Creative PSA’s: Filmmaker in a Classroom (San Francisco Film Society)

The  San Francisco Film Society’s Filmmakers in the Classroom program was launched in the fall of 2010 as a pilot program designed to provide students and their teachers with intensive, hands-on instruction in film literacy, critical thinking, screenwriting and filmmaking

Bay Area classes are matched with local professional filmmakers for a series of classroom sessions over the course of the semester, culminating in the production of a collaborative short film project. To my delight,  I was asked to participate in this program and paired up with Connie Hendrix’s media arts class at Francisco Middle School.

One Shot Portrait

Creative PSA (Select Examples)

Making Your Values Matter

Smoking Nails

Curious to learn more? Here are some workshop Behind the Scenes Details…

For this workshop, I developed a curriculum that spanned over 8 classes (80 minutes/class). The goal was to introduce the students to media literacy and as well as hands on filmmaking experience.  I chose to start with media viewing as a way of creating a common film language and also to inspire ideas for the student’s film projects. The first video project, the One Shot Portrait was intended to get students thinking about the various elements of visual storytelling (camera angles, movements etc) as well as creative script writing, so they can get a sense of the choices one makes when creating a film. The portrait was also intended to be a creative form of self expression. Although the portraits are individual, students work in groups in the production stage so they can get experience working collaboratively. The final project was a Creative 1-minute PSA, again a group project. Building on the study of filmmaking started on the media viewing day and with one shot portrait, the form of the PSA is appealing because it encourages students to explore how to tell a clear story and message in a simple yet creative way. I also wanted to shift from personal storytelling and introduce the idea of community storytelling, as well as chance to apply the SCMAA and story arc tools in action.

A glance of the workshop flow:
Day 1: Introduction, Creating a Common Language: Media Examples, SCMAA and Story Arc
Day 2: Video Project: The One Shot Portrait
Days 3-7: One Minute Creative PSA
Day 8: Screening

I’ve posted this curriculum here with the intent to share this as a public resource. However, all materials are ©Kirthi Nath. You may adopt curriculum WITH PERMISSION ONLY and for non-commercial use only.  Please email me with notes on how you wish to use the lessons. Thanks.

This curriculum is an iteration I developed when teaching at the Bay Area Video Coalition and the Adobe Foundation.  It it tried and true and offers students an empowering experience while creating creative and professional level media they feel proud of. If you use this in your classroom, please send me a note letting me know how it went (and that you adopted it!).  I am also available for hire to develop curriculum and teach media production courses. Budding filmmakers of all ages and levels welcome.


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