Lights, Camera, Action! A Spotlight on Digital Filmmaking

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Searching for an exciting elective? Look no further than Digital Filmmaking. John Giambruno teaches this fun, hands-on elective that focuses on the art of film in I-3. The course includes film basics, movie editing, and a final project for the M-A Film Festival

The unique class is entirely project-based. “There are no quizzes; you’re not sitting there and listening to a lecture. You grab a camera, I talk about what you should be doing with that camera, and then I’m expecting you to do that,” Giambruno said. After getting footage, students work with editing software to create montages, silent shorts, and eventually a short film.

A student edits a Digital Filmmaking project.

A typical class period starts with brief instruction, and then students have the rest of the period to work independently on their various projects. When I visited, students were editing dialogue scenes in which they had filmed Drama students acting. On her favorite part of the class, junior Thea Shih said, “I enjoy being able to use Adobe Premiere [which comes included with the course] and getting to express my personal style and creativity with each project.” 

With Digital Film being such a creativity-based class, I was interested in how Giambruno grades students’ creative visions. “Every project has an intent and a goal, so I’m very clear on the rubric with what I’m expecting. I’m measuring what we should be practicing for an industry standard,” he explained. Beyond artistic vision, the class focuses on learning about composition and working at a professional level.

Giambruno said that his favorite part of the class is how it lets students’ creativity shine. He said, “The students that come in hesitant or reluctant, and then leave making an awesome film, getting a big round of applause at the film festival—that’s just great. I had a student say, ‘I didn’t feel smart until I took your class,’ because it’s a different skill set to be valued here than learning how to take a test. It’s nice to have a different class, where different talents are being appreciated.” 

Senior Amelia Poirier said, “I would definitely recommend this class. Mr. G is super cool and really helpful. We learn about a lot of cool things and it gives you a new perspective on film that you may have never thought about before. I watch movies with a whole new lens!”

If you have any questions about Digital Film, stop by I-3 to see Giambruno! If you’re interested in taking this class next year, be sure to sign up through your counselor at your course selection appointment

Ella Ahn is a senior at M-A this year. She enjoys writing about sports and her community. Ella enjoys spending time with friends and traveling to new places. She is an officer on M-A Dance Team this year and is a competitive dancer outside of school.

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