignments will be explained at length lower down on this page as part of the process, but a couple of them don’t fit the process neatly and are explained here.

  • watch video, stage plays, and other performances as a maker rather than as a consumer.
  • gateways

Three times during this process, between pre-production and production at the end of February, between production and post-production at the end of March, and finally at the end of April, you and I will sit together to discuss your progress. This appointment might take three emails and two minutes in person and we can do it after class one day. Or it might take an hour and we need to sit together at a computer in the computer lab working out your problems.

These gateways are designed to give you feedback on your progress through the process. Given the short time constraint of the semester, these gateways will also keep you on track to complete the process with sufficient opportunity for experimentation, feedback, and reflection.

This course is all about the process, not the product. Plus a professional attitude, which means being engaged and meeting deadlines. To repeat from the course page, if you do not pass a gateway, that is, if you do not have a script and shot list to show me by the end of February and taped scenes by the end of March and a completed video by the end of April, I will send an official Academic Warning report to your advisor because I will be having serious doubts about whether you will be able to successfully complete the course at an A or B level. Depending on how far behind you are, I may recommend that you drop the course at that point.