Jared Tauber, a high school senior from Tenafly, NJ, participated in the inaugural Online High School Filmmakers Workshop last summer. Here's what he had to say about the course and what he learned as a filmmaker.
Tell us about your experience in the Online High School Filmmakers Workshop.
As a creator, starting a project is often the most daunting part of the task because I always strive to find the right angle to approach it first, in order to avoid failure. This is not a very productive mentality because it promotes a reluctance to explore outside one's comfort zone. The Online High School Filmmakers Workshop allowed me to break out of that mentality by assigning projects that encouraged us to experiment and learn by doing.
What were some of the assignments or projects you worked in the workshop?
Each group made a collaborative short documentary; my group made a Planet Earth-inspired documentary about our backyards. We also made a music video together, which I would say was the most challenging project of the course because of how we had to make a coherent narrative out of everyone's vastly different footage.
Scene From Red Skull's Treasure
The film is silent except for foley and a drum score. What are the challenges of telling a story without dialogue and how did you overcome those challenges?
I believe in a "show, don't tell" approach to storytelling. Speaking makes up a much smaller percentage of how we communicate ideas than we often think, so I wrote a story that utilizes all the other tools I had in my posession: actions, body language, camera movement, sound, etc. These are all very powerful tools that should never be overlooked or underestimated. Some of the most impactful moments in cinema are without speech. I think of "The Dawn of Man" scene from 2001: A Space Odyssey, the love story scene from Up, and the train scene from Spirited Away. Upon taking all of this into consideration, you begin to realize that the absence of speech is not an impediment, but rather a device in and of itself.
Scene From Red Skull's Treasure
What did you gain as a filmmaker by taking this workshop?
Film, in essence, is a collaborative art form. As a filmmaker, this workshop helped me gain a lot of experience with collaboration, especially due to the additional challenge of collaborating with people from different time zones.
What advice do you have for prospective students applying to the Online High School Filmmakers Workshop?
Communication is the key to all of this. You will be in great shape throughout this course so long as you are frequently checking your messages and reaching out to members of your crew. Also, please don't hesitate to reach out to your assistant teachers; they will be your torch in the tunnel, guiding you towards the light of success! And don't forget to have a good time, because what else is the point? Cheers!
Watch Red Skull's Treasure:
Jared gives a special shout out to Lisa Dodell. She was a member of his crew and he said, “She got the aesthetics of the credits just right!”
We are accepting applications for the summer 2020 Online High School Filmmakers Workshop through Monday, June 8, 2020. Visit our website to learn more.