While watching the Oscars tonight, I was intrigued to see a promotion that Walmart was running to celebrate the craft of film making. I don’t normally pay a lot of attention to commercials, but these ads managed to catch my attention, and I think that they have some interesting potential for teachers who are looking to add some creativity to video projects in their classroom.
Walmart contacted four award-winning directors, Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg (Superbad, Neighbors), Antoine Fuqua (Southpaw, The Magnificent Seven), and Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball, The Kite Runner). They sent each of them a receipt with the same six items and challenged them to make a one minute movie that was centered around the six items on the receipt. You can learn more here, but take a look at the videos below to see what these talented directors came up with…
The three stories are very different, but they would be, wouldn’t they? I mean, if you challenged your students to do something like this, the results you got would likely be very different too. Wouldn’t they? Because although the parameters are the same for every student, this is still a very open-ended activity that just screams for a creative outcome.
It’s a simple concept, but at the same time, a very powerful one, and isn’t this what we want our students to do more of? We want them to be unique, innovative, and think critically to solve problems. We want them to collaborate and to communicate their story in a way that entertains, evokes emotion, and connects them with a wider audience. Digital storytelling gives you that ability. Whether you are writing short stories or creating live action videos, it just goes to show that some of the most uncomplicated concepts truly can produce some of the most creative end products.
The Walmart videos reminded me of another great video project for the classroom from Don Goble. Again, the premise is simple, but the results are still endlessly creative. Students write a simple six-word story and turn it into a video with six unique camera shots. You can see an example of a six-word story from one of Don’s students below, but make sure you visit his website or read his free iBooks ebook to learn more about this idea.
So, the next time you are looking for a digital storytelling idea for your students, consider one of these great examples, then be prepared to be blown away by the creativity of your students!