Spring 2016 Film Projects
"Sunny", "Snacks", "Man vs. Millikan", and "Social Ladder" will be posted May 27th by 8 pm. Thank you for visiting!
Sarah, 6th Grade
Anush, 8th Grade
MillikanFilm's Citizen and Filmmaker of the Year
taught by Louis de Barraicua
Media literacy means having the ability to filter all forms of media before they become beliefs and values that shape our thinking.
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. Critical thinking is a foundation for understanding media, creating media and collaborating with others. In our program, we reflect on the media that entertains us and the media (films) that we create using the the latest technology that is available on most iPhones. Film class is a launching point for students to go on a more thoughtful journey as they join today's participatory media landscape.
Using ClassNube, every student is a teacher in the classroom by using the principle of constructive feedback. 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 perseverance and creative output, 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 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, the program teaches visual literacy to encourage active (vs. passive) viewing of media. Students are taught to recognize stereotypes and fallacies. In addition, collaboration skills are taught and practiced to increase a self-awareness that will increase the likelihood of success in creative groups and places beyond the classroom.
Discover your passion. Get good at it.
As teachers, some of us view ourselves curators of knowledge and insight. We have a chance to play a meaningful role in harnessing the passion of our students. It's not easy to do this without the right tools.
A group of teachers and I developed ClassNube as efficient workflow and feedback tool inside the classroom. It seemed so promising that we joined the Global Learning Xprize Competition to explore taking the concept of high frequency feedback that socializes learning and makes learning fun.
In film class, we use ClassNube to empower students to be creative (hopefully, for the rest of their lives). Creating, after all, is what makes a lot of us happy.
Working at a high creative level, however, is such a complex and taxing process that it is easy to abandon altogether. It takes grit and requires collaboration, which is often the key to meaningful achievements.
We've had many successes, but It's not an easy to duplicate because of the variables. After exhaustive research of the edtech out in the market, the solution simply did not seem to exist.
Because we're creative, we created a prototype of tool that we named ClassNube. Its helps teach better, learn faster. Exponentially.
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, Spain, Germany) 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 Car company. I spent several years living on Venice Beach Canals and Los Feliz. Today I live in Los Angeles with my wife and two boys.
As a film teacher, I believe that storytelling is powerful because it reframes information to give cohesion to information that's easy to forget. Before students make films in class, I teach the classical narrative structure. That is, creating a character within a narrative who encounters a great deal of obstacles to achieve a seemingly impossible goal.
As a kid, I switched schools frequently so my educational was relatively poor, except for one or two teachers. It was their personalized feedback that was encouraging. As a result, I find it interesting to develop tools for teachers, parents, and students that make learning fun, fast, and meaningful, especially in underserved communities where talent abounds (but with little opportunity).
Sitting in a classroom six hours a day is not easy. I remember how difficult it was for me, but making learning fun is not easy. Teachers need the right tools and environment to make sure everyone is learning while creating and collaborating in class.
"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.
millikanfilm.com - narrative filmmaking & media literacy taught by l. de barraicua
raw clips from "Nube" - music added
MillikanFilm.com - Narrative film production & media literacy taught by l. de barraicua
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. D.L.
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.
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.
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.
Janis Joplin Reincarnated
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
Change the Story, Revolutionize Consciousness.
Media Literacy Education
provided by the
Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences
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.
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.
Choir @ Millikan
Millikan Choir with Mr. Krubsack
Here are some events from other electives my students captured around campus.
Dance Class @ Millikan