July 19, 2007

Marco Torres @ BLC: Products of passion

Marco_torres Marco teaches in a school with 5000 students, with 40% staff turnover in two years in San Fernando, and captures his students' minds with multimedia to get them thinking about storytelling, telling their stories, the stories that are important to them, and studying the science of decision-making. Their films are incredible.

A two year old does not say that they are using the Mac to Skype, in order to speak to someone on the other side of the world. A two year old says that they are speaking to grandma. The iPhone is not a phone to a two year old. The iPhone is YouTube.

The language of film and film-making is used to make writing and speaking make sense. They talk about the

  • Product:
    • What do you want to communicate?
    • Who do you want to target?
    • Does the audience affect the product?
  • Movie trailers:
    • Telling a story without telling a story
    • Looking at how many cuts there are in a film: action films have several cuts a second, romantic movies far fewer, the cuts affect the pace of the learning.
    • Scene setting: watching a 3o second clip what information can we deduce? Where is the action? What time of day? What are the characters doing there? Which ones live there and which ones come from outside? What do they do for a living? What are they doing there? All these things are not just for analysing - they're for using in your own film when you produce it. They are the visual clues that reveal everything and more, without the need for words.
  • Literal vs Figurative
    • How do you show themes without being literal? (this links in so much to the talk I was giving on the implicit and explicit of explaining social media's impact to colleagues. It's as much about what you don't say as it is about what you include).
  • Product vs Process
    • Separate the process from the product - what camera angles and cuts would work? What kind of setting, weather, feel is it in the scene (windy? sunny? sounds? hot? cold?), who is in it, what do they look like how are the holding their stature? Doing this talking through, talking about the process, allows us not to use words in the product itself, like this, a film about separation:

Ideas for products
The best ideas are the ones that involve the lives of the kids: me, my family, my life, my world. Keeping the idea simple, local and personal is the best. CNN can do a better job of a story on global warming with their army of vans, cameras and reporters. But Marco's kids were able to do a better job of producing movies that are based around the issues local to them: immigration and how it affects their lives, for example. Every year his students produce films about local issues; just take a look at the variety of stories from only the past year's students.

Where these kids are recording the conference they are, of course, not recording seminars or interviewing per se. They are telling stories, much like they have done in previous personal storytelling films. And, of course, at conferences it is the social element of the conference that people will remember and treasure. It's a way, as Marco says, of building a community with no name. Just by capturing and sharing these personal stories you create that community.

Top tips
If you want Marco's top tips for shooting good films and getting good audio head over to his FlickSchool project podcast - well worth the listen.



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Enjoyed reading this and other posts from BLC, Ewan. Some very good points made by Marco. Keep it up.

That's great. I admire him and your posts!

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About Ewan

Ewan McIntosh is the founder of NoTosh, the no-nonsense company that makes accessible the creative process required to innovate: to find meaningful problems and solve them.

Ewan wrote How To Come Up With Great Ideas and Actually Make Them Happen, a manual that does what is says for education leaders, innovators and people who want to be both.

What does Ewan do?

Module Masterclass

School leaders and innovators struggle to make the most of educators' and students' potential. My team at NoTosh cut the time and cost of making significant change in physical spaces, digital and curricular innovation programmes. We work long term to help make that change last, even as educators come and go.

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