Adventures Of The Diamonds Premiere:



Activity before class on 12/14:

Film a short "time lapse" video this week.  The Hanukkah candles burning one night could be a great subject.  


You can do this by setting up your iPad in the tripod, and recording with the camera in "time lapse" mode (as we practiced in class).

Make sure to leave your camera filming for several minutes so that it can really captures some changes. However, you don't need to leave it recording the whole night.  


Some more "time lapse" examples:  

The House of Cards credits is a great example of how "time lapse" is used in movies and TV to show the passage of time.

But please note, this show itself is not for kids! 

A behind-the-scenes "time lapse" showing the making of the film ParaNorman.

A stop motion of a bean plant shot over 25 days. 


Activity before class on 12/9

Create a movie poster for Adventures Of The Diamonds that tells the audience a little bit about the story.  

Some inspiration below!  

Lego Movie Poster.png

Sometimes posters also include a "tagline," (sort of like the longline in movie trailers)

Indiana Jones poster.png

Often poster art centers around the story's protagonist


Activity before class on 12/4

Complete the finishing touches on the logo you drew for Almar Ave. Studios. Please take a photo or scan of the image and upload it to the class site  - if easier, your parents can just email it to me :)


The logo will play at the opening your movie, just like the Disney logo that plays at the opening of Disney films (below).

In class, we talked about the role of music in telling a story and we picked some songs to put into "Adventures Of The Diamonds."


Since you are a musician yourself, I thought it would be great to include original music by you. This week, start working on some short music that will play over your studio logo. It could be a drum solo, a series of keys on the piano, whistling, kazoo, singing etc. Whatever you like! 

If you don't have time to work on music this week, don't worry!! We can also compose something together on this virtual piano during our next class. 

Some inspiration:  


Activity before class on 11/30

Production begins! Start filming part 2 of your  film "Adventures Of The Diamonds" (previously titled "Cousins' Getaway"). 

Please email your​ stop-motion photos to me via iCloud by Sunday, and I'll do a rough edit for class. 

I put your script up in Class Notes. We'll add the voiceover!  

A few things to keep in mind as the director:

1. ​As you build your set, don't forget the background. If you build your set in front of a white wall, the white backdrop can work like a "green screen" and we can add different backgrounds when we edit.


(special thanks to your production designer/ dad!)

2. ​Check the storyboard you made to make sure you get all the shots you want. Shoot the whole scene from a wide-shot, but then get some close-ups, particularly of the Dinosaur and the diamonds.


Storyboard drawing from Jurassic Park. An example, since your story also has a dinosaur! 


Activity before class on 11/23

Brainstorm what happens next in Cousins' Getaway. Do we find out what's inside the box that was loaded onto the plane? If you have time, you can write a short outline here

This week we talked about foreground, background, and green screens/ chroma keying. Make a note if you watch anything this weekend that you think used a green screen, so you can tell me about it in class.  

Cousins' Getaway scene 1. What happens next? 


Activity before class on 11/20:

This week, choose your action figure characters and create the set for your "Cousin's Getaway" story. If you have time, film the figures in their (silent) first scene, upload the footage, and I'll add voice over for our next class! 

A few tips to keep in mind:

- Use your tripod and remote to keep the camera still, while you move the figures.  

- If you want a shot of a character "moving", adjust the figure a teeeeeny tiny bit at a time, taking your hands out of the shot after each move. Keep the camera running the whole time, and we'll edit out the parts that show your hand. 

Remember to set the camera up for different kinds of shots, such as a wide shot to establish the scene, and close-ups on characters' faces. 

- Most important: Have fun! It doesn't have to be perfect! You're learning by doing, and mistakes are a key part of that. 

Screen Shot 2020-11-17 at 10.33.00

Set-up example

from YouTuber Markez Films 

More set-up inspiration 

Here's another example, but your set-up doesn't have to look exactly like this. It's fine to use action figures instead of legos.

This filmmaker is using the "flip book" style of stop motion animation, where he takes a bunch of still photos and strings them together into a moving image. 

We're doing a different method, where you keep the camera recording while you move the figures, and then we edit out the parts that show your hands in the shot.


Activity before class on 11/17:

Great job this week! All the different "cuts" of your footage are in Uploads

Now that we've played around with editing, we're going to start thinking about scenes made up of multiple shots, such as the 3 main types of shots listed below. 

This weekend, watch a movie (or part of a movie) and pay particular attention to how wide shots and close-ups are used by the director. This scene in School Of Rock has examples of both. 

On Tuesday, please bring your iPad to class, along with some action figures or lego figures. Have a great weekend! 

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 7.38.54 AM.png


(also called Long Shot)

Wide shots help establish the setting. The audience gets to see where we are and everyone who is there. Scenes often open with a type of wide shot, sometimes called an "establishing shot". 

Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 7.38.49 AM.png


Medium shots can be great for capturing two or three characters talking to each other. 


Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 7.38.43 AM.png


Close-ups are often used for dramatic effect. We get to really see the emotions on an actor's face or a specific detail in the scene. 

Storyboard drawings by Todd Tevlin


Activity before class on 11/13:

Keep thinking about the story you want to tell. I've uploaded your "Toilet Cop" outline here

This week, film your own version of the "Disappearing Apple" special effects tutorial I made for Monday's class. If you want, it can star Toilet Cop showing off his powers. (You're on a roll!)

Please upload your unedited video here by Thursday afternoon, and I will edit it before we meet. We'll go over the edits together on Friday! 

You'll definitely want to use your tripod for this one. 

Edited Version

Original, Unedited Version

The video you upload will be unedited like this one. 


- The person on camera should stay very still between object changes. 

- Make sure the light stays consistent throughout.


Activity before class on 11/9:

Write a 1-2 sentence movie trailer "log line" for something you watch this weekend. On Monday, I'll try to guess what movie or TV show you watched, based on what you write. 

As a reminder, a "log line" is a very short summary of a movie or TV show that's meant to hook the audience. A log line sets the scene, introduces the main characters, and establishes the story's central conflict. 

For example, the log line for Star Wars could be: A young man joins forces with a Jedi Knight, a cocky pilot, a furry creature, and two robots to save the galaxy, while also attempting to rescue a princess from a mysterious, dark villain.


Click here for an overview of character and plot terms, from our Friday class. 

When in doubt, think of the movie trailer narrator voice:




"When The MCallister Family left on their Christmas vacation, they forgot one small thing: Kevin!...Yesterday he was just a kid, but tonight he's a home security system."

"For anyone who's ever wondered what toys do when people aren't around, Walt Disney Pictures invites you into a world where toys come to life.


Woody: the veteran. Buzz: the rooky.

Two heros, ready for anything, except each other. But that's about to change...


It's the story of two partners, wondering what they're made of. " 

"In a land of eternal beauty and infinite mystery, a legend was born; The story of a warrior, the woman he loves, a daring outlaw, and a princess destined to become a warrior."


Activity before class on 11/6:

Film yourself or someone in your family doing the same scene (saying a line, telling a joke, or just walking into a room), in at least three different ways. 

The "difference" can be in how the line is said, how the person on camera moves, what they are wearing, or even in how the scene is shot. For example, moving the camera vs. the camera staying in one place. 


Please upload your different "takes" (versions of the scene) here

As the director, don't forget to say: