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Old Ideas for your video

By the middle of February, you need to have a script and shot list for your video for this course. I highly recommend that you take the easy way and tell a story that has a beginning, middle and ending. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Inspiration and models

  • ShortsBay – Watch Short Films. Love Short Films. Growing Showcase of the Best Shorts Around the Planet. 5-minute videos.
  • Indie Short Films – 2010 Competition Winners – I recommend End of the Tour and Gillespie. Note the production values, camera work, and lighting. And acting. Note that both films are done with very few actors and sets. With a good shot list, they could have been taped in a weekend; they’re only 15 and 8 minutes, remember.

It works by shooting a single frame of an object, then moving the object slightly, and then shooting another frame. When the film runs continuously in a film projector, or other video playback system, the illusion of fluid motion is created and the objects appear to move by themselves. This is similar to the animation of cartoons, but using real objects instead of drawings.


  • make a video response to someone else’s video, for example a video on YouTube or one done for NFFTY – National Film Festival for Talented Youth (that’s you!)
  • send a message — advocate a cause or point of view, your own or that of a not-for-profit organization that could use the publicity. For example, “The Faces of Hunger in Buffalo” or “Wind Turbines Rock”
  • social issue or topic film – Extensive use of research, interview, and narration are the building blocks for this project. Provide a fresh perspective a political issue or document a local story that has larger implications.
  • video of a scene from a stage play: Odd Couple or some other.
  • recreate a scene from a movie, either straight or satirically. For example, reverse the genders of the characters but keep the plot line and dialogue — the results can be pretty funny. (Think of Richard Gere and Julia Roberts delivering each other’s lines in Pretty Woman. Call it Pretty Boy.)
  • character film – reveal an extraordinary or extremely ordinary person using image and sound to build a portrait. Record life as it happens rather than staging scenes or interviewing the subject.
  • document a newsworthy event, either a real event or one you stage. For example, some nut wanders in from off-campus (or a teacher or other student cracks) and holds your roommate hostage in the downstairs classroom in 85 Humboldt. What happens next?
  • make a video version of a research essay you (or someone else) wrote for a course in the past, or one this semester, or your senior thesis for GEN 411.
  • a seed or pitch episode for an original reality program.
  • make a music video for a piece of music that you wrote.
  • illustrate a poem, that is, make the video to show while the poem is read as a voice-over or appears as text on the screen. Music, too, of course.
  • make an info-mercial for a ridiculous product or a commercial for a real product.
  • enter a contest from the very long list at — or if the deadline has passed, do a video that could have been entered in the contest or is inspired by one of the contests
  • try a case – set up a courtroom and put someone on trial, either seriously or satirically: the Nigerian for trying to blow up the plane at Christmas, your landlord or an NFL coach for being stupid.
  • satirize daily life – ex: the worst first date; the perfect way to break up with your boyfriend/girlfriend; stupid teacher tricks; disasters in public speaking class; what really happens in … the cafeteria kitchen / the women’s locker room / the library stacks / the President’s office / the room where Vet Tech keeps the rodents.
  • fantasy sports – tape a Medaille men’s soccer game with three or four different cameras. Then re-arrange and mix-and-match the parts to create a different ending for the game, adding play-by-play, commentary, commercials, scoreboard shots, and sounds appropriate to how you rearranged reality.
  • observational film – a visual portrait of a person, place, or activity. Observe the subject closely and find the most effective shots to reveal it.
  • your version of an episode of a TV show or online video series you like. By the way, several students have tried a bad lip reading, but it is much harder than it looks to do it well.

These are general areas. I sent an email to all of you at your official school address. In in, I give more detailed instructions and ask you to respond to it ASAP with half a dozen specific concrete ideas. If twenty students each send me that many ASAP, I’ll copy and paste them all into one big list and we’ll have dozens to look at on the big screen. Somewhere in there will be something to inspire you.greenscreen

Special techniques

Here are three techniques you may find worth exploring. They are all easy to do with the production equipment available to us.

  • machinima – anything that appears on your Playstation or Xbox screen can be captured as a video file, which can be edited just like video you took with your camera. You can then add voices, music, and effects. The technique is officially called machinima, aka poor person’s animation. Get the software from Source Filmmaker.
  • stop-motion – claymation videos use this technique, but you can use dolls, toys, Legos, or even real people. Set it up, take a still picture. Move the dolls slightly. Take another picture. Line up hundreds if not thousands of still pictures in a video editor, add voice, music, and effects. Again, poor person’s animation.

50 Incredible Stop Motion Videos

It works by shooting a single frame of an object, then moving the object slightly, and then shooting another frame. When the film runs continuously in a film projector, or other video playback system, the illusion of fluid motion is created and the objects appear to move by themselves. This is similar to the animation of cartoons, but using real objects instead of drawings.

Your ideas

(assignment due Jan 22, 23)

1. Love & Basketball movie scene (altered)!!!!!
2. Step Brothers movie music video
3. Rap video
4. Gaming music video
5. Reenacting a movie video
6. Silent movie

1)tape ice hockey club from medialle and re do the end of it..
2)men’s basketball team also from medialle and re do end of it.
3)mayb like a sportscenter show.
4)my version of a tv show friends.
5) my version of tv show king of queens but instead of queens its king of buffalo

– A criminal investigation theme
– A romantic theme showing the person showing true honesty
– A music theme scene showing how music is life for some people
– A theme of where you see the individual find out who really in circle and who are the fake and users
– A theme of a individual going through depression over family lost and sets goals for the better out of the inspiration of their lost one

An observational film of Niagara falls.
A video supporting a point of view on an issue such as welfare or minimum wage.
Reenactment of an episode/scene in the TV show Modern Family.
Unique Buffalo Landmarks.
A game of poker being played.

1. Two and Half men scene re enactment
2. Big bang theory scene re enactment
3. Funny newscast
4. Trial/ Courtroom for made up serious crime
5. Judge Judy/ Peoples Court remake
6. Hostage situation gone wrong

Make an episode of what would you do
Switch gender roles of a scene from Joe Dirt
Commercial for a tablet
Stop motion of a day for a homeless person
Putting a president on trial
A remake of a Walking Dead episode

1. News interview about a catastrophe going on in the U.S and students feelings about it
2. Scene from the movie “Mean Girls” (any scene,being that we’re at a school)
3.Interview one student about their life on campus from sun up to sun down ( including struggles, good times, classes, outside life, friends etc.)
4.Scene from the movie “Barbershop” (little girl busts in her brother’s room to find that he and his friend has stolen an ATM machine)
5.Dancing scene from the movie “Mean Girls”

a reenactment of Mean Girls the movie
a pitch from an original series (maybe a segment of Americas Next Top Model
a radio show scene (like the breakfast club)
a talk show with a “famous” guest (reenactment)

1) acting out a scene from the show friends
2) acting out a dr Seuss book
3) acting out a favorite scene from your favorite movie
4) acting out what you think the future will be like
5) making a funny music video

Sports interview (player or coach)

music video
game show
A zombie takeover
news report
hostage situation
  • make an info-mercial for a ridiculous product
  • a sports scene gone wrong
  • recreate a movie scene
  • create a talk show
  • create a dance battle
  • gender swap a famous scene in a movie
Recreation of “Girl Code/ Guy Code”
“Scandal” Spoof
“The View” type talk show
“Real Housewives” spoof

“Mean Girls” spoof

Remake of all the funny vines
-texting and driving
-game show
-pets playing
-how to cook a certain meal
-recreate the movie ted
-a future “me” video
-dance video
-music video
-“in memory” video