Course Information



“The secret to film is that it’s an illusion.”
- George Lucas

This course is intended for students who demonstrated a strong understanding of the fundamentals discussed in Film Making 1-2 and 3-4.  This is a very selective class with a limited number of seats.  Students allowed into the class are expected to demonstrate a desire to explore advanced levels of film making, and strive to constantly expand their creative experience.

This is a project-based learning course, meaning there will be very little lecture.  During first semester, you will complete a series of projects focused around different time periods, genres, and techniques of film in order to gain a better grasp of how to present different ideas/moods in film. The time given in class is time for you to be trying new techniques, planning projects, researching, filming, or editing.  I will offer assistance with any part of the process you may be struggling with, but keep in mind (as surprising as this may be) I don’t know everything! Because this class is organized in such a freeform structure, you absolutely must motivate yourself to complete all the necessary projects. In short, this class does not work if you don’t.

1.    RESPECT - My first and foremost rule is that you will respect each other, you will respect me, and I will respect all of you. That means you are positively supporting each other in this environment.  You are welcome to your opinions, but they should be presented in a constructive manner.
2.    NO FOOD OR DRINK – I don’t care if it’s in a bottle, a can, a bag, or a backpack, don’t bring it out in this class.  The equipment in this room is too nice to have crumbs, spills, or cheesy fingerprints on. There is a sink in the bathroom if you need to wash your hands, and there is a ledge outside the door if you have an open beverage you need to set aside. If you choose to ignore this rule, expect to have your food or drink thrown out.
3.    USE OF CLASS TIME – Believe it or not, we did not put together a state-of-the-art editing facility so that you could browse the internet for hobbies, play games, or chat on bulletin boards.  Although there are only six projects required for a passing grade, the potential for the semester is unlimited. I expect to see you using your time in the lab to work on your films, or for you to make your spot in the class available to someone who will.
4.    FILMING  - Filming can be conducted outside of the normal school day or during class time if it does not interfere with any of the normal functions of the school day. You cannot disrupt other classes, and you cannot pull people out of class to be in your films. (So don’t even ask.) Projects may be filmed using school cameras, or using your own camera. (make sure the date/time function is turned off if you use a home camcorder) VERY IMPORTANT: If you bring a camcorder to school with you to film, it must be checked in with me, and remain with me until an appropriate time for filming. I will give you a temporary filming permit to carry with you. You cannot carry a camcorder with you or have one in your locker during the school day. If you do, it can be confiscated, and additional disciplinary action may be taken.
Over the course of this year, you will have several guided projects during the first semester, and some self-driven projects second semester. Try new things! If you see something on TV, in a film, or read about something that inspires or intrigues you, give it a shot! For 2nd Semester, at least one project must be completed before midterm grades are due.

* At least one project each semester must contain completely original material so that it may be submitted to film festivals/competitions. Submitted projects will be held to the highest standards, and may require some touchups or modifications before being submitted.

What counts as a project?

  • Ideally a finished project should be at least 2 min in length (shorter more advanced projects, such as animation, will be addressed on a case by case basis.)
  • Your project may involve live-action film, animation (CGI or hand-drawn), or a blending of the two (rotoscoping). The green screen should also be available.
  • Your project must tell a complete story. Even if that story is part of a larger whole, it should have a complete, self-contained arc.
  • Projects may include spoken dialogue, or may be silent or set only to music.
  • Subject matter must be school appropriate. No drugs, alcohol, substance abuse, sex, excessive violence, gore, or otherwise questionable content. If you are unsure if something is appropriate – ask!
  • Projects completed with a partner will count as half a project for each student.
  • Advance preparation is a must. These projects should not be shot last-second. All the appropriate paperwork must be completed, approved, and handed in with your finished project. Projects must be approved before you begin shooting.

What paperwork is required for each project?

  1. DIRECTOR’S CONCEPT – a paragraph write-up, approx. 1-2 pages outlining the thought process behind your film. Why did you choose this topic? What did you hope to accomplish by telling it?  You may also talk about the process of filming/editing the film. What did you learn in the process? What was challenging? What can you improve for the next project?
  2. TREATMENT – bullet-point, step-by-step outline of your story
  3. STORYBOARD – visual layout and written explanation of each shot you will use to tell your story
  4. SHOT LIST – check list for all the shots needed in your film, sorted by location
  5. SCRIPT – a typed copy of the dialogue that will be used in your film, including any relevant acting directions

*** All paperwork must be submitted before you begin filming.

You will select one of your completed projects to be evaluated as a measure of your growth as a filmmaker each semester. This project should demonstrate an understanding of techniques and equipment utilized in the production process, as well as pre/post production.

Everyone must serve as a camera operator for at least one event or production during the course of the year. This includes theatre productions, instrumental or vocal concerts, and additional events as they arise.



This class addresses the Nebraska K-12 Fine Arts Standards for Media Arts.

Create FA 12.1.1 - Students will analyze and synthesize processes, techniques, and applications in media arts through the creation of media arts.
FA 12.1.1.a Engage in pre-production processes to prepare content and systems for production in media arts (e.g., scripting, storyboarding, choreographing).

FA 12.1.1.b Apply media arts vocabulary along with elements and principles of design in the creative process.  
FA 12.1.1.c Develop strategies, processes, and plans for creating work in media arts that reflect understanding of multiple resources and media.

FA 12.1.1.d Demonstrate understanding of, and respect for, the accepted procedures regarding the responsible care of media arts equipment and materials.

Present FA 12.1.2 - Students will communicate an idea/message by presenting their work in media arts.

FA 12.1.2.a Research, organize, and integrate media arts content, processes, and aesthetic elements to convey meaning in media arts.

FA 12.1.2.b Refine and enhance expression through media arts, ideas, and skills over time while gathering and responding to critical feedback. 
FA 12.1.2.c Analyze and evaluate the effectiveness of message perception to diverse audiences (e.g., age, gender, ethnicity).

FA 12.1.2.d Construct, distribute, and manage works in media arts through a variety of contexts (e.g., live audiences, digital display, web). 

Respond FA 12.1.3 - Students will analyze, interpret, and evaluate work produced in media arts.
FA 12.1.3.a Analyze and describe various forms, methods, styles, and qualities in media arts to reflect experience and create intention. 
FA 12.1.3.b Evaluate and interpret multiple perspectives, key components, and relationships in media arts (e.g., intention, form, context). 

FA 12.1.3.c Engage in self-directed and teacher- directed critiques of media arts.  

Connect - FA 12.1.4 - Students will analyze and integrate personal and global connections through media arts.
FA 12.1.4.a Use historical, cultural, aesthetic, and critical frameworks to examine the capacity of media arts to reflect, affect, and catalyze personal reflection, action, or social change.

FA 12.1.4.b Apply the concepts of digital citizenship in media arts (e.g., copyright, plagiarism, citations, liability, validating resources). 

FA 12.1.4.c Incorporate and analyze personal or collective experiences, perspectives, and ideas of others in media arts.  FA 12.1.4.d Evaluate the necessary training and lifelong learning skills for careers in media arts. 


A = 3.51 – 4.00
A-= 3.01 – 3.50
B = 2.51 – 3.00
B-= 2.01 – 2.50
C = 1.51 – 2.00
D = 0.76 - 1.50
F = 0.00 – 0.75

If you need to get ahold of me with a question regarding a project, you may reach me via school e-mail. Please do not abuse this privilege. I check my e-mail at least once a day. My e-mail is: david.weisser (