The “Door Scene”
This week, we looked at the American Film Institute’s “The Door Scene”. This comes from their Screen Education, 21st Century Educators Handbook. This resource is a great tool for teachers. It goes through the steps of writing, reading and filming a video. There are four main sections in this handbook – each provides detailed information, expectations an introduction, and examples.
“The Door Scene” is section one in the handbook and it specifically provides: teacher guidelines and student exercises and handouts. In this scene you have an idea to work within and limitations to how you create your video. The following is taken from page 17 in the 21st Century Educators Handbook.
- The concept: “Form production teams of no more than ﬁve people. (Three is ideal.) Using a video camera, interpret and shoot the following scripted scenario: A person is about to open a door. The person hears a sound and becomes mildly concerned. The person ﬁnds the door locked and searches for his or her keys. The person hears the sound again and becomes visibly apprehensive. As the ﬁlmmaker, your goal is to build tension and growing panic, using any visual element or device that you can think of.The ﬁlm closes with the person ﬁnally opening the door and getting to the other side safely. Here, you want to communicate to the audience the character’s feeling of relief and safety.”
- Some limitations are: the character and the audience cannot see the source of the sound, the film has only one actor, it cannot be longer than 90 seconds, the film takes place within 5 feet from both sides of the door, and the camera shots are assembled while filming and not with editing software.
- Once you are done filming, you share your film with the class and they provide feedback and answer questions in regards to your scene.
Of course, it is up to the teacher and the students if they want to stay within these guidelines and limitations.
I was part of a group along with Colby Davidson, Emily Knowles and Brittany Newberry. We decided to create an elevator scene and we really did not stay within the limitations at all. I would like to think we followed the concept of the scene, but I think that may be debatable.
We used a Flip Camera to film our scene. We found music on YouTube and used I-Movie to put everything together.
My group members came up with the idea to use the elevator and to have different events happening on each floor. They also selected the music and sounds. I was basically the editor and was also the person with the camera in the elevator. It was a great project to complete and it was nice to collaborate with other classmates. Without them, I do not know what type of scene I would have ended up with. I found it easier to edit, film and insert music than I did to come up with an idea for the scene. Good work team!
Check out our door scene: “The Elevator”