T3 Detailed Weekly Schedule

UPDATED 2019 / Sharron

OVERVIEW & KEY (IN-CLASS) DATES

  • 2 X PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS
  • Research; focus, secure access, pre-interviews, style & approach, inspire yourself, consider your platform, tools, and techniques, practice, practice, practice…
  • See below for detailed schedule
  • 8 X PRODUCTION WEEKS
  • Shoot, interview, research, log, edit, write, test, practice, create…
  • See below for detailed schedule
  • 1 X PREP FOR EDIT MONTH WEEK
  • Get ready for the edit!
  • 4 x POST-PRODUCTION WEEKS (Edit Month in August)
  • Edit, revise, repeat, perfect!
  • SCHEDULED IN-CLASS SESSIONS DURING EDIT WEEKS: TBA (TYPICALLY 3 DAYS EACH WEEK IN AUGUST)
  • 1 X ASSESSMENT / PRESENTATION WEEK

Please view this ‘Quick Overview Schedule’ for a summary schedule outlining key dates and deadlines: IMMJ Schedule T3 2018-19 For a more detailed weekly schedule see below.

PREAMBLE

Here are your detailed schedule and briefing for what’s expected in Term 3. You will be given an additional verbal briefing during the introduction week.

These introductory notes will help you to understand what is expected and manage your time effectively. You may need a Wechat tutorial to discuss your story idea in Pre-production Week 1. Please just book tutorials as needed. Do not waste your two precious pre-production weeks. By week 3 you will need to start your fieldwork.

During the Production and Post-production Weeks, tutors will guide and monitor your progress via tutorials and by viewing regular updates of your practical work. They will provide guidance and critical feedback on your processes and work to help to develop your stories/projects. This process mirrors working with an editor in a professional setting, the same way working journalists check in with their editor from the field and go through a series of edits before their story goes to publication. 

In order to receive feedback and guidance, you will need to deliver your work in progress on set deadlines and to specific requirements. You are also required to submit some ‘mini-assignments’. Please follow the instructions carefully. Students will not receive feedback on late submissions, or submissions that do not fulfill requirements or where the English level makes comprehension difficult. Please note, students who fail T3 practical modules usually do so because they missed interim deadlines and lacked formative feedback and guidance.

The editing stage is crucial, you’ll need to log your work during production and come to the edit month with a well-prepared rough draft. In the post-production (Edit) month, you’ll take your rough draft to a polished final cut ready for submission.

Note – Before you leave the field (usually in production week 7) You lead tutor will want to see a quality draft of your visuals. This is because you may need to do a few ‘pickups’ before you leave, so be prepared. Pickup Shots are brief shots or scenes recorded after the main shooting period has ended. Pickups are done in order to correct a mistake or film additional material. There are several kinds of mistakes that would justify a pickup: Equipment malfunction; Lost or corrupted file; Failing to capture an important visual, scene or sound-byte; The filmmaker wants to try something different; The footage does not work in editing and needs to be  refilmed; There is a rare opportunity to film an important scene that could not be filmed earlier. Tutors need to see a quality rough draft before you leave the location to help identify ‘pickups’ and so students have time to execute before returning to Beijing to edit. You may need to do additional reporting ‘pick ups’ during edit month but these shouldn’t involve returning to the field unless absolutely necessary.  

Please note the T3 Production & Post-production weeks schedule is a little flexible. No major changes will be made, but minor changes almost certainly will be. So, please take a look at this online schedule regularly (every week) to stay on track. It’s YOUR responsibility to manage your own time and to submit things on time to the specified requirements. We cannot fix an exact schedule because tutors respond to the work we see as it develops, therefore, we may add in some additional ‘mini-assignments’ to target problems as they arise. Extra ‘mini-assignments’ may be general for all students (if we believe they will benefit the whole group) or individual to target and support specific students.  

Please note, if you miss interim deadlines, you can not hand your work in late. Tutors schedule dedicated days for feedback (generally on Monday and Tuesdays) so if you submit work late, you’ll need to wait until the next deadline for feedback. We allocate around 30 minutes to an hour for each feedback so missing deadlines means you’ll miss timely and formative feedback essential to improve your work. From our experience students who miss interim deadlines often fail Term 3. Tutors need to see work as it develops to help guide and support.  

If you have an urgent question or problem, of course, you can contact us outside of the scheduled contact hours or deadlines. For non-urgent, more official communications please stick to email. We aim to respond within 72 hours. For urgent issues please WeChat message, Sharron or Alina.

