I’m happy to share Visionaries: Female Filmmakers 1910-Today. Girls’ Voices Matter staff member Kacie Clark researched and wrote this compelling and interesting account of eight important women in film. From Alice Guy Lache, born in 1873, who started her own film company in 1910, to Best Picture winner, director Katherine Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty) these women have broken barriers and created some of the most memorable work in film today. We hope this document will inspire you!
The visual haiku is a video art form that follows the rules of haiku poetry: three short scenes, each a few seconds in length, that illuminate a moment in time. Traditional haiku finds its subject in the human experience of nature, but poets have written haiku about many other topics.
At Girls’ Voices Matter, our students will learn how to create their own visual haiku. It’s an easy, fun and endlessly creative way to make lots of beautiful, short videos.
Using a watercolor I made a few years ago and a couple of scenes of my backyard chickens, I made this haiku video last weekend. I used Adobe Premiere Pro to edit and color-correct.
Girls’ Voices Matter is the daughter of Media Poetry Studio, an arts-based educational program for teen girls that started in 2014. Here’s the story of how Media Poetry Studio came to be:
In the Spring of 2014, California Bay Area Poets Laureate Erica Goss, Jennifer Swanton Brown and David Perez had an epiphany while discussing their plans as community poets. We wanted to reach out to young people, to involve them in creative writing, and make opportunities for them in the literary arts. Over several discussions, we developed a two-week summer camp for teen girls, one where they learned how to make short films based on their own poems. We called it Media Poetry Studio, and our students’ work can be viewed here.
In 2017, Erica moved to Eugene, Oregon, and began Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest, which changed its name to Girls’ Voices Matter in 2018. We offer a summer camp and workshops throughout the school year.
The split-screen effect is an easy way to add interest to a video. Below, we’ve created three sample videos using this technique.
NOTE: we used iMovie to make these samples.
Sample 1. Basic Split-Screen effect. Screen pushes from left to right.
Sample 2. Split-Screen with right clip reversed, using “vintage” and “blast” filters.
Sample 3. Picture-in-picture effect using “silent era” filter.
Three of my favorite video techniques are the mirror shot, overlays and see-through animated masks. I’ve added samples of these techniques for your review below.
NOTE: I used iMovie and Adobe Premiere Pro to make these samples.
Sample 1. The mirror shot. I added music and a fade at the end.
Sample 2. Overlay. Light leaks give this clip a unique look. I added ocean and seagull sound.
Sample 3. See-through animated mask. I added ocean sounds.
Telling stories and craft-making are two healthy, creative activities that benefit teen girls, helping them gain confidence in their abilities and encouraging them to try new things. One of the options we offer our students at Digital Storytelling of the Pacific Northwest is instruction in making the how-to or demonstration video.
My video “The Fairy House” is an example of a how-to, story-telling video. The inspiration came from a newspaper story about Theresa Ojibway, a woman from New Jersey who makes fairy houses. She makes tiny beds, chairs, ladders, and doors from natural materials, and leaves them in parks for children to find.
Theresa Ojibway’s story inspired me to create a video about a woman who makes fairy furniture. Over a two-week period in the summer of 2016, I did the following:
- researched photographs of Ms. Ojibway’s creations,
- made my own versions with twigs, glue, twine, fabric, and craft-store items,
- wrote the screenplay,
- filmed myself in my backyard.
It was an extremely enjoyable project, as it allowed me to fulfill the roles of screenwriter, actor (just my hands!), set designer, prop builder, videographer, editor, and producer. The only task I gave to someone else was that of narrator. A former student of mine allowed me to record her telling the story of the Fairy House. (My son painted the fairy-mobile.)
I filmed the scenes with redwood trees in a park near my house, and since it was summer, I had to deal the hard bright light. I used various settings in Adobe Premiere’s Lumetri Color to get the dreamy, brownish look of an old book or postcard. For the furniture-building scenes, I covered a plastic table with brown postal paper and shot some of the scenes through pots of flowers.
I have lots of “blooper” video, times when the wind scattered my carefully arranged twigs, or the fragile, twiggy furniture kept falling over, or when my dog, who appears at the end, refused to stay on camera. I’ve often thought of making a video of just those scenes!
Parents deciding on a summer enrichment activity for their teen girls naturally have many questions. Below, I have listed answers to the most common questions I’ve received about Girls’ Voices Matter.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What will my daughter learn?
A: She will engage in creative writing, storyboarding, video production, setting up scenes, set design, directing, filming, videography, editing, special effects, and animation.
Q: What is the student-teacher ratio?
A: We accept a maximum of 16 students, or 8 students per teacher.
Q: Your camp seems expensive. Why is it priced at $250?
A: Our camp consists of four, six-hour days. That’s twenty-four hours of high-quality instruction in a supportive, small-class setting at less than eleven dollars per hour. Considering what our students learn, it’s a bargain!
Q: Is this a new camp? Have you run this camp in the past?
Q: During the summer, I’d like my daughter to spend some time outdoors. Your camp seems mostly indoors.
A: We will spend approximately ¼ of our time outdoors. We have photography and filming field trips planned for Skinner Butte Lookout and Skinner Butte Park.
Q: What will my daughter have to show for her time at your camp?
A: Your daughter will have several short videos she made herself. She will have had the experience of working in a small, supportive group, of increased self-esteem, and the feeling of empowerment that comes from learning and working in a team-oriented environment.
Here’s a list of fifteen feature films directed by women, debuting in 2018. Some are already out, and some are still coming:
- The Strange Ones
- The Party
- A Wrinkle in Time
- What They Had
- The Rider
- I Feel Pretty
- The Spy Who Dumped Me
- The Nightingale
- The Darkest Minds
- Can You Ever Forgive Me?
- Mulan (live action version)
- Mary, Queen of Scots
I’m going to see them all!
I’ve always loved the book If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, which I read to my children when they were little. In the book, a boy gives a delicious chocolate chip cookie to a mouse. The mouse loves the cookie, which leads him to ask for things to go with it: a glass of milk, a straw to drink the milk with, a mirror to see if he has a milk moustache, etc. Soon the mouse is asking for a story, a nap, and eventually, another cookie.
When I discovered video poetry in 2012, I was just like the mouse: my curiosity led me in a number of directions. First I watched hundreds of videos. Soon I reached out to video artists, interviewing them for my column The Third Form. A year or so later, I began to experiment with making my own video poems, and soon after, ran Media Poetry Studio, a summer camp dedicated to teaching the art to teen girls. Now that I live in Eugene, Oregon, I’ve created Girls Voices Matter, a summer program dedicated to teaching teen girls how to make their own short videos.
My “cookie” was a chance encounter at a writers’ conference in the winter of 2012. I wandered into a conference titled “Poetry Video in the Shadow of Music Video – Performance, Document, and Film.” When I entered Boulevard Room A at the Chicago Hilton and took a seat at the back of the room, I had no idea that my life would change. Now video-making is an important and growing part of my artistic practice.
If you give a girl a camera, what will she do next? Imagine the possibilities!