In the midst of the multitude of arts classes Kingswood Oxford has to offer, a hidden gem for those interested in the visual arts is KO’s film classes. Oftentimes, students get caught up in taking courses involving the standard forms of art, such as painting and drawing. However, a brilliantly modern yet classic class regarding the art of digital film and filmmaking is available to students.
Classes involving film and how films are produced at KO consist of Digital Filmmaking 1 and 2, which are open to all Upper School students. Those looking to further their appreciation of the media arts in a beginner’s setting often become involved in Digital Filmmaking 1 (DF1).
KO’s Course of Study Book describes DF1 as a class in which “Students will be introduced to the dynamic and constantly evolving medium of a digital video.” Additionally, “Students have access to professional quality and receive extensive training using a state of the art editing software.”
Digital filmmaking teacher Greg Scranton has been working at KO since 2010, and he was even a seven-year senior graduate from the school. Mr. Scranton experimented with film in college, and he discovered a newfound interest in the creative arts after participating in a class called “Time Based Media” at Oberlin College. “This idea that you could kind of create these temporal happenings, whether they’re narrative based, or more visual and experimental, it was exciting,” Mr. Scranton said. “That’s where it all started.”
The introduction to film class focuses generally on the basics. “Digital Filmmaking 1 really just focuses on teaching the basics of all that goes into the basics of making any sort of video,” he said. The film class starts off their semester with a project called “The 60 Second Video.” The class also focuses on not only learning how to create videos, but learning the language of film.
Right now, students are working on their final self-proposed project. “Prior to that, students were working on a film called ‘Adaptations,” Mr. Scranton said. With this project, the sky was the limit in terms of creativity. “One student had an adaptation of “The Three Little Pigs” as a horror film,” Mr. Scranton said.
When asked about their overall experience in DF1, sophomores Chayse Shamleffer and Quin Kearney both expressed similar positive opinions. “Overall, my experience in film class has been great,” Quin said. “I really enjoy making films, and I just enjoy the whole process and the environment.” While at first, Quin was nervous about taking DF1, she quickly adapted and learned to work in and truly enjoy an artistic environment.
Chayse, who already had a passion for film prior to taking DF1, expressed the impact the class had on her. “My experience was very positive,” she said. “I enjoyed learning about how to shoot and edit videos, and I think it also kind of helped me discover a passion and appreciation for filmmaking and what goes into films.”
Both students thoroughly enjoyed all the projects that they created in DF1, and it was extremely hard for them to choose a favorite. “My favorite project that we did was our adaptation project,” Chayse said. “Basically, we could pick any piece of writing and make a five minute adaptation of it. I got to pick a poem that I really liked, and I got to use my creativity to envision what it would look like through a short film.”
DF1 truly is a class where all forms of art submerge into a single yet broad category and where all students, even those with no prior knowledge or experience in filmmaking, have the opportunity to hone their creativity.