released February, 2016
Nube (a preview)
a shot from "Nube" (a music video)
Media Literacy Education
provided by the
Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences
Change the Story, Revolutionize Consciousness.
“The more we delve into quantum mechanics the stranger the world becomes; appreciating this strangeness of the world, whilst still operating in that which you now consider reality, will be the foundation for shifting the current trajectory of your life from ordinary to extraordinary.
It is the Tao of mixing this cosmic weirdness with the practical and physical, which will allow you to move, moment by moment, through parallel worlds to achieve your dreams.” - D.L.
The Drama Game
Official Selection of the Academy Award Qualifying Los Angles Shorts Film Festival, 2015
Rivals take a routine game to the limits when a group of drama students compete to stay in character the longest.
Kids locked in a classroom without a teacher and without their phones must use critical thinking and collaboration to overcome the dogma that puts all of their lives at risk.
We are all one, but tragically don't know it. Although on the surface "Air" is a perplexing narrative, this film has proven to be one of the most popular because of the growing intensity of its off-beat scenes. Working in conjunction with Mr. Lauchu's Science Academy to formulate a quantum mechanics-based plot (we are not individual entities and the non-linear perception of time), "Air" is about bully who has an asthma attack, then awakens to find herself residing inside of the bodies and lives of her scared victims. With the bully's fearless, dispassionate soul inhabiting different bodies, her journey through different human vessels forces her to embark on a journey back to her asthma-stricken body. This film was an "Official Selection" of the highly competitive International Children's Film Festival, which screened at LACMA & the Children's division of Comic Con in San Diego.
Tales of Miscommunication & Fractured Personalities
Highlights from "Let Me Out" and "Conduit." These student films are about miscommunication and how media influences the personalities of our optimistic youth.
White House Film Festival
A Finalist Entry to the President Obama's Film Festival about using technology in the classroom.
Raw Talent in the Classroom
Angela channels Janis Joplin after school, and Mr. D records it for posterity
Millikan Middle School
A commercial produced for Millikan Middle School
A love story at a school that only values test scores.
The Odd Class @ Millikan
A teacher quits after a rowdy class disrespects him, and his time alone teaches him a way to connect with students again.
MXL Audio Commercial
They gave us their equipment to field test, and we gave our students a chance to make them a commercial.
Lorde Music Video
A clip about President Obama's fictional youth
The Teenager Problem
a delusional student gets peer counseling that helps him escape his plight in life.
George Saunders on Storytelling
In this rare appearance as a documentary subject, George Saunders reveals the pitfalls of bad storytelling and explains the openness and generosity required to breath life into great characters.
A Filmmaker's Story
about emerging as an artist
On Being an Artist
In the world of Social Media
The Thinking That Supports Millikan Film's Program
Technology has created a media culture that values popular opinion over critical thought. Teaching media literacy in film class is about creating an awareness among a new generation of students who often believe (whether they're aware of it or not) that successful people are the ones with the most followers. Ideal leaders use critical thinking as a foundation for understanding media, creating media and collaborating with others. We reflect on the media that entertains us and the media (films) that we create using the the latest technology that is (or will be) accessible to most students. Film class is merely a launching point for students to go on a more provocative and thoughtful journey into today's participatory media landscape.
Using ClassNube, every student is a teacher in the classroom by using the principle of constructive feedback through peers. A model that emphasizes group work, storytelling, creativity and a student-led environment is applied in the classroom. Through a hands-on film program that teaches critical thinking, perseverance, creative output and collaborative thinking, students create films from beginning to end. Students are first introduced to the basic shots and strategies that movie-makers and artists use to tell stories. Students then generate a concept and use public speaking skills to pitch these ideas to the entire class.
The goal is to instill the importance of classical storytelling methods in students. With the help of The Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and the LAUSD Arts Branch, the program teaches visual literacy to encourage active (vs. passive) viewing of media and films. Students are taught to recognize stereotypes and fallacies. In addition, collaboration skills are taught to increase the likelihood of success in creative groups and places beyond the classroom.
