Service Learning Video Production
Prerequisites: TFM110, TFM 121, TFM 122, TFM 123
INSTRUCTOR: MARK FREEMAN
Office: Comm 171 C
Office Hours: Phone: 619 594-5497
This service learning video production workshop emphasizes nonfiction field production.
The workshop combines theory, history and practice. Hands-on demonstrations,
screenings, readings, lectures and discussion prepare students to develop a community
based nonfiction video production. Students gain production experience working
individually and in groups. Classes include an emphasis on research, pre-planning and
writing skills as integral components of video production.
Students will demonstrate the ability to research, develop and produce a community
based video for a non-profit client.
Students will be graded according to the originality of their approach to the medium,
technical competence in using the equipment, as well as over-all understanding and
progress demonstrated in assignments, projects, tests and discussions. Completion of the
final project to the client’s satisfaction is essential.
Grading Final grades will include A-F with +/-
Student work will be evaluated on several criteria:
- Degree of Difficulty. How ambitious, imaginative and challenging is the production?
Is it Intriguing? Compelling? or Predictable?
- Organization. How well-organized and efficient is the production team? Is there
evidence of thorough pre-production and planning?
- Technical Competence. Is the production well-executed. Are the video and audio
elements well integrated? To what degree does technique heighten or diminish the
overall impact of the program?
- Audience reception. How was the program received by the community partner? Did it
have its intended effect on viewers.
- Degree of Difficulty. How ambitious, imaginative and challenging is the production?
DUE DATES FOR ALL FILM PROJECTS ARE FINAL. LATE PROJECTS RECEIVE REDUCED CREDIT.
Attendance and Participation 10%
Crewing on Projects 1 and 2
Projects 1 and 2 30%
3rd assignment Documentary Analysis 10%
Final Project 35%
Directing the documentary by Michael Rabiger. Amsterdam ; Boston : Focal Press, 2004
4th ed. (MR)
Recommended Texts (On Reserve)
Final Cut Pro HD for Macintosh by Lisa Brenneis. Berkeley, Calif. : Peachpit, 2004.
Writing, Directing, and Producing Documentary Films and Videos by Alan Rosenthal.
Carbondale : Southern Illinois University Press, 2002, 3rd ed.
Documentary : A History of the Non-fiction Film by Erik Barnouw. New York : Oxford
University Press, 1993 2nd rev. ed.
Students will work in teams of three. This course requires students to participate in field trips, research or studies that include course work that will be performed off-campus. Participation in such activities may result in accidents or personal injuries. Students participating in the event are aware of these risks, and agree to hold harmless San Diego State University, the State of California, the Trustees of the California State University and Colleges and its officers, employees and agents against all claims, demands suits, judgments, expenses and costs of any kind on account of their participation in the activities. Students using their own vehicles to transport other students to such activities should have current automobile insurance.
WHAT IS DOCUMENTARY
MR Part 1 Introduction, History and Future
RESEARCH, WRITING and PREPRODUCTION
MR Part 4 Preproduction
Contract Due Week #3
Oral & Written Reports on Preproduction Interviews Due Week #3
OVERVIEW/REVIEW OF BASIC FIELD PRODUCTION TECHNIQUES
MR: Part 5 Production
Treatment and/or Draft Script Due Week #4
INTERVIEWS IN THE FIELD
Directing and interviewing techniques
MR: Part 3 Screencraft
Review Part 5 Chapter 14 Interviewing
In class Production Exercise
Budget and Shooting Schedule Due Week #5
VOICE, ETHICS and AESTHETICS
MR Part 2 Identity and Authorship
Part 7 Aesthetics and Authorship
Review for Midterm
Bring Reflection Journals to Class
DIRECT CINEMA and CINEMA VERITE
MR: Part 6 Post Production
COMMUNITY BASED DOCUMENTARIES
Week 10 NO CLASS. ENLOY THE BREAK
Shooting Log Due Week #10
DISTRIBUTION—Getting Your Work Screened
Transcripts Due Week #13
FINAL PROJECTS WORK-IN-PROGRESS SCREENINGS
Final Narration Due Week #14
Rough Cut Final Projects
Sign up for individual meetings with instructor.
INDIVIDUAL MEETINGS WITH INSTRUCTOR REGARDING FINAL PROJECT
April 28, 2004
FINAL PROJECTS DUE with all Notebooks, Reports and Reflection Journal.
This includes Client Approval and Delivery of all Dubs.
Service Learning and Reflection Journals
This course offers students an opportunity to develop their skills while making a
valuable contribution to community-based organizations. The benefits to students
include practice in:
Self-reflection and critical analysis are an important component of the learning process.
Students will maintain a weekly journal. The journal is intended to provide a structured
opportunity to thoughtful consider both the process of production and the nature of the
work performed by and for the community partner (client).
Please be as specific as possible, providing examples in your discussion of the questions
Each weekly journal entry should include:
Summary of tasks performed relevant to the final project.
Reflection about the work. Problems? Solutions? Accomplishments? Plans?
What are your thoughts and feeling about the process of creation/production?
Consideration of the role of your collaborators — clients, volunteers, staff and
fellow production group members.
During the course of the semester you should also address the following questions:
- What have you learned about the work that your non-profit does?
- Why do people volunteer there?
- How well-managed is it?
