Audiovisual Report/Documentary

This assignment is in three parts, the
pitch, the script, and the video.  You must have an approved pitch before starting on your video.

For our audiovisual media project, we're going to be creating a video that we could submit to ABC News' "Roving Reporter" content, a contest specifically for reporting news that occurs on or influences campus life.  The description from ABC News' site is below.

ABC News On Campus wants to see YOUR reporting. Submit video, pictures or stories here and your work could be featured on or on TV. You must be a student attending an accredited college. Please keep in mind that all text stories must be between 800 -1100 words. Please make sure that your video is no longer than 3 minutes. If you're submitting a still photo, we require at least 531 x 411 pixels for horizontal images and at least 411 pixels in height for vertical images. Photos should be at least 72 dots per inch (DPI). All videos should include a specific sig out at the end: "For ABC News On Campus, I'm [your name here.]"

There is a video describing the contest at this address.  Please watch it for further clarification of the project's requirements.  Do your research here.  Know your competition and peers.  Find out more about at last year's winner (and watch her videos! links are in the story).   Check out ABC News' On Campus section in some detail.  Read about On Campus reports who one Hearst Awards.  You get the point.

A few quick rules from the video:
A few rules particular to our class:
The library has some decent HD camcorders available if you need to check one out.  Plan accordingly.

1. The Pitch

What sort of story would you like to do?  It needs to be newsworthy.  It needs to be doable.  That is, "I want to interview the governor on legalizing marijuana!" might not be the best topic.  It needs to be something with a clear hook that will make [web] surfers watch and ABC News want to put it on their site.  Better yet, it needs to be something that will uniquely bring viewers in to ABC News' television broadcast, as that's where your stories could end up.

NOTE: Do not begin filming and editing until you've had your pitch approved in writing (email or paper) by your instructor.

Here are some questions to cover during your story pitch.
  1. What is the story's hook?  Tell us your subject, but frame it in a way that maximizes interest.
  2. Who is your intended audience?
  3. What sort of access will you need to...
  4. How do you plan to gain that access?
  5. What equipment will you need to film and edit your story?
  6. How do you plan to have access to that equipment?


Deliverables should be attached to an email with a subject that includes your name and "AV Pitch" in the title.
  1. Your pitch, in pdf format, written in 10-12pt Times News Roman, 1" margins.
  2. Your pitch should include some means of getting touch with you!  (Email's fine for this.)
There is no absolute guideline for length, but make sure you answer these questions effectively, in complete sentences.  Preliminary storyboards, other sources on the same topic, and other visual or textual support is encouraged.  You may want to view existing ABC News On Campus videos (here's a recent one) for ideas and a feel for what's published to the site.

2. The Script

Once your story is approved, you'll need to start drafting a script.  You might start with storyboards to explain what you'll be doing.  Some stories, like those that include interviews, might be difficult to completely script ahead of time.

  1. After watching some ABC On Campus videos, decide which of your three topics seems the most promising. 
  2. Draft a two-column script for your topic. 
  3. Think about what sort of resource you'd like to interview, and include this in your draft
  4. Using Audacity, read through your script several times to ensure you're both using most of your three minutes and that you're not going over.
As before, make sure your script is approved in writing before you start filming and editing your video.  The only exceptions are those where you need to grab some timely, raw footage of an event.  Understand that you may not be able to use this footage in your final project if your topic has to be changed, but don't miss the chance to secure that footage if you might need it!

NOTE: Don't worry if you end up having to change your script for your final video.  You'll want to minimize changes, but if you have to make a change, that's fine.


Deliverables should be attached to an email with a subject that includes your name and "AV Script" in the title.
  1. Your script, in pdf format, written using our two column template.
  2. An mp3 of your final test reading from step 4.
  3. Your script should also include who you are.  Make sure it includes your name!

3. The Video

We've discussed how to make a video a bit when Seth Mulliken.  Mr. Mulliken told me that he's had a student submit to the Roving Reporter contest and have their submission accepted (and run), and the hint was that the production values have to be very high.  The most important way to ensure you have high production values are to secure an HD camera with a miniDV tape and to use good microphones.  Both are available at D.H. Hill, but may be in short supply!

We will have two production days in class where we introduce ourselves to Microsoft Movie Maker (Oct. 5 and 7), and this will give you a chance to edit your footage.  You will want to have your interview or some other significant portion of your video "in the can" before these dates to ensure you have something productive to edit!  If you don't bring your own video, you'll have to edit some stock video that you won't be able to use in your final video.  Don't let this time go to [relative] waste.


In this case, your deliverables should be delivered on a CD or DVD-R as files (as opposed to a mastered DVD with menus, etc).  If you're unware of how to burn DVD-R's, please contact your instructor ASAP.
  1. Your video in an acceptable format (.dv, some .mov or .avi; we will discuss in our workshops).
  2. A "wrap-up" paper of approximately 500-750 words describing your choices in the video.
Please place both files on your DVD or CD.  Put your name on your disc and paper.


You will be graded on the form and content of your work. A project that merely meets the requirements will receive a letter grade of "B." In order to receive a letter grade of "A," your project must present your story in a way that is engaging for the viewer/listener and demonstrate your mastery of the necessary skills required to do so.