Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Teaching Again

Today, for the first time since May, I get to teach. Eight incoming Flashpoint students have agreed to be my guinea pigs for the next four afternoons and they will be coming to the set and I will be breaking down, then building up this film I described in yesterday's post.

I often joke that I make it up as I go along as a teacher, that I have no plan and I just go with the flow. It might even appear that way, but my approach is to try to be so prepared that I can deviate- ad lib if you will- from the plan to explore other options. I think of it as a trial lawyer asking questions in court. The lawyer asks the witness question, knowing the answer. You never ask something - to a witness or a student- if you don't know how they will respond. The only way to do that is to be prepared.

The plan for the students is this. Today will be orientation. I will have them read the script and see the storyboards. Introduce them to the crew and give them an overview of the crew positions. Then we will go deeper. I will show them the script with the director's marginalia, call sheets and more and more detail. We will watch a few scenes being shot and then have time with the crew to do some direct q & a. At some point (since we have to be dead silent when they are rolling) I will have them shadow specific crew members and report back to me as to what they think they do. By the end of the week, in theory, they will have a better understanding of all the small details that go into making a film.

Just a side note to finish. When I walked on the set yesterday, I was surprised to see about 1/3 of the crew are former students of mine. That made me feel good, even better when they were quick to tease me about "teaching" (air quotes here) these incoming students. Karl, the sound man, was my teaching assistant for two semesters and was quick to joke that he (as he did as my t.a.) could teach them more than me. I take it as a good sign that so many of these students are working professionals and were happy to see me after as much as five or six years.


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