Things are changing. When I ran my first 3 day intensive videomaking workshop in 2005 it was like bringing students into a whole new alien world. Seven years later it’s no longer much of a stretch — the students show up (as they did last weekend at Univ. of British Columbia) knowing just about all they need. Their pitches, with Powerpoint slides (some animated) already felt like films. We’re definitely creating a “video literate” world.

THE MOMENT OF TRUTH – Students pass in their ballots at the end of the 22 three minute pitches, voting for the 5 concepts that will get made. Seated in the light blue shirt is Dan McKinney of the Journalism School who did an awesome job of running the technical side of the workshop.



In my book I mentioned the conversation I had with the Dean of the USC Cinema School in the mid-90’s in which she talked about how film is a language that for one hundred years we’ve all known how to read it, but only a chosen few have had access to the technology to be able to speak it. But now, thanks to the new technology, that’s all changing. In the future, EVERYONE, from history professors to people working at McDonalds, will “speak” in the language of video as easily as they will write emails.

I’m definitely seeing it.

Last week we ran the 11th iteration of my 3 Day Intensive Videomaking Workshop that I began in 2005 at Scripps Institution of Oceanography (the basic description of the workshop is here). Back then, there was no YouTube and people were only just starting to email videos to each other. In 2004 I made 4 short humorous ocean conservation videos with the Groundlings Improv Comedy Theater actors. They had warned me that “the Groundlings performances don’t work well on video”. That was because their previous experiences with video were limited primarily to people putting a camera on a tripod at the back of the theater and just recording the live performances. Today, 8 years later, all of the Groundlings make their own videos, and some, like my “Sizzle” co-star Mitch Silpa end up with viral videos like his “David Blaine” series that has scored in the tens of millions of views on Youtube (and is brilliant).

So that was then, this is now. And last week the 22 students from the TerreWeb program at U.B.C. presented 3 minute pitches that were essentially already films. They already told stories, they had Powerpoints slides that told stories, and some were animated, showing that they were already making their own films in their minds.

What’s more, teaching them to edit in Final Cut Pro — which used to be an alien experience — was mostly a ho hum experience for them — as in 5 minutes of the basics and they were already saying, “okay, we got it, you can leave us alone now.” The future is definitely arriving.