Cinematic Storytelling


Homework Due 12/17/18: Finish writing your 3 page script, print it, and bring it to class. Your script must be a minimum of 3 pages, take place in one location, and include only two characters.


Homework Due 12/13/18: Read the “For A Few Days More” script and pay attention to the manner with which the script is formatted.
Additionally, please download Celtx on the computer you use as home.

ATTENTION SCRIPTWRITERS: Here are direct links to download Celtx and Trelby. All files are hosted by google drive and are safe to download.

Homework Due 12/11/18: Read the “Introduction To Character Descriptions” sheet and analyze the language that screenwriters use to get to the heart of a character.
Then, write a 2-4 sentence character introduction for yourself if you were to be a character in a screenplay. Make sure to complete this well in advance of class and prepare to read your aloud when class starts.

Homework Due 9/24/18: In your notebook, write an idea for a shooting sequence that you can film in school. The sequence should be purely visible and should not include any dialogue. This will be reviewed by Mr. Z, you will also discuss the sequence with your group.

Single Line Films:

Homework Due 9/17/18: Write a single line of dialogue that you would like to hear a character day. Make sure that the line does not include any specific names, locations, or other fictional items that are recognizable from other stories. If you struggle to write a line you may “borrow” one from a film that you like. Please write this line in your notebook.

Homework Due 9/11/18: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Using your knowledge of the rule of thirds, take a picture of a subject outside of school. Make sure to frame the shot so it is dynamic and interesting to the viewer. Prepare to have your picture viewed by your peers in the next class.








Homework Due 12/14/17: Finish the character description from your random story and prepare to share it with the class. You will be recording it verbally again.

Homework Due 12/12/17: Read “For A Few Days More” and pay careful attention to the way they describe script formatting.
Also, please complete your character description and prepare to share it with the class. This description must be a maximum of 5 words. Please ensure to write down the 3 aspects of yourself that you wanted to clearly showcase in the description.

ATTENTION SCRIPTWRITERS: Here are direct links to download Celtx and Trelby. All files are hosted by google drive and are safe to download.

Homework Due 12/8/17: Read the Character Descriptions Script sheet that was handed out in class. Come to class prepared to discuss the different approaches to writing a character description and determine what you would want to represent about yourself in a character description.

Homework Due 10/18/17:

  • Watch George Melies: The Father Of Special Effects documentary and take notes of elements of his work that stands out to you.
  • Using your phone, shoot an actuality video outside of school. This must be exactly 60 seconds, shot in landscape mode, with a defined point of focus, examining some environment. Plan to present these in class on Wednesday.

Homework Due 9/25/17: Collect pictures for your Environment editing assignment. You must have a minimum of 20 pictures (ideally about double that) along with a song or soundtrack to add to the video. This will be all the materials you need for your first video project so ensure you have everything you’ll require including a cable to transfer your files to the computer.

Homework Due 9/18/17: Review your notes from last class about shot types. Come to class prepared with two pictures: an extreme close-up and an extreme wide shot.

Homework Due 9/8/17:
1) Come to class prepared with your notebook, folder, and writing utensil.
2) Create a Flip Grid video introduction as per the link below. Please be sure to review your video before publishing it to ensure that you are happy with the quality. The video will be watched by everyone in the class.
Password: zl0mektech (zero as the o)



Homework Due 1/18/16:

  • Have your Found Footage film exported and ready for critique.

Homework Due 12/14/16: Write a 10 page script where you do the following:

  1. Start at the beginning of the story
  2. Clearly introduce the reader to the world that you’re creating
  3. Introduce us to characters that we will follow throughout the film
  4. Introduce us to conflict that pushes the story

Your story DOES NOT have to resolve itself within these ten pages. Imagine that this is part of a larger narrative and focus on great writing rather than reaching the stories conclusion.

Homework Due 12/6/16: Write a 2 page script where you do the following:

  1. Define a location and give it a description no longer than 2 sentences
  2. Introduce the reader to 2 characters.
  3. Put the characters into a situation with some sort of conflict.
  4. Write your heart out and see what happens.

Homework Due 12/2/16: Think about all of the people in your life and the resources you have at your disposal. Who would you want to make a documentary movie about and how would you want to portray them? Come to class prepared to talk about this film idea. You are not going to be required to make a movie about this person. The goal is to think about the people who you surrounded yourself with and the way you perceive them.

