One More Story

November 7, 2008

(Banner by Meaghan Britain)

Okay, now we’re almost at the summit of our attempt to scale Mt. Multimedia. We started with digital imaging, moved on to digital photography, storyboarding with text and stills, then entered the world of audio and motion with our digital stories. Ahead we have the video project which will be our most sophisticated production yet. (And waiting around the corning is building your personal website, which will tap all of your newly acquired skills, knowledge and sensibilities).

So a video project requires that all-important ingredient for production — an idea. More specifically, it requires a story. That’s the non-technical, artistic side of any kind of production work. We have made some progress in this area. In fact, many of you have demonstrated a strong grasp of it with your digital stories (which I’m enjoying). You have one more chance in this class to hit on something solid.

Your blog assignment is to write a 1 – 3 paragraph concept summary of an idea you’re considering shooting for your video project. Be sure to use language to really sell the idea. Follow these instructions:

1) Write your piece so that it’s Third Person POV (no “my,” “I” sentences).

2) Start the piece with a high level, thematic statement (“One thing people all never seem to have enough of is time.” “Human beings are born with an innate fear of darkness.”)

3) Say how this will be a story told, and describe a little bit about the flow of the piece.

4) Give us a couple good details that really help the reader visualize some important scenes in the piece.

As always, contact me if you’re confused or want to try out some ideas. if you’re having trouble getting started, here are some suggestions:

1) Retell a myth, fairy tale, legend (even an urban legend) or joke. All of those things usually have built-in story shape.

2) Think of a story that uses these familiar themes/devices: fish out of water (the struggles of a person who is out of his/her element); the quest or journey; the odd couple (people who see the world differently suddenly thrown together); stranded (people reacting to being stuck somewhere); revenge (someone wronged looking for satisfaction).

3) Remember: You can always do a news-style story, or a non-fiction profile of person, place, event, etc.

Good luck. I look forward to seeing your ideas.



  1. “Put your money where your mouth is.” Partly inspired by the short movie shown in class on Tuesday featuring the man trapped on a vehicle speeding towards fatal destruction, this story will feature a young man who is constantly harassing his roommate and his friends for being skateboarders. He will repeatedly insult them and inform them that he believes them to be childish jokes of human beings, and that skateboarding is for the weak, puny, and pathetic members of society. His roommate and skater friends will plan a “sting.” They await their “friend” outside Octagon cafeteria with a small crowd awaiting him. They will of course being carrying their boards… skating over a small set stairs. They will then challenge the antagonist to attempt to jump the stairs on a board, which should be no problem for him, considering how far beneath him skating is. While this challenge makes the young man observably nervous, he accepts. After asking for a few simple instructions as far as where to place his feet and how to “ollie,” he proceeds towards the staircase. As all the onlookers look on with anticipation of failure and humiliation and revenge, the young man miraculously jumps the stairs with ease, and proceeds to verbally abuse the living daylights out of the aghast skaters.

    This relates to the video shown in class in that it builds to an ending that all the viewers are sure they have predicted, only to result in the exact opposite conclusion, hopefully achieving humorous irony.

  2. Once there was a man who was particularly fond of fairy tales and thought they were the key to finding true love. One day he decided that it was time for him to find a wife, but was unsure of how he could find the girl that was truly deserving and whom he could love for ever and ever.
    After many unsuccessful dates and disappointments, he decided, given his dilemma, to consult his all-time favorite fairy tale: The Princess and the Pea. Henry, our bachelor, being from the LA elite, set up a production and a show (name to be determined) to find his “princess.”
    When the audience (the class) discovers the show it is the finale and the show, like any good dating show, recaps what has happened. The show started with five princesses, and as the recap shows they all had qualities that knocked them off of princess status. The final show shows the girls in their individual bedrooms where multiple mattresses and feather beds have been set up. Henry has already placed a single pea under all the mattresses and the final test is to see how they sleep . The current episode picks up the next morning at breakfast when Henry asks the girls how they slept–one terribly and one wonderfully. Bam! Show title and cliff hanger–who will Henry pick to be his princess???

    Is this OK to do? I would love feedback.

  3. One of the most important lessons you can learn is to laugh at yourself. Kelli Ganz, a sophomore at Elon University, believes in this statement and when times get tough or she’s in a bad mood it’s laughter that can make everything seem better.
    This piece will focus on laughter and on the personal experiences of Kelli Ganz. The interview piece will be of Kelli telling how her experience growing up making other people laugh as a clown with her mother who was a professional clown. This experience has shaped her world view and taught her the importance of learning to laugh at yourself.
    The piece will also include quotes about laughter and a clip from the movie Mary Poppins where the character Uncle Albert sings “I love to laugh”. It will feature photos of Kelli as a clown and a video of her making balloon animals. It will be both a feature story on Kelli and public information piece on the importance of laughter.