Follow your heart. Discover you passion. Get really good at it.
As teachers, we are curators of knowledge and insight, and if we're lucky we can play a meaningful role in harnessing the passion of our students. As a teacher tool developed inside film, science and English classrooms to exponentially improve the way we teach and learn, we got inspired by the Global Learning Xprize to take ClassNube a step further. It takes the passion kids have and helps support the learning they need to achieve competency. In film class, the passion for movies helps empower kids to be creative (hopefully, for the rest of their lives). Creating, after all, is what makes a lot of us happy, but at a high level it can be such a complex, cognitive and taxing process that it is easy to give up or abandon creativity altogether. Student experiences learning to collaborate is key to meaningful achievements. The teachers who make a difference are the ones who facilitate interesting assignments and constructive feedback. Class Nube aims to help with both of those things by helping kids build a portfolio in the classroom and develop a culture of giving constructive feedback among peers.
It takes a village, and I grew up in many of them.
My dad was in the Air Force so I lived in lots of places (San Antonio, Wichita Falls, Montgomery, Alabama, Panama City, Northern California) and Spain and Europe throughout my high school years. I graduated from the University of Southern California (USC), and worked as a copywriter for Nike and in product development at a Japanese company. I spent several years living in Venice Beach and Los Feliz. I began writing films since taking classes at USC, and began making films ten years ago. Today I live in the West Valley here in Los Angeles with my lovely wife and two boys.
Los Angeles' Community Recognition of MillikanFilm.com
Our focus is to learn what it takes (grit, collaboration, photography, storytelling, editing, acting) to get better at making movies. Entry fees to festivals and awards are usually $25-$65. Even so, it can be demoralizing for a talented budding artist not to have their film accepted or rejected for a myriad of unknown reasons. Focusing on winning awards is a distraction at our level because we have so much room for improvement (90% of our students have never made a narrative film). We promote a growth mindset that encourages risks, understands mistakes, and an understanding of the creative workflow. On a purely cognitive level, filmmaking is a creative in endeavor that requires endless problem solving and creative synthesis, which happens to be at the top of the Bloom's Taxonomy pyramid. In other words, our students aren't just copying down vocabulary words or memorizing answers. What they do is challenging and the outstanding shine because of their passion for wanting to be good storytellers. It's not the awards (which will come later), it's not their grade, and it's not much else but a genuine interest in filmmaking. As a result of their passion, students naturally become better writers, speakers, communicators, collaborators, photographers, editors, and actors - it gives them an authentic reason to become better at writing and using figurative, abstract concepts to communicate a theme, not to mention a plethora of organizational and academic skills.
Occasionally festivals make submissions free, and students send them a link to their film that is evaluated on a purely artistic level. Thank you to the LA Shorts Film Festival (an Academy-Award qualifying festival) and the International Children's Film Festival for recognizing our students for their work in acting, writing, and directing. We hope our Millikan community will join us at our MillikanFilm.com Festival on 12/12/15 @ 7pm in Burrill Hall.
The LA Shorts Film Festival
The kid brother to the LA Film Festival, the LA Shorts Fest is an internationally recognized and celebrated festival for short films of exceptional caliber. In 2015, thousands of films were submitted for consideration. Held in September at the LA Live! venue (next to the Staples Center), this festival applauds iconic and breakout filmmakers with awards, panel discussions, and world premieres for shorts from production companies such as Pixar.
Our days in school are often forgotten, which is why we take photos to document our journey. These photos show guest speakers, celebrations, and students connecting & cooperating during the filmmaking process.
We have actors, cinematographers, and film development professionals talk to our students about telling a better story. Checkout this clip of Elliot Blake explaining what a modern day film studio looks for in a narrative project.
Visual Literacy according to Martin Scorcese
The important of what we we're learning.
Visual literacy and vocabulary is an essential tool in today's participatory media landscape.
George Lucas on Teaching Visual Literacy
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Trailer Released October 2015. Film releases December 18th, 2015.