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To get this project to fit into a three-month semester, I have developed several constraints that you need to follow. “Constraints” in this sense are choices I have made for you in several areas where the trade-offs may not be so clear.

  • Types of videos not to do

Uncritical “fan” videos: animals, athletes, entertainers, etc.

  • Aim for three or four minutes.

On the far end, YouTube discourages you from uploading a file larger than 2 GB or a video longer than fifteen minutes. On the near end, holding someone’s attention for four or five minutes is not easy. Longer than that is even harder. In addition, you have only three months to write, produce, and edit this beast, and it’s probably your first attempt at such an organized creative project, so …. Do yourself a favor and think short!

  • Work from a shot list.

Yes, YouTube is full of random, spontaneous video clips. Yours won’t be one of them. Holding up your cell phone’s video camera for five minutes during a concert at HSBC Arena or during a Friday night drink-fest at a buddy’s off-campus apartment and then slapping a title at the beginning before you upload it to YouTube is worth doing on a number of levels, but it isn’t appropriate for this course. If at the last minute you decide to “change everything” and do the taping without a script and shot list because there’s no time, then you have what I call an “undocumented final video” on the Course page section about final grades. Your grade will be lower. Don’t do that to yourself. Do the process; do it right.

The key to doing it right is a helpful shot list.

  • Avoid copyright and censorship problems.

If you look at some of the videos from previous semesters on the Matteo Ricci YouTube channel, you’ll see that several videos are blocked in certain countries. Or they are still viewable but the audio has been removed because the copyright holder complained. In several cases, lack of music really hurts the video. Don’t let that happen to yours. There is way too much wonderful, interesting music that you can use where that won’t be a problem.

Similarly, your visual content in terms of nudity and violence should stay within the bounds of what could be shown on network TV during evening prime time.

However, your verbal content, that is, the ideas and views expressed, do not need to stay within those bounds. For verbal content, think in terms of the First Amendment. Avoid libel and slander, of course, unless it’s clearly satirical. You have freedom of speech in this course, so feel free to exercise it!