'My Digital Stories' Filmmaking Workshop 2019

The School of Arts and Social Sciences’ annual Filmmaking Workshop, made its comeback this year on the 13th of April, as an exclusive experience reserved for the forty-three students enrolled in the AMU2146 Digital Screens unit. Facilitated by Dr. Ana Grgic, the workshop ‘MY Digital Stories’ ran from 9:00 in the morning to 6:00 in the evening at the SASS Communication Lab on campus.

The workshop was led by two very special guests and internationally recognised film industry professionals: Dr. Alex Fischer, the Dean of the Mahakarya Institute of Arts Asia, and Ms. Siti Kamaluddin, an award-winning film director and producer from Brunei. With the aim of giving the students an avenue to explore visual communication in a digital context and to coach them on the art of short filmmaking, the hands-on workshop consisted of three separate segments, each an aspect with a focus on short form digital content creation.

After briefly introducing themselves, Dr. Alex Fischer and Ms. Siti Kamaluddin started the workshop by kicking off the first segment: ‘The Chatty Camera’. In this part of the workshop, the students were coached on the theories and basic building blocks of cinematic language. From aperture, exposure, and shutter speed to shot sizes, camera angles, and camera movements, the students learned how the small variances in each element could tell audiences different kinds of stories. The next segment, ‘Like Me Now’, saw Dr. Fischer discussing about audiences and their engagement with digital content, interest retention, and also strategies for online exhibition with the workshop participants. When it came the time for the third segment, ‘Cut N’ Paste Communication,’ the students were given a beginner’s crash course on the art of video editing, with an emphasis on post-production techniques and skills.

As soon as the first half of the workshop concluded, everyone took a break for lunch, before each group headed off to shoot their own short film. This was indeed part of the agenda: the result of today’s workshop and short film shooting would be the students’ first official assessment for the Digital Screens unit. The shoot lasted around four hours, and once every group had finished up with their short film, they returned to the Multimedia Lab with their teammates, diving headfirst into editing a rough cut of their first short film.

To wrap the entire workshop up, Dr. Fischer and Ms. Kamaluddin took quick looks at each groups rough cuts, offering advice and encouragement. The day ended with a quick group photo session, and the student participants returned home, all the more richer in filmmaking knowledge and experience.