Making a Documentary! & Standing for Almost 5 Hours!

First Film

Films. Film are hard to make. For our last project we had to make a film. Now you may be aware of my Vibrant Video post, and if you have not read it I recommend you read it here.

The driving question for this project was: How can I engage and entertain an audience using my video and storytelling skills?

At the start of the First Film project we started out by filing out some sheet that we were supposed to show our interests in, and this sheet was supposed to help us come up with ideas for our documentary topic. I settled on BC’s Temperate Rainforests as my topic, which would kind of come to bite me in the back later. 

During this project we would watch a short documentary every few days, and the first one we watched was The Lost Forest, which is really cool, and you should watch it.

Then we learned interview etiquette, and how to record an interview. Recording a good interview is harder than you probably think, and I will leave the example video we made here. In the example video our question for the interviewee was their whether they liked pineapple on pizza or not, but the idea was almost scrapped because we were worried it was too political and the interviews might get heated.

When we were working on the interview video we were also watching this list of short documentaries, which was named Doc a Day.

Now we made our treatment and log line, did some research on our subjects, and then made our screenplays

Screenplay

After we had finished the screenplays, we made our storyboards.

Then we filmed for about a week, made a rough cut, edited for a few days, and we had our finished film.

One thing that I am willing to admit is that I barely got my documentary done in time for the exhibition, due to many reasons, 1. I am a professional procrastinator (probably not something I should brag about.) 2. You know how I said earlier that choosing temperate rainforests as my topic would not be a good decision? Well it just so happens that the day I go to start filming, it rains for almost 2 weeks, and most of my shots could not be filmed in the rain. Luckily I did get my doc done in time for the exhibition.

Now for the thing you have been waiting for: the answer to the driving question.

The audience can be engage and entertained by using different filming techniques, making it fun to watch, and hooking the viewer in the first few seconds.

Spring/Summer Exhibition

(Note:) Why is it called the spring exhibition when it takes place during the summer???

At the end of the First Film project we had our Summer Exhibition, and in the exhibition we decided to showcase our documentaries. For the exhibition we were split into groups, each group with a different topic for the exhibition. There was Intro, PBL Pathway, Beyond the Classroom, Tech for Learning, and Conclusion. I was in the Tech for Learning group, but we’ll get back to that later. We had to have 3 things: a themed food, an interactive activity, and a documentary showcase. The Intro group had cups of candy as the food, the pamphlets as the interactive activity, and they had a projector projecting the documentaries onto a whiteboard. They were located just outside of the main entrance to the school, and they had some grade 9s acting as students and teachers, which was showing how they thought that PLP was more effective than average school.

Next is the PBL Pathway group, and the were located inside the main PLP classroom, and they had marshmallows and toothpicks as one of their foods and interactive activities, in which you would use the marshmallows and toothpicks to make structures. They also had a interactive activity where you could make a drawing and put it up, and people would give the drawing kind, helpful, and specific feedback, and the feedback that best fit that criteria would get these brain candies, which was the second food that they gave. This was one of the most creative groups, and for their documentaries, they had a ingenious idea to take iPads, and put them into boxes where somebody could come up and look into the box, which amplified the sound for the person looking inside of the box, and increased the lighting quality for the person looking inside of the box without disrupting the people in other parts of the room.

After them was the Beyond the Classroom. Beyond the Classroom had a very fun interactive activity which I will get back to later, but for the food they had this watered down orange juice with orange juice concentrate that was pretty good, and they were located in room 217, which is right next to the main PLP room. They had the documentaries projected onto the wall and because they decided to do a theme of the Loon Lake Learning Advance (read my blog link here) they had iPads up with a slideshow of photos from Loon Lake. That’s also the reason why they gave out orange juice, as the juice was a very memorable part of Loon Lake due to a whole fiasco where the orange juice was taken away, but then we got back the orange juice and everybody celebrated. Going back to the exhibition, this group also had some grade 8’s acting out the laser tag and battle archery we had at loon lake. If you head out into the hall you would see the interactive activity that they made, which was extremely fun, and basically you would sit on a skateboard and pull this rope to go faster, and you would race the other person next to you. This station was supposed to represent canoe racing, and it was definitely my favourite interactive activity.

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Now is my station, the Tech for Learning station. In the Tech for Learning station we had these cookies that were shaped like apps such as things, pages, and basecamp. We also had this “Pagerade” and “Keynoterade” which was originally just going to be orange and blue Gatorade, but that was too expensive so we just used this “Kool-Aid Drink Mix” and that was these tiny bottles of flavouring that you put into water to turn it into a coloured drink 🍹 

Behind that stand was our Vibrant Video stand. We had a projector for that station, but the projector did not work as well with the lights on, so we just used a iPad. If you have not read my Vibrant Video post you can read it here.

Our interactive activity was where you use the Action Movie app to make it look like you were being hit by a car or something similar. We also used a green screen to make it look like you were on a beach. I was at the documentary stand, and all I had to do was press the subtitles button every 5 minutes, so I spent most of my time substituting for people at the interactive activity station when they were on break.

Looking back on the exhibition, I think that some parts that could have gone better would probably be when I was setting up the projector, as I did not start setting up the projector until about five minutes before the exhibition started, which could have led to a few problems, but luckily it did not. Another thing that was not ideal during the exhibition was how we did not taste test the flavouring that we put into the drinks until the day of the exhibition. There was one flavour that I taste tested, but that happened to be the only flavour that did not have any problems. One of the flavours turned out to not be the colour that we wanted it to be, which created many problems, as then we had less of the colour that we wanted. Another problem that could have been avoided with testing was that the other flavour for the blue colour turned out to taste really bad, so we basically only had the orange flavour.

Looking back on the things that went well though, the interactive activity station was something that definitely went well, even though there was one iPad mishap, that station worked out almost perfectly and a lot of people liked it.

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Overall I think that this exhibition was probably my favourite out of all the ones we have done so far, except for the part where we had to stand for 5-ish hours. But other than that, it was the most fun exhibition we had so far, and the people who came to the exhibition seemed to like it as well.

I also want to thank the all teachers for making this happen.

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