Homework Due 11/17/16: Find a movie that you’ve seen before that follows one central character. Watch the first five minutes of the film then jump ahead to the last five minutes of the film. Compare and contrast between these two version of the character and take notes about how the character has changed. These changes can occur in the way the character talks, looks, the scenery around the character, etc.

Homework Due 11/15/16:

  1. Read the script For A Few Days More, as handed out in class.
  2. Write a character description for yourself that is NO MORE than 3 sentences.

Homework Due 10/6/16: Unknown Interview and Project Pre-Production

  • Approach someone that you have never met before and talk to them. Your goal is to have a 2 minute conversation with them. After the interview write down some notes and observations from your experience. It is perfectly acceptable to struggle/fail with this assignment. Talking to new people can be difficult. Give it your best shot and prepare to talk about your experience in class.
  • Meet with your partner outside of class time and identify 3 subjects that you may want to make a short documentary about. Bring the names to class and we will solidified your subjects.

Homework Due 10/4/16: Interview Viewing

  • Watch 2 different interviews on the internet, each of which is at least 5 minutes long. The interviews should be one interviewer talking to one subject. You NEED to be able to hear the interviewer’s questions. Once you have watched the videos email the links to me at

Homework Due 9/27/16: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Selfie Edition

  • It is time to explain yourself via mis-en-cine. Set up a picture of yourself where the environment, color scheme, angle, focus, etc. expresses who you are.
  • Additonally: Please go online and watch an interview with someone you are interested. The interview should be at least 5 minutes in length. I suggest Charlie Rose if you are trying to find a good interviewer.

Homework Due 9/21-16: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words – Portrait Edition

  • Find someone that you know very well and create a scene that helps to explain their personality using the principles of Mis-En-Cine. You are to submit 1 picture via email that will then be presented to the class. This must be a picture that you take in the next few days and the person you describe must be within the picture (the audience must be able to see them). The picture must be short landscape style. This is a difficult assignment that requires a lot of thought. Take your time with it and make sure to think through your process.

Homework Due 9/15/16: A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words: Take 1 photograph that has multiple layers of depth to it (characterization, framing, color palette, structure, etc.) and bring it to class. We will review everyone’s picture, draw conclusions about it, and determine how much we can learn from a single image. Take your time with this assignment and do not rush it. Quality is what we are striving for.

Homework Due 9/9/16: Come to class prepared with your notebook, folder, writing utensil, open mind, and a story that someone told you.

————— 2015-2016

Homework Due 5/10/16:

  1. Read the Stranger Than Fiction packet. Annotate the reading and mark moments that stand out to you.
  2. Write a character description of yourself to be used in a film script. Remember to focus on essence and association rather than visuals. Your description should be 3 sentences or less and should focus on a very specific aspect of self that you want the reader to understand.

Watch La Jetee:

Homework Due 1/28/16: Take one picture that meets the following criteria:

  1. Image appears as though it could be a frame from a motion picture. This means that the picture is shot landscape (not portrait) and is well framed.
  2. The image should represent an environment that you would reside in. The term “you” is open to interpretation (The you we see regularly, the you that you withhold from the world, the fictional you in a movie, etc.).
  3. The photo can not have any digital manipulation. This includes changing the image from color to black and white. Do not change ANYTHING.

————— 2014-2015

Homework Due 3/18/15: Complete another 2 page script that meets the criteria from the first script project. Also, brainstorm a group writing assignment to be turned into our first film.

Homework Due 3/16/15: Complete all edits to initial script

Homework Due 3/10/15: Write a two page script that follows this criteria:

  • Only two characters interacting with one another. Please¬† write a character description for both
  • Put the main focus on dialogue. Use dialogue to further define characters.
  • This particular scene should take place in the middle of a larger narrative. Come to class with an idea as to what happens prior to this scene and what happens afterward. Think “But” and “Therefore.”
  • Script should be a minimum of 2 pages

Please write script ASAP so that you can review and edit it again before class starts. It is important for you to distance yourself from your work to view it more objectively.

Homework Due 3/5/15: Read entirety of your chosen screenplay (must be a minimum of 100 pages). While reading see if you can notice a change between acts 1, 2, and 3. Prepare to present observations you have from your reading.

