A video production curriculum can look very different district to district, and many of us simply design our own.

Even within one classroom, the types of projects you give your student can vary, and different skills can be attained. But what are the most essential skills to attain before leaving TV/video class? Last year, I taught an advanced TV/video class of students with varied experience levels. To make sure that they could leave my class at the end of the semester equipped to handle film school or the professional set, I distributed this survey and adjusted my projects as needed. This truly helped give me a better perspective into what my students had attained in earlier classes, and what knowledge needed more reinforcement. I hope it will help you improve your program as much as it helped me improve mine!

Please put a number in front of the following between 1 and 5. 5 means you feel extremely confident in this skill. 1 means that you have no idea how to perform this skill.

Do you know....


-How to write a logline
-Identify three act structure and write it
-How to write a screenplay
-How to write a shot list
-How to write a contract/agreement with cast/crew AND your client
-How to effectively/thoughtfully utilize art department (warddrobe/sets/props)
-How to audition/choose actors and crew
-How to choose a location
-How to schedule an hour-by-hour/scene-by-scene film shoot that makes the most use of everyone's time
-How to rehearse effectively
-How to feed your crew


-how to direct actors/crew and respect them and their time
-how to use an external microphone and/or boom pole properly, and how to check for effective sound
-how to frame shots and composition, effective cinematography
-how to light a scene properly using natural light or artificial light
-how to film COVERAGE/sequencing (unless your name is Quentin Tarantino or you're in the band OKGo, one angle/one take of a scene that doesn't change is NOT acceptable).
-how to film b-roll and single/reverse angles/sequencing
-managing continuity and avoiding “movie mistakes” on screen
-how to record room tone
-how to film over a green screen (and light it properly)

POST-PRODUCTION (specifically Adobe Premiere)

-how to import footage (finding it on the camera, transferring it onto the computer, and transferring it into Premiere)
-how to make an in/out point
-how to add transitions and/or filters
-how to add/edit/stylize titles, lower thirds, and credits (in an aesthetically pleasing way)
-how to lock/unlock a track
-how to edit a conversation scene over two tracks (multi-track editing)
-how to use multiple tracks effectively
-how to make a new sequence/timeline
-how to mute a track
-how to do basic color correction
-how to add in/match audio recorded from an external audio recording device
-how to speed up/slow down a clip
-how to use chroma keys to key out a color (such as green or blue)
-how to export just a portion of your timeline
-how to export your entire video and find it on the computer once it's exported


-how to create a YouTube/vimeo channel
-how to create a professional “sizzle” or cinematography reel of your work
-how to promote your videos on social media (Twitter/Instagram/Snapchat)

chrispy 200Chris Pierdomenico is a teacher of television/video production & journalism at Oxford Area High School in Oxford, Pennsylvania. He has also written, directed, produced and edited numerous short films and videos over the last decade. He is the creator of DorkDaily.com, a sketch comedy/entertainment review site and the co-founder of Delco Film Festival, which is currently in its fourth year.


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