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Written by Misty Gentle   

Projects for my beginning students are different than projects for my advanced classes.

They have a purposeful progression of instruction intended to shape their knowledge and ability to successfully produce a variety of genres.  I feel strongly that different styles of production should be taught in the beginning along with camera and editing basics so when they make it to the advanced classes, they are well prepared to take on a variety of projects as they improve their technical skills.

With my beginning classes in both Middle School and High School, I prefer to start with a simple music video using stock footage and a music library. This introduces them to the basics of editing, and the importance of timing and pacing. It introduces the proper project settings and saving of their projects inside the editing program and allows you an opportunity to talk about camera shot types, angles, movement and clarity. You could require them to use a specific combination of shots in their sequence. I require use of some video transitions and video effects in this first project. This is also when I establish elements required in every video. Such as, a 5 second slate at the beginning, dip to black, title page, fade out at end and credits. Finally, they learn for the first time how to finalize or export their project. This too is crucial for the success of all future projects and establishing your delivery procedures.

For the second project, short film, I provide a script outline with 3 scenes. This project introduces them to story telling, script formatting and the Pre-Production process. They must develop a strong beginning, middle and end complete with shot descriptions, actions, transitions, and dialogue. They also have to create a storyboard, shot breakdown and production schedule. We take time out to learn basic camera techniques, practice with the camera and then have a tech rehearsal before they begin Production. This project is important to establish your procedures and expectations for the Pre-Production process for all future projects. After Production, they learn how to import their video, and are reminded how to properly save and organize their files. My script out-line requires one scene to be shot in front of a blue or green screen so they can learn how to apply Chroma-key. This video effect makes the project more fun because they can go ANYWHERE in their story.

My third project is a commercial and we discus how the purpose of advertising and promotions are different than music videos and short stories. This time they have to complete a product worksheet and develop a 30 or 60 second script that demonstrates a problem, a solution and product information (in any order). Then we repeat our Pre-Production, Production and Post-Production process but learn more about computer graphics.

After the advertising unit, we produce a news segment. Again, all the production processes are the same but the genre, style and format are different. More computer graphics are required for this project. The importance of story telling is enforced, interviewing techniques are taught and B-roll is introduced.

Then, we produce a Public Service Announcement (PSA) with a time limit of 30 or 60 seconds. It is important to distinguish how a PSA is not a commercial because it is not selling anything. PSA categories are limitless: peer pressure, fire safety, seat belt safety, anti-bullying, Red Ribbon Week, anti-drugs, drinking and driving, animal cruelty, child neglect/abuse, pollution, natural disasters, health, sickness, hygiene, etc.

From here on, I have done something different every year. It usually depends on the needs of the school or video contests that have been posted. See the list at the bottom for more ideas.

Finally, I like to end the year with DVD Design and Authoring. A student ‘reel’, compilation of their work, with extra features like bloopers or their friend’s videos. I tell them all year to save the bloopers for the last project. In my experience, my students always want to edit bloopers and lose focus on the current assignment. I tell them that I am not grading them on bloopers and to save them for when they get ahead or for the last project - the DVD. This makes them happy and gets them back on task. The DVD requirements include a main menu, sub-menu with scene selection and a slide show. All the navigation must work! No one burns their DVD until I have checked it. For the final exam, they present their DVD to the class and get a grade based on presentation as well as DVD Design and Authoring.

More Project Ideas:
Other Genres:

How to / Instructional


Movie Trailer

Book Trailer

Special Interest Story





Silent Film

Fairy Tail


Animation/Stop Motion

Contests and Annual Events
    Library and Reading (literacy week)
    State Standards Testing Tips
    Public School
    Crime Fighters

School Needs -
    Meet the New Teachers
    Administration - Who’s Who
    Elective Choices
    Videos for Incoming students
    Highlights: Sports, Clubs, Music, Arts, Classes
     SGA Election Speeches
     Book Club Promotions
     Canned Food Drive
     Senior Slide Shows / End of Year etc.
    Code of Conduct
    Tardy Policy
    Cafeteria Policy
    Media Center Policy

Misty Gentle started with long format television programs for Nickelodeon Studios in Orlando, Florida. She worked her way up from a Production Assistant to Producer. Along the way, she worked in a variety of positions from pre-production through post. After that, she worked on shows for the Fox Health Network, Animal Planet, ABC, Disney, The Learning Channel, Discovery Channel and More. Misty has been a writer / director / producer for on-air promotions and corporate productions as well as 2nd assistant stage manager, Script Supervisor, Segment Producer, Associate Producer, and Post Production Producer. In the summer of 2008, she was Associate Producer for Nickelodeon's "My Family's Got GUTS". These positions have given her a broad understanding of production from show concept and development through post and delivery.

She began teaching in 2004 with a full television production program at the middle school level. After 5 years, Ms. Gentle moved up to high school where she currently teaches digital video production to 9th through 12th graders.

Ms. Gentle holds a BA degree in Communications - Television and Radio Production and is certified as 'Technical Vocational Education - Television Production'.


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