  4. All people like to have a little extra money in their pocket. The concept of ‘Going Green’ is all about taking actions that are not only good for the planet, but good for your wallet. This video will be a tutorial of ‘Going Green’ and the simple things someone can do every day to reduce their impact on the environment, and at the same time save money.
    The video will make the attempt at being humorous by making it an old fashioned/retro, ‘dummy proof,’ how-to video. There will be a range of 8-10 steps that will be covered in the video of how to ‘Go Green.’ Examples of these will be scenes showing a character setting the thermostat lower, biking to class instead of driving, filling up glasses from the faucet rather than use water bottles.

  5. “Stressed? Why Wait.” Snickers provides comfort to a very distressed female. The character will be running late at night while out of breathe in the dark; with the effect of being stranded somewhere at first (like in the video we saw) … or maybe even away from something like studying from exams? As the character approaches a more lit area there is a BP gas station and within the four walls she finds her release. She opens it and begins to eat it without even paying; approaches the register and due to the satisfaction pays much more than needed for the bar and slowly walks out as clam as can be.

  6. There is something special about live theater. Movies can’t quite compare to the unique vibe of a theater atmosphere. The audience arrives hoping for some good entertainment, but sometimes they receive more than they originally expected. A thespian is relieved to hear that the performance was entertaining, but this relief is doubled when told that the characters came alive, the story was thrilling, and the audience was sucked into the piece as if it was truly reality.
    Burlington has many theater groups. The Alamance Children’s Theater and Arts Alive provide theater lessons and acting opportunities for children and teenagers. This year, a new theater group has arisen among the local practicing thespians, known as ACT ON Ministry. This organization seeks to minister to audiences of all ages through a theater venue. Anyone with acting experience knows that pulling off a theatrical performance takes a great deal of time. First, there is casting, then blocking, dozens of rehearsals, set making, prop gathering, and of course, choosing the music.
    ACT ON Ministry began rehearsing their rendition of “Life, Death, and Two Strips of Bacon” in October, and plan to perform on November 22nd and 23rd. Though this comedy/drama is only an hour, they are struggling to bring it to life with only two weeks left of rehearsals. Will ACT ON be ready for their performance in two weeks? The video will be a news piece documenting the behind the scenes, revealing the work required for a theater performance, and finally concluding with the success or failure of the small acting group. The video will contain interviews with each of the participating actors and actresses, as well as the director. It will show the difficulties involved, the monotony of rehearsals, the struggle with blocking and commanding roles, and the success of accomplishment.

  7. “Where IS Waldo?”
    Everyone remembers the “Where’s Waldo” books where you had to find the guy in the striped shirt amongst a crowd of people. This movie would be a spoof of both the books and nature shows. Two guys would be out in the woods looking for something they’re not sure they saw when Waldo emerges from the trees imitating bigfoot walking.
    When the guys try to track Waldo, they soon find out that Waldo isn’t as friendly as he seems and is actually hunting them. The guys soon realize they’re doomed but continue to try to protect themselves, but to no avail. The movie ends with the cameraman and the host being eaten by Waldo

  8. “She’s so lucky, she’s a star, but she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart thinking if there’s nothing missing in my life then why do these tears come at night?” This a story based on the Britney Spears song “Lucky” of a Hollywood girl who is constantly pampered and spoiled. Scene opens with this girl backstage getting hair, makeup and wardrobe done in preparation for a spotlight performance. Everyone thinks she’s so lucky because her life seems perfect, like she has everything. However, in reality she is very lonely and wonders what is missing from her life as she cries herself to sleep every night. She decides to go home, back to her roots in North Carolina, to try to find what is missing.

    Switch scenes to the airport where two of her friends from home wait for her to arrive. Both of them realize there is more to life than fame and riches. They realize the thing missing from her life is the Gospel and don’t want her to be unfulfilled anymore. SO they share the Gospel with her and she accepts Christ, filling the void she had been feeling. She continues to live her life in the spotlight, but instead of feeling lonely and unfulfilled by her life, she realizes she has a bigger purpose than all the media attention.