- How well did the organization relate to you?
- How would you describe your relationship with individuals in the organization?
- How effective was your interpersonal communication. How could it be improved?
- Did your work raises any ethical issues?
- Are there any potential conflicts between your multiple responsibilities — To the
subjects? To the larger community (the audience)? To yourself (in terms of artistic
- Is this an organization or issue which you will continue to be concerned about beyond
the work you have done in class? Why? or Why not?
Finally be sure that you append a summary to your journal:
Provide a confidential evaluation detailing each individuals contribution to the
projects, as well as the difficulties, solutions and accomplishments relevant to the
production. Also include any suggestions for improving the course.
The class is designed to provide multiple opportunities for hands-on documentary style
Projects 1 and 2
Each student will be assigned 2 short production projects from the 16 possible described
in chapter 18 of the text (18-1 through 18-16). Be sure to refer to the appropriate editing
guidelines. (For example project 18-7 corresponds to editing project 25-2.) We will
use the criteria listed for each exercise as a guide to evaluating the work.
Students will work in groups of three for assignments 1 and 2. Each group will produce
six pieces. That is each group member will have primary responsibility for producing,
directing and editing two of their own pieces with the assistance of the other
members of the group. One measure of satisfactory “class participation” is the degree of
cooperation each group evidences in the crewing of these production. Crew work should
be reflected in the on-screen credits and in the reflection logs.
Students may, with permission of the instructor, produce a short 3-5 minute documentary
on a topic of their choice. Completion of this project may substitute for Project 1 or for
both Projects 1 and 2. Confirm with the instructor.
Each student will prepare a written 2 to 4 page analysis of a documentary. Be prepared
to present your work orally to the class. Include selected excerpt(s) from the program
illustrating your contentions. Please cue or dub your screening tape before your
presentation. DVD’s are better. Be prepared to discuss:
Style and Approach
Although you are encouraged to seek out extraordinary films, you may consider work from MTV, HBO, PBS, Discovery, the History Channel and your local video rental store. Documentaries may also be viewed and checked out at the Media Center. I would suggest that you consider one of the recommended examples in the text that corresponds with the project you have selected for your assignment 1 or 2. Some additional suggestions are attached.
Students will work in groups of three to create a five to ten minute community based nonfiction video production. Each group will be assigned to produce a project requested by a nonprofit community organization. (Music must not be “borrowed or stolen.” Only legally cleared music may be used.) Additional information and contacts will be distributed in class.
For the final project each production group is required to submit a typed contract, signed
by each member of the group, specifying who is to pay how much money, how it is to be
paid and by when. The contract should be clear and should also anticipate the possibility
of a budget over-run.
With their final project each team will submit a clearly organized notebook which
Contract Due Class #3
Oral & Written Reports on Preproduction Interviews Due Class #3
Treatment and/or Draft Script Due Class #4
SDSU Waiver and Release Forms
SDSU Film Shoot Evidence of Coverage
*Budget and Shooting Schedule Due Class #5
Shooting Log Due Class #11
Transcripts Due Class #13
Final Narration Due Class #14
Client Approval Due Class #15
*Please save your receipts. If funds are available to partially offset the costs of the final
production receipts will be required.
Each crew member will include in the notebook a sealed envelope containing a
confidential production report detailing the work of each member of the crew, as well as
an evaluation of the production–its pluses and minuses. What did you learn? What was
the best/worst experience? What would you do differently if you could? Advice for
students who will take this class next semester? Suggestions for the prof?
This documentation is essential and makes a significant contribution to the final grade.
Students will prepare the following:
- CD back-up of the timeline for final project.
- Mini DV Masters — for each member of the production team
- Mini DV Master for the Client
- DVD for the Client
- Original DV Cam tapes and duplicate logs and transcripts, which should be clearly
labeled and deposited with the client.
- Students will complete a Mini DV and a DVD for the instructor, which will include each and every final project. This is a course requirement.
- Credits will include acknowledgement of all production work and donated equipment
and services. In addition please include the following:
Executive Producer Mark Freeman
Community Producer Your Primary Contact with your Community Partner
SDSU TFM standard credit line “A Production of the School of Theatre, Television
and Film SDSU (year)
Copyright year and name of your Community Partner
Remember to turn in your journals too.
TFM 341 Suggestions of Documentaries for Analysis
Available in the Media Center at the Library
El otro lado [videorecording] = The other side VTC-19
Harlan County U.S.A. [videorecording] / a Cabin Creek Film pMedia Center; VTC-308
Paris is Burning [videorecording] / Prestige ; Off White ProMedia Center; VTC-1256
The Farmer’s Wife [videorecording] / a co-production of DaviMedia Center; VTC-567
The War Room [videorecording] / Pennebaker Associates, Inc.Media Center; VTC-1228
The Wonderful Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl [videorecordMedia Center; VTC-302
These films can be sent by closed circuit from ITS and viewed in the Media Center
Best Boy (17805,LD)
Bushmen of the Kalahari (15794,VH)
Hearts and Minds (17807,VH)
Hotel Terminus: The Life and Times of Klaus Barbie (17851)
Land Without Bread
Let There Be Light (12532,VU)
Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter, (16782,VH) 1980
Nanook of the North (22623) and Nanook Revisited (22598)
Night and Fog (14750,VH) 1955