Homework Due 2/27/15: Read the first 30 pages of your chosen screenplay (Screenplay must be a minimum of 100 pages). Prepare to discuss it in class.

ATTENTION SCRIPTWRITERS: Here are direct links to download Celtx and Trelby. All files are hosted by google drive and are safe to download.

Homework Due 2/12/15:

  • Download a script writing software on your person computer. Trelby (PC) and Celtx (PC and Mac)¬†come highly suggested. If you have any trouble with the install please let me know.
  • Write a properly formatted 2-4 page script that takes place in one setting, establishes two characters, and lays the ground work for more interactions/discussions/scenes.

Homework Due 1/29/15: Complete the following by the beginning of class

  • Write a character description of yourself, focusing on the essence of your character. Your description should be no more than 3 sentences.
  • Walk the first 10 minutes of a film you enjoy and pay attention to the main character. Flip forward and watch just the last 10 minutes of the film. Write down, in bullet form, a list of how the character changes from the beginning of the film to the end (language, posture, facial expressions, lighting, editing, etc.).

Homework Due 1/23/15: Come to class prepared with your notebook and folder.




Please ignore the information below for the time being. Thank you.


Homework Due 5/29/14:
Turn in all pictures that you shot on your phones for the music video
Bring food money for pizza and ice cream ($10)

Homework Due 5/22/14: Finish your portion of the lyrics for your rap song. Come in with fresh vocal chords ready to rap next class.

Homework Due 5/12/14: Review your scriptwriting formatting script.
Write a 2 page script that consists of at least 2 characters. Focus on strong dialogue. This does not have to be a self encompassed story but it should give the idea that there is a conflict that could occur by page 8.
After you finish the script write a paragraph back story about two of your characters. Tell us how these people transitioned over time and explain why they have such a strong personality.
Check out Trelby. It is a free, multi-platform, script writing program.

Homework Due 5/8/14: Read and annotate the For A Few Days More script writing script. Develop a legend and highlight sections that talk specifically about script formatting.

Homework Due 3/3/14: Do the following –
1) Delete pictures that do not appear to be of the quality that we will require for the moving up documentary.
2) Begin to tell teachers and students about the film project and come prepared with a list of people you would be interested in including in the project.
3) Bring the USB cable for your camera/phone with you to class in order to transport your pictures.

Homework Due 2/12/14: As we start to delegate responsibilities for our first film project it is important to know everyone’s strengths and weaknesses. In your notebooks, write down 5 strengths and 5 weaknesses. Make sure that each strength and weakness pertains to a role in the filmmaking process. For example, it would be important to know that you struggle with interviews but have an excellent ability to shoot still photographs.

Homework Due 2/10/14: Interview a stranger, take 2. Try to maintain conversation with someone you do not know for ten minutes. Try to focus on a specific topic of the INTERVIEWEES seems interested in. You receive bonus points if you manage to talk about your topic. Keep in mind, the goal is duration and depth in conversation. Holding conversation is hard but if you find the right topic the person you interview will give you a lot of information.

Ars Magna documentary watched in class:
Errol Morris First Person – In The Kingdom…:

Homework Due 2/6/14: It’s time to put your interview skills to the test. Using open-ended questions, talk to someone you DO NOT KNOW about the topic you chose at the end of class. You should attempt to discuss the topic for roughly three minutes. Write down a description of your conversation, what worked, and what did not work in your notebook and prepare to discuss your experience in class.

Homework Due 2/4/14: Find someone who you are familiar with but do not know very well. Attempt to hold a conversation with this person that lasts about 10 minutes. Afterward quickly make your way to your notebook and write down the following information (do not take notes during the conversation):

1) What specific questions did you ask to continue with your conversations?
2) What type of information did this person tell you? Give specific examples.
3) How do you feel about the conversation? Explain what went well and what you could improve upon in future interviews.

Homework Due 1/31/14: As per the lecture about open-ended questions and painting a portrait using the documentary medium, choose one teacher at MPH and write 5 questions that you could ask him/her to obtain “portrait worthy” information. Remember that the goal is to ask questions that will teach you about the person, not the job the person does.
Videos watched in class:
Charlie Rose – George Saunders:
GMA – George Saunders:
Charlie Rose – J.K. Rowling: