On January 10, students had their projects presented at the all-school Film Assembly as a conclusion to their fall semester film classes. The featured works were produced in three different classes: Intro to Film, Intro to Animation, and Intermediate Animation. They varied heavily in medium and premise, from visual poems and friendship stories to action-packed chase films and puppetry animation. Regardless of the genre, all the films displayed the talented artistry of their creators and were highly entertaining to watch. These projects, however, did not sprout overnight—the filmmaking process was difficult and required many hours of hard work. Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at how these films were produced.

First, Intro to Film student Ejemen Omanzane ’25 shares that before even picking up the camera itself, the filmmakers need to have a solidified idea. Whether following a prompt or not, every successful film stems from an interesting story. Money Peng ’26, another Intro to Film student, stresses the importance of ideas in filmmaking: “Even if you don’t have the skill set and you have a pretty good idea, you still have a very good film.” With their assigned partners, the students discussed and outlined the plot, characters, and locations in their films. Simultaneously, filmmakers also created shot lists detailing plans on how to film each individual clip. The lists include the angle and zoom degree of the camera, as well as a description of what will be expressed in the scene.

From there, the actual filming process began. Following their shot lists, each pair proceeds to their respective shooting locations, bringing any actors they need with them. Recalling her first few days of shooting, Ejemen says, “We did not get much done on the first day, but managed to finish filming on the second day.” Impressively, after those two days, she only needed a few pickup shots for the ending. For Laura Montoro ’27, filming was her favorite part of the entire process: “In my film we used simple shots and straight shots, but we also used our camera [from] different angles, like from the bookcase,” she said.

Once students collected the footage, they began to edit, working with the software Adobe Premiere Pro. They worked together to clean the footage, place clips in order, and add audio in the background. Chloe Park ’26 explains that an important aspect of editing is to understand the mood of the scene. This ensures that the music, color grading, and other aspects of each clip will all help convey desired feelings to the audience. When the final edits are done, the film is complete and ready for showing.

Animation involves an entirely different process. It starts, however, with the exact same element as film—an idea. Sophia Zhou ’26, an Intro to Animation student, first created a storyboard, which acts as a blueprint for the animation that organizes key frames.. For this project, students were each assigned a hieroglyph that needed to be included in the animation. Sophia received a wave, leading to the beach theme of her animation. After she completed her storyboard, Sophia drew every single frame individually and put them all together, ending up with around 200 frames in her final product. Sophia credits her drawing skills for much of her success: “[I] had never drawn super seriously, but had been practicing for a long time,” she said. For aspiring animators, Sophia offers the following advice: “You should be prepared for a lot of work if you have very high standards for yourself. But, it’s a good medium to try out.”

The fall Film Assembly was certainly enjoyable to watch, displaying impressive artistic skill and eliciting frequent laughs from the whole community. If you missed it or just want to rewatch some of these amazing works, feel free to check them out in the Fall 2023 Film Showcase recently sent out to the whole school!