Basic Directing Workhsop

I had my first directing workshop last January 26 and 27, 2008, at the Co-AVR, with the resource speaker Mr. Guiterrez Mangansakan II, a Davao-based film director. The workshop was attended by BSIT and Masscom students taking Video production subjects, CS faculty, and special guests, Mr. Sheron Dayoc and Mr. Al Jacinto. During the two-day workshop, we had fruitful discussions on what and how a film is done and lessons on directing.

Before, film-making is a very expensive job. But today, with the variety of technology that we have, it is possible to make film with any medium. A film basically starts with an idea. Some starts with a question "what if?", and some may have an experience that may lead to an idea. With this idea, we start to make a story and soon, the plot. The script is written by a screenwriter or scriptwriter (some directors are witers at the same time). With the script, the director's job is to put into look the gaze of the story. He has a vision on what the film will look like, and it is his job to tell the story through directing.

Like cells to an organism, film is composed of shots. There are various types of shots. Close-up shots (CU) and Extreme Close-up shots (XCU) are used to focus on the emotions of a character. There are also midi shots that are different with medium shots. Midi is a shot of a character from knees to the space above head (like ones in weather reports), while medium is a shot from waist to head. Long and Extreme long shots are used to establish the setting and mood of the scene. Camera movements are also important, like panning, zooming, tiliting, and some use contraptions like cranes and dolly.

Today, many innovations are used by filmmakers to explore different techniques and styles. As long as they are creative, they could use different combination as possible. But one important point in directing is discipline. As a director, one should be disciplined enough to know the limitations of films.

Anyways, that's just some information that i learned about film language. We also learned to compose a shot. We did a little activity wherein we were asked to draw a shot in a paper. He requested some students to explain their shots and gave feedback and reactions. During the next activity, we grouped ourselves and tried to make a story out of our shots. Different groups had interesting scenes and plots. Some had tragic endings, some had funny scenes. Everyone was very creative.

We also watched some films which are relevant in our discussions. The film Isaak by Nick Deocampo is an interesting short film that started with a painting. The director told a story of a boy who wants to be loved by his father but does not get it. The story is basically an interpretation of the director's past. We also discussed about the film industry in the Philippines. They say it is very commercialized and is now dying, but I don't think so. It is, rather, evolving. Indie films are now very popular and it has been bringing honor in the country, as well as documentaries.

Mr. Sheron Dayoc, a product of Ateneo de Zamboanga, is now a director of films. He was with us during the workshop and we also saw his short film about the Yakans titled Angan-Angan (Dream). Truly, the film industry has been reaching its way to Mindanao. Our speaker, Mr. Gutierrez Mangansakan II, has the advocacy of making Mindanao a breeding ground for directors, who will soon bring the talents, stories, and beauty of Mindanao to the world.

Photos are now available at

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