Also, sometimes you might just want to chat to a tutor for 20 minutes to discuss an idea or challenge, please contact us via Wechat, and we will aim to respond in a timely matter and arrange a timely call to troubleshoot. Please also share questions, pictures, and videos to the group we-chat – so that you can support and receive support from your peers!

In the first few weeks, we accept links to videos etc for your bi-weekly interim deadlines. By the later reporting week interim deadlines, work submitted for tutors to view must be uploaded to your chosen digital platform URL. We do not expect your digital platform to be complete, however, the earlier you start working on it the better. Your final platform should not be an afterthought – you should consider it from the early pre-production stage. You’ll also need to test and explore the design and layout and think about how the story presentation is working (or not) early on. Uploading your work at your URL early on with placeholders helps you and us to get a really good sense of the final project. If you can do this by week 5 (prior to the tutorials) it’s preferable; otherwise, week 6 will be ok.

We cannot dictate exactly how you upload your work, every student will work in a different way depending on their story and chosen mediums. Endeavor to show us as much as you can in a well-organized fashion so that we can deliver constructive and critical feedback. If your work is well organized and substantial tutors will give you substantial feedback. If it is in poor shape, tutors will have little material to feedback on. If your English hampers comprehension we will not mark it at all. It is not our job to translate poor English. You’ll be asked to revise it and send it back on the next deadline which wastes valuable time. Interview transcribes, video scripts etc can be emailed too and are often really helpful.  

*All work submitted for interim deadlines must either be in English or be subtitled. Tutors can not and will not feedback on Chinese language video.

*All work must be proofread, tutors will not feedback on work where the language is so poor that comprehension is hindered. We do not expect perfect English, however, we do expect a smooth read/watch.

WORKING AUTONOMOUSLY

Time management is essential in Term 3, there is very little scheduled class apart from the edit month – as MA level students you are expected to study with a large degree of autonomy. Tutors are on hand to guide you but to do that successfully, you will need to meet interim deadlines to the required criteria and communicate regularly and effectively with your lead tutor.

STORIES/PROJECTS

Ideally, you will be taking forward one of your Term 2 stories in some way. Perhaps extending or broadening it, or taking it in a slightly different angle, or continuing the same essential story focus but producing the story in a new media form. Only if both projects have really failed should you switch topics completely and if this is the case, you will need to start planning, researching and preparing early to catch up and be ready for Term 3 pre-production weeks.

We hope that your Term 3 stories will be the stories you use to showcase your talents to future employers to land the job, freelance gig, or internship that launches or drives the next step in your career. Think about what that next step is, communicate it with us too – and make sure you take your work in that direction. There is no set formula for an online visual multimedia story. It’s your story and you’ll need to tell it in the way, format, and style that you think best. Your tutors are here to guide you through the process. By now you should well understand online visual storytelling and it’s many formats but please see previous Term 3 projects for examples of the nature of assignments and the standard expected. We are also open to lots more diversity and innovation.

PREVIOUS STORIES/PROJECTS

Made with Padlet

Made with Padlet

 

LEAD TUTORS

In T3 students are split into two groups and will be assigned a ‘lead tutor’ – either Sharron or Rongfei to supervise your progress and deliver regular, high-quality advice, support, and direction in your quest for academic excellence. Your lead tutor will also approve your pre-production brief. You will still maintain contact with both tutors and occasionally tutors will switch groups – to provide ‘fresh eyes’ on work.

Your lead tutor will give timely feedback and guidance for the pre-production, production and post-production stages of your work. They will guide you, where possible, to some extra sources of information, project inspirations, methodologies and techniques relevant to your work. (Often by tagging you on Facebook Group posts – so please check in regularly). They may also direct students to specific online training or tutorials for self-study.

You will be expected to hit interim deadlines on time and to specified requirements. You will also be expected to maintain contact via emails and tutorials. The frequency and nature of these communications will vary but usually, you are required to submit work for feedback each and every two weeks. Often times you will also be required to complete a ‘mini assignment’ (Such as making a treatment, watching a tutorial, etc). Tutors endeavor to feedback in a timely manner – typically within 72 hours.

Where students are not content with any aspect of their supervision they are encouraged to address problems as soon as possible through discussions with their lead tutors or the course leader. If necessary they should pursue a complaint through the formal student complaints procedure.

FAQs for Term 3:

What do I need to prepare for and during the Term 3 Pre-production weeks?

17th May

  • Come to the class for a verbal introduction from Rongfei

20th May

  • Submit a 250-word story pitch via email thread that will be sent to you on Sunday evening. Please let us know if you would like to work with a partner. Partnerships will need to be approved and the process is more stringent than in Term 3.

