Digital Short-Form Storytelling: The Class

AM297: Digital Short-Form Storytelling was a January Term class at Colby College in the Winter of 2013. Twelve students planned, shot, and edited 28 films in 24 days.

The students produced videos for the following assignments:

The Visual Narrative assignment asked the students to tell the story of a place or an event. Real or imagined. Videos included dinnertime at the Foss Dining Hall, three friends’ experience of a tragic accident, and a portrait of the Kennebec Arsenal.

In the Mash-up Assignment students were told to blend clips from news stories, films, and the internet with their own original footage to tell a story connecting Colby to a national or global issue. Topics ranged from the flu to Indian and Pakistani relationships to our obsession with Apple.

In the Documentary Assignment students worked in groups to tell a story about an interesting person. The students explored the lives of Debbie, a cab driver in Waterville; Vernon, a regular customer at Jorgenson’s; the Sign Guy, aka Brian Russo, a Colby Student; and Cito Cruz, who has been welcoming Colby and Thomas College students into his home for the past 30 years.

In addition to producing short-form videos, the students explored current genres of digital video through a month-long Manifesto Assignment. Each student picked a genre of web video. Genres included extreme sports videos, unofficial political ads, and cooking shows. The students defined their genre, researched its history, predicted the future of the form, and finally wrote a manifesto, setting in place how future iterations of the genre should be created.

Throughout the course the students learned to edit on Final Cut Pro 10, how to shoot with the the Kodak Zi8 camera, the Canon FS200, the Canon 7D Mark II, the Canon 5D Mark II, and to record sound with the Zoom H3 Recorder and the Marantz PMD660.


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