This unit challenges students to produce a simple narrative film, typically their first narrative film complete with music, sound effects, transitions, titles. The unit can include basic lessons on shot types, composition, and match action or it can be a good next-step unit AFTER these skills have been learned.


  • CTE 9.0 Leadership & Teamwork - Students learn leadership skills and work in dynamic groups to make proper production decisions and resolve team conflicts (leadership styles, value of teamwork, school citizenship, community engagement, organization skills, conflict resolution, consensus building).
  • CTE 10.0 Technical Knowledge & Skill - Students demonstrate technical skills and academic vocabulary common to pathways in the Arts, Media, and Entertainment fields.
  • VAPA 2.0 Creative Expression - Students apply artistic processes and technical skills using a variety of formats and genres to communicate meaning and intent of original work.
  • VAPA 5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications - Students apply film production skills across subject areas. Students develop generative skills that include: creativity, problem solving, communication, time management and resource management. Students learn about careers related to the media and entertainment industry.


It's time to translate a simple story into a visual experience that emotionally moves an audience. Here's the story: A person approaches a door to open it when he/she is startled by a mysterious sound. The door is locked. Tension builds as the sound becomes more ominous and the person struggles to get through the door. The film concludes with safe passage and a feeling of safety. As the filmmaker, your goal is to build tension using any visual element or device you can think of.


Period 2    |    Period 4    |    Period 5   |   Period 6

Best Edited of Each Crew
  P2 ... Andrea Munoz  |  Manuel Arrendondo  |  Robert Crotty  |   Christian Santoyo  |  Jovany Figueroa  |  Katie Sanchez
  P6 ... 

    2014-15 playlists

Period 2    |    Period 4    |    Period 5

    2013-14 playlists


  • Logan McEntire - Powerful music and sound effects; great used of matched action; used the small slider in opening shots.
  • Alejandro Campos - Good use of voice over and sound effects. POV.
  • Caleb Briones - BW filter, good music/sound effects, shaky footage needs tripod, watch for the continuity break.
  • Angel McGill - Same footage as Caleb's but cut differently; notice the break in wardrobe continuity.
  • Nick Gonzalez - Nick uses tracking shots, POV, matched action cutting, and a well timed Wilhelm screams to panic the hero. 
  • Alex Contreras - Alex, director, opens the scene with peaceful music framing a bored hero played by Lillian Meza. Alex creates suspense using a perfectly timed reaction from Lillian who sees a creepy shadow scurry past the window. Notice the zoom toward the door handle and the shaky hand reaching for the door. The film ends in suspense by cutting to black.
  • Pablo Lopez - Pablo cut his film using a similar storyline as director Alex Contreras. He adds a twist by showing the hero, Lillian, feeling safe through the door then she mysteriously disappears as shown by the empty seat.
  • Austin Jergins - Austin's crew used special lighting effects and good action music to convey a feeling of panic in his hero. He then uses playful music to convey safety.
  • Michael Barba - Michael adds "camera recorder" overlays, split screen to increase the intensity of fear in his hero. He adds a sudden ending that will chill the audience.
  • Taylor Suggs - Taylor's crew used a fisheye effect to close their scene giving the movie a horrific ending. Taylor made good work of close ups and matched action cuts.
  • Hector Agredano - Hector's crew composed a story outside of the original assignment adding a strong motive for the hero to get pasted the door into a safe area. The angry father closeups add strong visuals to the film allowing the audience to feel his wrath. The film closes with a sudden turn of events with sound effects that leave the audience cringing.
  • Kajsa Garza - Kajsa adds an interesting filter (bad tv & grain) giving the film a horror feel to it. Their crew used an interesting camera shot inside a backpack. The mysterious character behind the door and the snatch and grab are powerful tools to build suspense.
  • Joseph Gojara - Joe builds suspense using mystery. He cuts a nice sequence retrieving keys form a zipped backpack to the keys being snatched to Joe being snatched. 
  • Robert Crotty - Robert and company expanded the script by adding an extra character inside the room trying to communicate to the hero. The phone sound effects and acting are good examples to watch.
  • Michael Flanigan - Michael and crew demonstrate a good set of shots with a POV by our hero out the window. The storyline jumps outside the script by placing a menacing character in our hero's path. The well-timed suspense music does a lot to sell the film.
  • Raul Tejeda - Raul's crew use a wide variety of high/low shots to track the hero's dilemma.
  • Joshua Hay - Josh and crew add suspense with a good use of closeups, timed cuts, and acting. The film closes in suspense as the hero scrambles to get a weapon to protect himself from certain danger. Notice the clever shot from inside the drawer and the tight fearful expression at the end.
  • Megan McElroy - Megan's film shows good cut on action. Her sudden scream and snatch yield a surprise ending.
  • Angelica Medina - Angelica's crew demonstrated a nice arc shot to create confusion and fear in the hero.
  • Mister Smith - Conceptual example envisioned by Mr. Smith