21st May

  • Come to the class for a verbal introduction from Cong Yan for your dissertation. Cong Yan will also conduct focus group tutorials to support your pitch and PB development.
  • You will be assigned a lead tutor by Wednesday – should you need to speak with them urgently please be in touch.

30th May

  • Complete all sections of your Term 3 Production Brief.
  • We also advise you to map your issue using this form as an example and create your own form relevant to your project IMMJ SMW Follow & Monitor
  • Start your online digital research page
  • Submit all three to your lead tutor (via email thread)

Please note your story needs to be MULTIMEDIAVISUAL and ACCESSIBLE, it also needs to have NEWS VALUE. Your story needs to be ‘MULTIMEDIA’ in that it must combine two or more media forms. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). At least one of your chosen media forms has to be VISUAL. (photography, video, audio, text, graphics). You could not, for example, combine only audio and text. Your chosen mediums will depend on your story and how you think best to tell that story. Your story has to be ACCESSIBLE if you haven’t already secured access and access cannot easily be sought then you will need to embark on a different story. There is no time to waste setting up access that may never materialize.

NOTE. You will also need a social engagement plan. That might be releasing images on Instagram, making behind the scenes videos for Facebook, or curating a relevant Twitter feed. Think back to your Social Media Week session in Term 1.

Can I spend the first few weeks of Term 3 figuring out and researching my story and trying to secure access?

NO. You have two pre-production weeks. From week three, you need to start fieldwork.

Term 3 fieldwork will commence on the week beginning the 3rd June. That means you need to be ‘in production’ (shooting or interviewing). Use the pre-production weeks to complete initial research and secure access. There is simply no time to waste, quality work takes time and energy. You will make mistakes and you will face unexpected challenges and problems during your reporting. (it’s never a smooth run). Only by starting the reporting process early and working consistently will you manage to overcome these challenges and be fully prepared for edit month. Note you have 8 reporting weeks and 4 editing weeks. Edit month is a critical final stage strictly for polishing and editing and making the work shine on your chosen platform. You will need to come to the first week of edit month with a high-quality rough draft complete and uploaded to your URL. If you think you can still report during edit month and scrimp on the editing stage you will do yourself and your work a disservice. You won’t leave with a portfolio that gets you to the next stage. It takes a full month of hard work to get long-form features from rough cut to the polished professional stage expected for the MA. More details re-edit month to come soon. Sharron and Rongfei will be on hand in the classroom for selected days during the edit month to help you on an individual basis.

How many days am I expected to work?

Every project is unique we cannot dictate exactly how you spend or manage your own time. However, there are some basic minimum requirements on time commitment and you’ll need to log your work time clearly in the diary section of the project form.

40 hours a week – You need to spend 40 hours a week planning, reporting, editing, transcribing, experimenting with new tools or platforms, practicing new techniques, filming, interviewing and working on your dissertation, etc. You will also, of course, need to keep reading and researching as you go along.

20 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing – Out of 8 reporting weeks, we expect you to spend a minimum of 20 x 8-hour days ‘on the ground’ shooting and interviewing. Other days are for research, setting up interviews, practice, editing, working on your platform, etc. Please highlight your 20 on the ground’ shooting and interviewing days in your diary by highlighting the text in RED.

How long does my video/text need to be? Quality, not quantity!!!

This question is nonsensical, as explained and demonstrated many times there are no set formulas for digital visual multimedia stories. Bear in mind, you are aiming to produce professional multimedia stories, just like you would see online at quality major media outlets. You will notice that few stories take longer than 20 or 30 minutes to view – and in most cases, we believe this is a good guideline. Stories from start to finish should take no longer than 20 or 30 minutes to consume. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, some of your stories or projects may be much shorter and some much longer. We are absolutely open to exceptions but you must discuss these ideas with your tutors early on.

You should be aiming for quality, not quantity. We do not want to see ‘multimedia encyclopedias’ or ‘student looking’ projects we are looking for professional standard digital visual multimedia stories akin to those that you would see in international English-language media outlets. Your stories will be engaging, have news value, be beautifully produced with a great user experience for your chosen target audience.

Caution: Don’t ask Sharron how many videos you should have or how long your video should be. Think of your project as a cohesive whole.

How do I get feedback as I go along? & Editing as you go along…

You will need to do some rough editing as you go along in the forms of transcribing and translating interviews, rough video, picture, text and graphics edits, etc. You should as early as possible be working on your live platform URL. Of course, there will be placeholders for content – as you won’t have produced your actual real content but designing and playing with your layout and platform early on is critical. You should have some ideas about how you want your multimedia story to look and feel from the beginning. Playing with it online at all stages means that narrative flow and user experience will be part of your thinking from the beginning stages.

