Wednesday, 05 November 2014 03:53

Student Filmmaking Projects

Written by Rik Leaf

I teach a variety of workshops in schools. For a recent multi media video project, I asked two classes with 25 kids in each, to tell the story of their school through visual storytelling.

They brainstormed and came up with different elements that make up the life of their school. The mascot, band, breakfast program, recycling, etc.


They spent two days creating storyboards and shot lists for a lip dub video. Then they matched their individual skill sets, gifts and interests with the skills required to complete the project. They decided who would be actors, directors, camera operators, etc.


We had one 45 minute class each day over the week to produce these video. On the Friday afternoon at the end of the week, the school organized an assembly for all the students, and we had an official screening of the films the students made. This allowed the other students to see themselves on the screen, and for the whole school to celebrate their creativity.

Movie Trailers

I spent the following week in a middle school working with 4 different classes ranging from grade 7-9. I divided each class of 30 students into 5 separate film crews. Each group had to decide what type of film trailer they wanted to make. (horror, comedy, adventure, etc)

After deciding on the type of story, they worked out a storyboard and shot list. Then it was their turn to match their individual skill set with the skills needed to complete the project. One person may like to be in front of the camera, but the next person would hate it. But that person might like to operate the camera. Together they figured out who would write the script, who would direct and edit.

We didn't have a lot of time. We spent the first two 45 minute classes (Mon & Tue) in pre production, getting the story, the script and shot list, and the following two days, (Wed & Thur) filming and editing. On Thursday night, we had a free community concert that featured the 8 trailers and a collection of slam poets I had also worked with through the week.

Abandoned - Trailer

These projects develop media literacy and the fundamentals of storytelling and composition. They require students to identify their unique talents and abilities and then match those to the project. They learn to recognize how their strengths and weaknesses provide opportunities to work with others who are skilled differently.

One of the main strengths of this project is that we create an environment where every student can play to their strengths so that the entire group can have a 'win'. It's great for team building and setting a tone for creative exploration and development. I offer this workshop to teachers and adults in other professional settings as well.


Contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 250 896 2572 to book a residency in your school or community.

Rik Leaf

Rik Leaf

Creative Director, 2005 - Present -  Recording Artist/Producer/Slam Poet, Published Author. Rik has released numerous CDs, worked in TV/Film tours internationally as a solo artist and with Tribe of One. Through his artistic activism he has worked with the UN and the Department of Foreign Affairs.



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