Assignment: Montage

Show a lot of things happening at once,
Remind everyone of what’s going on
And with every shot you show a little improvement
To show it all would take too long
That’s called a montage
Oh we want montage

Your assignment: make a montage. There are many definitions/subsets of “montage,” but the one that we’ll use is “a series of very short shots edited into a 3 – 4 minute sequence to condense space (at least 4 locations), time (ostensibly at least 4 days), and information.”

You’re not necessarily telling a whole story, just making a sequence that shows the passage of time, often with “a little improvement,” as Team America has it, or more generally, just “change.” Something needs to be very different at the end than it was at the beginning.

It may help to imagine the story in which this montage fits, but the only part you need to make is the montage itself. Unless you just have to, use no diegetic sound — unify the whole thing with one piece of music, so you don’t have to deal with editing/syncing audio.

Random ideas: have a twist — set up the idea and then surprise us; do an homage — even copy something shot for shot; use your song as inspiration (c.f., almost any music video); think of your shots as video-only — all audio is the soundtrack; use a film convention (or 2 or 3) as inspiration; get better at cooking; learn how to make something; get better at feeding a baby; get a dog to do a trick; learn how to parallel park; conversely, work at something really hard and fail at it, either comically or tragically. (BTW: No “Rocky” montage music. It’s just too clichéd. Even making fun of it is clichéd.)

Have a least one shot you are proud of technically, maybe a tracking shot, or a rack focus, or an aerial shot, or a match cut, etc. Montages are almost all quick cuts, 30+ per minute, so there should be very few long takes. Try to mix up the shots – close-up, medium, long, etc. Note: although maybe 20 seconds can be time lapse / stop motion, the bulk of your piece needs to be a traditional montage.

Please give your final film some ease on both ends — maybe fade from and to black; maybe have credits; please begin and end audio purposefully.