I’m on a jury for a short film festival, so today I spent quite a bit of time looking at lots of entries, mainly by young people. Some entries were extremely good, but most were so bad that they were startlingly bad. I found myself asking “what were they thinking?”
And that started me thinking … shouldn’t the basics of visual storytelling, effective construction of dramatic or comic narrative, character arc and development, building of audience involvement, anticipation, pacing, timing, use of camera, focus, lighting, montage — be a part of today’s core educational curriculum?
After all, we now live in a world where the means of production — even high quality production — are within easy reach of any child with access to a computer. Consequently, the ability to express oneself in a visual narrative medium is a skill that can make the difference between success and failure in many fields, and the importance of that skill will continue to increase rapidly as the technical and economic barriers to entry continue to fall away.
Just as, in an earlier time, parents understood that a child who cannot read has no real chance of success in a highly competitive world, shouldn’t parents of today realize that the ability to put together an effective short movie to communicate one’s viewpoint and ideas is a necessary skill for their child to master?
And shouldn’t we be addressing that need in our K-12 curriculum?