Personal Films In The Time of Social Distancing: Narrative Montage Film Assignment For Students

This is a project that I have assigned as an options for some of my students to complete. It is essentially a short film or video that is made up of 10-15 short video clips explaining what you are up to in your days. One of the keys to this is that the clips should be silent and should show some type of action or communicate something that is happening. I feel that this assignment could go out to almost any grade level. In early years there might be some parent or adult support needed to shoot and edit the videos. In middle years I think that it fits nicely as it is. In high school I would consider adding a theory section that could look at film theory such as Sergei Eisenstein’s montage theory.

In theory this project could be done at home using a phone to shoot the video in addition to free video editing software such as YouCut or OpenShot

Here is an example video that I have created

Student Instructions

Description:  For this project you are creating a film from a series of short video clips.  These clips are intended to document your day as a montage.  

Overview:  You are going to take 10-15 video clips of about 5 seconds each.  Each clip should visually document something about your day. For example, one clip could be your alarm going off, another could be you pouring breakfast cereal, and another could be you working on a school assignment.  I encourage you to shoot each video clip with a unique perspective to make it visually interesting. When you have your clips you will need to edit them together.

Equipment Needed:  A phone or camera that can shoot video.  Plus a phone or computer to use for editing.

Steps to Complete:  

  1.  Plan it out.  Make a list of the video clips that you think would tell a story about what you do in a day.
  2. Shoot the clips.  You need 10-15. More would be ok.  Make sure that they are clear, in focus, and visually interesting.
  3. Assemble the clips in editing software.  You may have iMovie or Windows Movie Maker already installed on a home computer.  If you do not I recommend OpenShot video editor as a free open source option. You can find a download for this at  Another option is to use a phone or tablet based editor which could be iMovie or YouCut.  You don’t need to do anything fancy, but you will need to learn to use the software that you choose.
  4. Once you have assembled your film, you can add music, titles, or credits if you can.  
  5. You will finally need to export your short film.  Some programs will call this “share” instead of export.
  6. Submit your assignment using your learning management system.  You can submit either a movie file or a Youtube link.  It can also be a great idea to share your work with your classmates or publicly.

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