  9. “Is cycling just a sport?” Will James stars in this short film to explain to his audience that cycling, though a sport is also and most importantly, a lifestyle.
    The opening scene starts with the whirring of bike gears in an all black drop. It fades open to an early morning shot of Will getting ready for a cold and blustery ride. It fades out after some dialogue and into dialogue setup in small sentences such as:

    “-It means I ride early in the morning, or late at night. I eat, breathe and sleep cycling. It’s not just a sport, it’s a lifestyle.
    -it means every day i train. Even on rest days. I train up mountains, on the flats, in the wind and it at my back. I train when I rest and when I rest, I am training.”
    Each dash represents new video material and possible dialogue. There will be scenes of will james out on the open road traversing bridges, climbing hills, wide shots of will biking through rural areas of burlington. Then there will be scenes representing ideas that cycling affects what i eat, how much i eat, if i go out and party vs. resting and preparing for the next day’s ride.
    The end scene will repeat the major theme that cycling is a lifestyle not just a sport with a cut scene of will james riding past the camera and down the road towards a setting sun and fading to black. Depending on time constraints on both the length of the film and of hours in the day to shoot, more idea’s may be added or taken away.

  10. Two best friends are hanging out one day when they get into an argument – about who has a more hectic life. Each thinks they deserve a massive pity party because they have full schedules. Friend 1 challenges friend 2 to spend the next day or two doing what friend 1 would normally be doing, and vice versa, that way they can see who really has a tougher life. The two friends try (and sometimes fail) to accomplish things in the others life. At the end of the bet they realize that life isn’t a contest and they should support each other rather than argue.

  11. Every football program needs a band behind it.
    This movie would be a sort of documentary of Elon’s band and them going to App State this Saturday, which will be a sort of first since the band doesn’t really travel. It would begin with the preparations, such as rehearsals and then on Saturday morning. Also would be shots from the bus ride over and than at the game. Some of the shots would be close ups of the drummers, like the sticks hitting the drum heads, and maybe some interviews about band and traveling. An interview with the band director would also be included.

  12. Wouldn’t we all like a second chance? My movie will start out featuring the main characters daily routine as he wakes up and heads to work. However, tragedy strikes and our main character finds him face to face with God.
    Together the two recap his life, and God offers him a chance to redeem himself. From there you see our main character awaken from life-saving surgery with a new outlook on life.
    The idea of the movie is to walk the audience through the characters downfall, and renewal with a few twists along the way. It is designed to be funny, but have an overall message.

  13. Elon students drink less than you think. This is the catch phrase for next week’s Blackout Campaign which will try to convince Elon students that most of the student population who drink, do make smart choices. The campaign includes movie trailers, signs and flyers. In addition, next Wednesday, all students are encouraged to wear black.

    Using this campaign as a model, the video will look at the myth of how crazy Elon student’s drinking habits can be. It will start using still photos and video showing the perceptions of typical Elon students, but then show the statistics and work of the campaign to try to prove otherwise. The format will either be a new-style story or profile piece, but there will be arch in the contrast from people’s perceptions to the truth being presented by the campaign.

  14. We all know him; that one guy who’s always happy. No matter what happens to this guy, he’s going to have a huge smile on his face. This film will follow around this guy. He will b e dumped by his girlfriend, berated by fellow students, injured, humiliated, and even be put out of house and home. However, this character will always keep a large smile on his face. This film will have little script and will mostly be using music and image to tell the story. Some script will be used by characters other than the main character, for he will always just have a huge smile on his face. The story will end as our Mr.Happy goes to write a letter to his girlfriend and the pencil breaks. He will then proceed to let all the anger and frustration that has built up through the entire day out in an onslaught of verbal and physical action. Hilarity will ensue.

  15. The illegal downloading of music (without a subsequent purchase) has become a scourge unto society. Your favorite bands no longer have the support of their label because of the lack of a profit potential. Even worse is the fact that unsigned acts face an even greater challenge due to label’s not having enough money to reinvest in their product.

    This documentary will explore the different ways a person can download music and the damage it does to the industry. It will also do an in-depth profile on one musician and the challenges posed to him by people downloading his music.

    Interviews will be done with people in the industry.

  16. “The Fabulous Life of: An Elon Student” Everyone has seen the VH1 series “The Fabulous Life of…” that profiles the rich and famous and their ridiculous expenditures. The Elon segment will be a spoof of this and put together like the rest of the TV series, profiling the lavish lives of its subjects. Commentary from local commedians on the ridiculousness of such purchases as the $2 million dollar fountain in front of Koury Business Center, the unused traffic circle and security house installed this past summer, and the new sets of flowers that are planted every two weeks. It will highlight other ridiculous aspects of the lives Elon students lead, such as the fancy cars and clothes. THe piece will poke fun at the reputation of “spoiled” Elon students, as seen by the outside world. The episode will be structured like other Fabuous life episodes, with a voiceover describing the lavish lives with still and video shots to serve as visual aid. Interview segments with comedians will occur throughout the piece.

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