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Narrative in Production Tasks 



A reflective journal is not just a record of what you did and when, it is a chance to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the media production process. Your weekly journal entries should include:

• discussion of achievements;

• explanation of problems you have encountered;

• possible solutions to these problems;

• experiments with technical equipment;

• a reflection on the roles you and your team have undertaken and the skills you have used.

• behind the scenes photographs and/or videos to demonstrate your understanding of the film production process.

Here is an example of a journal entry from a previous student:

At the start of the film production process I brainstormed an idea for the film. I then took on the role of scriptwriter and put my ideas to paper, producing both a screenplay and a treatment. I produced my screenplay on the ingenious program Celtx, which allowed me to easily manipulate my script. Deng helped at this stage to refine the initial film direction. Few problems were encountered at this stage as during the brainstorming stage I had fully mapped out the plot and resolved the ending. With the script complete, over the holidays I adopted the role of a location scout and took lots of photo’s of the locations for the film, such as in the mines and the bush. At the start of the term Deng began work on the shot list and I completed “The Pitch”. After presenting the pitch to rapturous applause I then helped Deng finalise the shot list. This was a tedious stage of the film production process, however it was not difficult as the script was very clear in its direction. When working on the shot list though some aspects of the script were changed, including how the film is resolved at the end. With the shot list complete Deng adopted the role of storyboard artist. Currently he is about a quarter of the way through adapting the shot list to a storyboard. This is a lengthy stage of the process that we envisage will be completed by the end of next week.


Here is another example of a journal entry from later in the production process as a student reflects on writing the music for their film.

This session I work in Garageband to create some eerie textures for the film. Creating an atmosphere of suspense is incredibly important to our narrative and audience engagement. To start off with, I explored some of Garageband’s packaged sound effects. There was one in particular that had promise but it sounded too bright for our film. Next I explored the software instruments. Using the synthesiser pads, I was able to create eerie, dissonant droning sounds using the lower octaves of the keyboards. These low frequency sounds help to create a sense of disequilibrium. I was deliberately playing sounds that weren’t melodic. Adding higher frequency notes created screeching noises that will also contribute to the eeriness of the sound. I principally used the instrument preset ‘Aquatic Sunbeam’ but it would also be interesting to experiment with the other presets, perhaps adding phasers or other effects to the instrument. Echoes and reverbs could also add an otherworldly effect to the sounds of the music. Adding low piano notes would also be a great way to add more texture and variety to the composition, I’ll experiment this next class. I’m going to prepare for next session by listening to the work of composers such as John Murphy, James Newton Howard, David Julyan and Brian Reitzel which are in the ‘Sample Horror Soundtracks’ folder. As a result of this research, I will consider revising the soundtrack to increase its eeriness.

You don’t necessarily need to write your journal entries. Your journal entries could, for example, be video blogs that are recorded on a daily basis. These could be packaged along with your finished film on a DVD. You could also produce a behind-the-scenes documentary to go along with your film to show your understanding of the stages and roles you’ve undertaken in the film production process. Whatever form they take, your journal entries should be a rich and detailed insight into the filmmaking process.

Written 400 words or  Pod Cast   

2. Narrative in Photography   :   The Photo Essay  

Creating a photo essay is a combination of art and journalism. As with a written essay, the elements of a photo essay should be structured in a way that easily conveys a story to the viewer. Each individual photo contributes to the overall story, theme, and emotions of the essay. The photos you choose must not only be compositionally and artistically strong, but also informative and educational. Finding photos that have both qualities can be very challenging, but the result can be very powerful.

There are two types of photo essays: the narrative and the thematic. The narrative essay tells a story through a sequence of events or actions. They may follow an individual or activity over a period of time and present this story in chronological order. A thematic photo essay focuses on a central theme (e.g. loneliness, the environment, etc.) and presents photos relevant to that theme.

 Regardless of what type of photo essay you choose to present, the following elements should be considered during its creation:

 The story-Your essay should be able to stand alone, without a written article, and make logical sense to the viewer.

 A range of photos:A variety of photos (wide angle, detailed, portraits etc.) should be included. See the types of photos section discussed below.

 The order of the photos: It is important that the order of your photos effectively tell a story, in an interesting and logical sequence.

 Information and emotion:Your photos should include both informational and emotional photos. Those essays that effectively evoke emotion while providing information tend to convey their messages the best.

