Before appearing on screen, a film goes through many stages of production: Pitching an idea, writing a screenplay, shooting and editing—and these are just the basics!
During TUMO’s three levels of filmmaking workshops, students experience the whole filmmaking process and learn the skills and tasks associated with the core members of a production crew. Whether the film project is a documentary, feature-length narrative or short production, filmmaking is almost always a team effort. For this reason, according to workshop leader Shoghik Hakobyan, a key skill for students to master in filmmaking is teamwork and the ability to work in a highly collaborative environment. Workshop leader Kami Lebaredean adds: “Filmmaking is a very group-oriented exercise and, in order to have a good result, the communication within the production team needs to be a stone one.”
In this level, film theory and production are introduced to students. They learn the “language” of cinema through film screenings and discussions comparing different directors and auteurs. Students learn how to work with a camera and how to translate their vision into storyboards. They learn how to use Adobe Premiere video editing software, with which they experience editing small scenes they will have had the chance to shoot. Upon successful completion of the course, students have a complete understanding of the entire film production process and have learned the basics of handling film equipment and using editing software. This is workshop leader Kami’s favorite level: “The first level is when the students really discover something new. You get to draw attention to something that they have never experienced before. Here’s where they know what they can actually do, and they even start doing that!”
Students in the second level of filmmaking will develop an understanding of film rhythm and tempo. While working in groups, they’ll have a chance to direct short scenes, utilizing various camera angles and advanced editing techniques. Based on scripts written in the framework of another TUMO focus area, creative writing, a full scene with dialogue is shot, through which students get acquainted with sound and dialogue editing techniques. Scripts will vary depending on the students’ ideas. In this level, students not only have to master the tasks of camera operating, directing and editing, but also gain some acting experience! What’s important is to have fun. Our newest workshop leader, David Nerkararyan adds, “At the workshop, we have students that are 12 and those that are 20 years old. This age gap helps them to communicate and learn from each other.”
By now, students have gained a lot of experience working in teams and mastering the sophisticated art of collaboration. In the final filmmaking level, teens have a chance to work solo on developing their own film ideas. While studying the interplay between visuals, sound, music and pacing to unlock a film’s emotional and narrative potential, students work individually to create a short documentary film focusing on a specific subject or theme of their choosing. This phase is largely practical and involves working on location, be it at the zoo or at a museum. Students’ imaginations are the limit!
“Even if students go on to choose a profession unrelated to the film industry,” says workshop leader Lusine Papoyan, “developing the ability to tell a good story, and distinguish a good film from a poorly executed one, is an important part of one’s education.”
Students’ work developing their abilities as filmmakers does not stop after completing all three filmmaking levels. In parallel with the core focus areas, TUMO organizes learning labs where leading professionals from around the world work with students to develop and improve their professional skills. See you on set!