Instructor’s Corner: The Progression of Voice

By: Nikki Larance

I’ve been instructing for the past 5 weeks or so and one thing I really love about instructing is the opportunity to see the students’ progress over time. Most of my students didn’t really know anything about film or video production before going into the class, so we began at a very basic level. We’ve been learning a lot of basic video skills but one thing in particular we’ve been working on with the students is cultivating their voice through video, which simply means allowing them to share their own creative ideas and viewpoints of the world they live in. This is where I’ve seen the students grow the most. In the beginning, I would ask the students to give me shot ideas for various subjects (whatever the task was that week). They would give me very vague or general ideas, for example: I asked for visual images of what safety means to them. I received answers like “someone helping someone else” or “someone feeling safe.” I had to dig deep and ask a lot of questions before I would receive the actual visual image that they were picturing in their heads. Throughout these past few weeks we’ve learned about different shot compositions, angles, camera movements, lighting, etc. that have given them tools to express the ideas in their heads. This has been an amazing process to watch because I know that all of these kids have ideas but they just didn’t have a way to get them out or know the process to accomplish them. This week I asked my elementary kids to come up with three consecutive shot ideas to document a certain place that we were studying. I sat down with each of them and discussed their ideas. No matter what their skill level was or whether they knew correct film terminology, each of them knew exactly what they wanted and most of them were giving me very specific instructions as to framing and shot compositions. This is an amazing transformation from the super vague ideas they were giving me before. I’ve enjoyed the ability to witness each of my students take ownership of just the basic video production skills they’ve learned and apply them to the creative ideas in their heads. Each of them are beginning to think visually and to really cultivate their own unique voices. I’m excited to see where this leads us throughout the rest of the semester.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.