Why do I need to keep a diary and how do I use it?

The Reflective Diary has been moved to the research module. For the Production Brief, you need to simply and clearly log your work days and hours. The Diary in your Theory form is a place for you to reflect on your story, interviews, focus, practice, ethics your own journey, development, and learning and anything related to your Term 3 project. Writing your thoughts down can bring clarity. These reflections will also be useful when writing your final dissertation.

When should I start thinking about my platform and final design and layout?

Day 1.

“Put multimedia planning at the top of your workflow, not stitched onto the end.”

Digital visual multimedia stories are not a collection of media assets they are a combination of media assets selected to tell a specific story in a specific way. I simply can’t make the point any better than this brilliant post on Shorthand’s ‘The Craft’ blog.

“True visual storytelling places the layout and treatment at the heart and start of things – second only to the actual story itself.”

“So at the beginning of a project, everyone should come together – writers, editors, photographers, video journalists, data journalists – to get into the detail of the story, understand the resources available, and consider how best to tell the story across media. Only then should anyone in that team embark on gathering the materials, and writing the text.”

Of course in your case, you are the team, or at most you’ll have one partner. However, the necessity to plan how you will tell and combine your mediums from the very beginning remains the same. If you don’t have a solid idea at what you ultimately want to achieve, you have little chance of success. Your story and details may change along the way, but the look and feel of your story will remain largely the same and should be considered from Day 1.

Can I use some of my Term 2 work in my Term 3 project?

Yes, you can, you need to evolve, develop and extend your Term 2 work but you may incorporate your Term 2 reporting and visuals into your Term 3 work.

What happens if I fail Term 2?

Your final Term 2 stories will be marked and preliminary grades with written feedback given back to you within 3 working weeks. Those grades will then be externally moderated and finalized at UoB exam boards in  June. Should you fail by a small margin you will still commence to Term 3 with your peers, but you will need to make minor necessary changes and resubmit work on a refer status in July 2018. Should you fail by a large margin you will need to make substantial changes and submit Term 2 again on a refer status in July 2018. You will move to a resit or refer status and may need to delay Term 3.

Do you have any further questions at this stage? Please write to me via email or group Wechat I’ll answer them the best I can. 

PRE-PRODUCTION WEEKS

Pre-production Week 1 – Pitch your story. You will need to secure access to a visual story, (which should be a continuation of one of your Term 2 assignments). You may change topic but this will create more work and more risk, so you’ll need to work hard and fast to secure access and consider how to tell your new story. A continuation building on a Term 2 assignment is often likely to yield better results.

Pre-production Week 2 – Complete your PB and submit for approval.

Please use the new Production Brief: production-brief-IMJ7005-2018-19

PRODUCTION WEEKS (8 weeks)

Production Week 1

  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc

Production Week 2 (Interim Deadline) Submit Mini-Assignment: 12th June)

  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
  • Submit your mini assignment on 12th June to your lead tutor. By this week you’ll have had more time to observe and get to know your story – so you’ll be in a position to really fix the visual opportunities and your mini assignment is designed to help.
  • MINI-ASSIGNMENT!!! Listen to this podcast. Listen to the point Jonah Kessel makes about ‘following action’. Many of you will produce a long-form video/documentary as a major story component. With eight production weeks — most of you should all be able to capture engaging ‘live’ scenes – where things are actually happening… think about your live scenes now! Write down potential ‘live scenes’ and email them to your lead tutor. You might also include some in your key ‘shot list’ in your style & methodology section.
  •  Listen to the podcast at https://soundcloud.com/multi-media-week/mmw-56
  • See more of Jonah’s work at @jonahkessel / www.jonahkessel.com.
  • Mike Davis’ Three Commandments of Multimedia (Referred to in the podcast and an interesting follow-up read)
  • *Please note. Not every short-form video requires action scenes. Perhaps you are doing something more stylized in approach. Of course, this is totally fine, but then you will need to clearly outline your visual approach in the style & methodology section.
Production Week 3 (Tutorials)
  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
  • Tutorials with your lead tutor (Monday & Tuesday)

Production Week 4 (interim deadline Submit Mini Assignment)