 Captions:In a photo essay, captions are your best opportunity to describe what is happening in words and ensure that the viewer understands. Include informational content in these captions if necessary.

Determining what story to tell can be a challenge. If you are thinking of creating a photographic essay, then you know that choosing an appropriate subject can be a difficult task. If you find yourself at a loss for ideas, or are overwhelmed by possibilities, take a moment to outline your thoughts. Brainstorm ideas and consider the area around you and that are immediately available to you.

 Initially ask yourself what issues you find important. If one idea does not immediately come to mind consider what resources are available around the school

Types of Photos

By including a variety of types of photos in your essay, you will ensure that it is both interesting and informative. The following types of photos, presented together, can create a successful photo essay. Not only is it important to choose powerful photos, but also to present them in an effective order. While the order of some photos (e.g. the lead photo, and the clincher) is set, the order of most types of photos in your essay is your preference.

The Lead Photo:Similar to the first two sentences of a newspaper article, your lead photo should effectively draw in your audience. This is usually the most difficult photo to choose and should follow the theme of your essay. It could be an emotional portrait or an action shot, but ultimately it should provoke the curiosity of the viewer.

The Scene:Your second photo should set the stage and describe the scene of your story. An overarching photo taken with a wide angle lens is often effective.

The Portraits:Your photo essay should include at least one portrait. Capturing an emotional expression or telling action shot can effectively humanize your story. These photos often evoke strong emotions and empathy in the viewer (whether it is a positive and enthusiastic emotion, or a sympathetic and concerned emotion.)

The Detail Photos:Detail photos focus in on one element, be it a building, a face, or a relevant object. These photos are your best opportunity to capture specific objects. The captions of these photos should be informative and educational.

The Close-up Photos:Similarly, close-up photos provide an opportunity to focus in on specific objects. These photos are tightly cropped, simple shots that present a specific element of your story. Again, this is an excellent opportunity to present information in the caption.

The Signature Photo: The signature photo summarizes the situation and captures the key elements of your story in a telling moment.

The Clincher Photo: The final photo, the clincher, should evoke the emotion you want the viewer to walk away with, be it a feeling of hope, inspiration, or sadness. Decide on this mood before you select this photo.

Students are to select one of the following topics and present 5-10 photographs on your selected theme.. Your photos should demonstrate your knowledge of  composition  and  should  demonstrate originality and uniqueness in your approach. 

Each photo selected should have reference below the  photo  to the aperture and shutter speed . So take a pen and paper with you or make sure you record shutter and aperture before the session is complete.  NB. if you have your own camera you may take more photos during the  week after  school  on your chosen theme- 

Urban Angles

 Choose old or modern architecture as a project to shoot. Look out for the clean, graphic lines and bright colours or dull greys around the school or home . Use camera framing to  isolate unusual angles and create interesting abstracts. Try shooting from unusual perspectives too – don't be afraid to get down  low for more dynamic pictures.

Alphabet City 

Choose to illustrate the alphabet and interpret anyway you wish – photograph something beginning with each letter or hunt out letters themselves in our surroundings, or make the shape of letters with props. You’ll be constantly scanning your surroundings for photo opportunities and this will result in a better eye for photographs.    

Lucky 7s -   Choose to illustrate a series of  compositions based on numbers -  you could include numbers in your compositions or multiple imagery to represent numbers -  You could research numerology to gain an insight to what different numbers represent as starting point for your compositions 

Social issues

 If there’s a social issue you feel strongly about, or want to explore, centring a photo project on it will engage you and you’re likely to find it personally fulfilling. The key to a successful project like this is being honest about your work  and not take  advantage. Start your project with an open mind and you might be surprised with what you find out.  Some issues could  be  The Environment: / Education Teen Mental Health  to name a  few 

Ghost in the Machine 

Sometimes all you need is a  title  to get your creative juices flowing. 

Self reflections

If you’d like to improve your portrait photography skills but are lacking confidence in directing others, a self-portraiture project is a great idea. Rather than take endless selfies   get really creative and use expressions, props and locations to maximise effect 

further topic ideas

Walking in my shoes:  School Daze   Literacy and Numeracy ( Numbers and Letters):  My environment : Life in the fast lane:  lonesome:  Discarded: Pride:   Circles : Hazy :  Eye sight :  Ironic : Doors:  Stairway to Heaven:  Guilty : Old n New :  Hope: Death of Humanity:  The apocalypse : Losing Grip : Time 

2. Produce a Photographic Essay 

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