  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
  • Monday 18th JUNE MINI-ASSIGNMENT! (Estimated time 3 hours)
  • If video is a major story component write a ‘Video Treatment’be sure to include potential ‘live-action scenes’ too. 
  • You can find out what a video treatment is at DOCUMENTARY TIP #7: Writing a Strong Treatment. This is also worth a watch https://vimeo.com/9992731If you’d like to see a pitch example from me – here’s one I made earlier: India’s Poisoned Villages (Please do not share).
Production Week 5 (interim deadline Submit Assets Online for feedback and/or tutorials)
  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
  • 1st JULY (interim deadline) Tutors will want to see tangible assets online at this point. You might include interview transcripts, a gallery of images, a rough cut of a video, a subtitled interview…. whatever best helps us to understand what you have been reporting and capturing in the field.
  • You’ll also need outlines for all media
  • There will be either written feedback or Tutorials (remote via We-chat or face to face in Beijing). Tutors will look at your work prior and hold scheduled feedback or tutorials.
Production Week 6
  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
Production Week 7 (Interim Deadline) Individually tailored + Mini assignment
  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc
  • MINI-ASSIGNMENT!(Estimated time 3 hours)
  • Please refer to the IMMJ-MA CODE OF ETHICS. Thoroughly revise your ethics section in light of a) the practical work you have done so far b) the research you have done so far 
  • 15th July (Interim Deadline) Selected assets online at your project/story digital platform URL. There should be some semblance of how your final project may look with placeholders for assets etc. Your lead tutor will advise what they expect to see at this point. 
  • Also, Re-upload your revised project form and ensure that diary sections are complete.  Your ethics section must now be in perfect order and revised in light of this weeks mini-assignment. 
Production Week 8
  • Reporting / filming / shooting / editing / research / creating digital platform etc

Prep for Edit Month Week

  • Send us your nut graph this week
  • You’ll need to spend this week organizing your assets for edit month so that you can hit the classroom running on Monday. 
  • ESSENTIAL: All assets: transcribed, logged and organized for edit. All audio synched. Platforms built (with place holders where necessary). We should be able to go into your hard drive and find all assets for your story perfectly organized and easy to work with in a logical folder structure.
  • IDEAL: Video paper-cuts complete and draft scripts are also written
  • Please note come to the first day of Edit Month well prepared with your full project online and your hard drive of assets well logged and organized. We need to be able to see how the full project looks and all content text/ video/images/graphics will need to be in place in a draft form. Videos will need to have a strong narrative structure at this point – with a clear beginning, middle end and clear meaning and news value. You should also have folders of assets ready and organized and at hand on your computer or hard drive so that tutors can look at raw content as needed. For example, you should include items such as a folder of translated transcribes of all your interviews (for text and video); a folder of your raw video footage; a folder of all selected images; a folder of graphics and the sources you have used to create those graphics. Your digital research page containing key factual and contextual information. Your work needs to be well organized for us to help you if it isn’t we can’t support you. 

Editing weeks (4 weeks)

Sharron returns to Beijing on mid-August and will be on hand in class for 3 days each week. Specific dates TBC. You are expected to spend the Edit weeks in Beijing and some days each week editing in class so that Sharron and SeRongfein can support your editing process.

The edit weeks are where you take your work from rough cut stage to The Polish Edit and thenThe Final Cut that you will submit. 

The edit month works the same way a professional edit works at a news organization. The process works as a cycle of review & feedback & revision. If you do not come to edit month properly prepared with your assets well logged and organized and leave things to the last moment the process won’t work and you risk failing the module. We see this happen every year – make sure it’s not you! 

Edit Week 1 (interim deadline) 1st Rough Cut

  • Friday 9th August (Interim Deadline)

    ESSENTIAL: Drafts are fully complete and on the platform. All assets are complete. If there are still pickups to do, such as a final expert interview to wrap up the text reporting, or a final piece of footage to gather leave a note in your draft to clarify. The drafts at this point are good enough for external professionals to take a look and advise.

Edit Week 2 

  • Critique focus groups with external visiting lecturers for all students with quality rough cuts.
  • Please note students who do not have a quality and complete rough cut for all media assets will not access support from visiting lectures as we need to maximize time for students hitting deadlines. Visiting Lectures need to be able to see the work to critiques it.
  • Second full quality rough cuts due by the end of week

 

Edit Week 3

  • Deadlines are individual at this stage
  • Polish Edit due by the end of week

 

Edit Week 4

  • Deadlines are individual at this stage
  • This week you’ll be in class from Monday to Wednesday for focus groups and user testing

Presentations

  • Alongside your body of work, you are also required, during the assessment week, to deliver a face to face summative assessment where you present your final advanced body of practice. You will have 10 minutes to present that folio to a panel of tutors and discuss the merits and shortcomings. Tutors may ask questions about your work and processes, especially the decisions you took and basis and rationales for those decisions. This assessment supports tutors in their final marking of the practical work.

 

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