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Freestyle Academy of Communication Arts & Technology

1299 Bryant Ave, Mt. View, CA 94040 T 650-940-4680   F 650-961-1346
2 Required Classes: English and Design 3rd/Elective Class:  + Animation or Digital Media or Film
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Digital Film Production

Instructor: Matt Taylor

Email: or
Voicemail: 650-940-7486

Expected School-wide Learning Results:


To prepare students to live, learn, and work successfully in today's knowledge-based digital society, our emphasis at Freestyle will be on developing:

  • Visual Literacy - the ability to interpret, use, appreciate, and create images and video using both conventional and 21st century media in ways that advance thinking, decision making, communication, and learning.
  • Technological Literacy - knowledge about what technology is, how it works, what purposes it can serve, and how it can be used efficiently and effectively to achieve specific goals.
  • Creativity - the act of bringing something into existence that is genuinely new, original, and of value either personally (of significance only to the individual or organization) or culturally (adds significantly to a domain of culture as recognized by experts).
  • Self Direction - the ability to set goals related to learning, plan for the achievement of those goals, independently manage time and effort, and independently assess the quality of learning and any products that result from the learning experience.
  • High Productivity - the ability to produce intellectual, informational, or material products that serve authentic purposes and occur as a result of students using real-world tools to solve or communicate about real-world problems. These products include persuasive communications in any media (print, video, the Web, verbal presentation), synthesis of resources into more useable forms (databases, graphics, simulations), or refinement of questions that build upon what is known to advance one's own and others' understanding.
  • Teaming and Collaboration - cooperative interaction between two or more individuals working together to solve problems, create novel products, or learn and master content.
  • Social and Civic Responsibility - the ability to manage technology and govern its use in a way that promotes public good and protects society, the environment, and democratic ideals.
  • Risk Taking - the willingness to make mistakes, advocate unconventional or unpopular positions, or tackle extremely challenging problems without obvious solutions, such that one's personal growth, integrity, or accomplishments are enhanced.

What Is Expected From The Student

Assessment and Grading:

Quarter grades will be determined on the basis of performance on projects and classwork. Each area of evaluation will be weighted as follows:

  • Minor Prep Work = 30%
  • Major Productions = 70%

*Please note: Only semester grades appear on transcripts.

Grades will be assigned on the basis of the following percentages:

  • A 90 to 100%
  • B 80 to 89%
  • C 70 to 79%
  • D 60 to 69%
  • F below 60%

English Classes: Breakdown of Grading and Late Policies for Project and Prep Work:

Grade Book Update Policy:

Grades may be viewed 24/7 through individual online accounts on and will be updated every two weeks or so. Students/Parents will receive grade-viewing info by email.

Daily Assignments:

Daily assignments are determined by tasks needed to achieve project goals. Students are responsible to check assigned tasks on the online daily agenda and end goals and work toward achieving those tasks and goals.

Continuation Policy:

Graduating HS is a very important goal. This requires you to get enough credits for graduation. Passing classes at Freestyle for enough credits is part of that process - especially passing English.

To remain a student at Freestyle:

  1. Each student must achieve a C- or higher each Semester in English and at least one of your other 2 Freestyle classes.
  2. Each student must also achieve a unweighted TGPA of 2.0 or higher each Semester in all your classes at all schools.

Failure to meet these standards will result in being disenrolled at Freestyle because we want you to enroll in classes that you can pass and get enough credits to graduate from high school. Ultimately, Freestyle cannot be the reason why you don't graduate from high school.


Attendance at Freestyle is required of students from 9:30 AM-12:00 PM or 1:00-3:30 PM on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays and also 10:05-11:35 or 1:00-2:30 on Thursdays. Note: Students may receive a failing grade "F" in a class where they accumulate 15 or more unexcused absences.

Make Up Work

Absent students are allotted the same number of absent class days to complete assignments. If a student is absent for extended periods of time, it is the student's responsibility to consult with instructor for make-up work.

Classroom Rules:

Because of the various expensive equipment provided for each student, no eating, drinking and chewing gum will be strictly enforced. Students not in their seats when class begins will receive a tardy. Cheating on any assignment or evaluation will not be tolerated. Any student caught cheating will be given a zero for the item and will be subject to further disciplinary action.


Office hours: 3:30-5 PM everyday or email me at

Open Lab hours throughout the year will be posted online and announced in class.
Lots of information is on the other tabs at the top of the page.


  • The Bare Bones Camera Book for Film and Video
  • Practical DV Filmmaking
  • Understanding Movies
  • The Filmmaker’s Eye

Film Equipment Contract

Class Calendar

Optional Equipment

Prerequisites: None

Length: 1 year

Credits: 10 Units

UC/CSU: Yes "f"

Course Description:

Film I provides an introduction to basic pre-production, production and post-production cinematic technique. Based on story ideas first generated in English and Design, students work in teams to create short documentary, narrative and experimental film stories. Stories are produced on location using DSLR cameras, professional lights and remote sound equipment. Students learn basic editing skills using Adobe Premiere and Final Cut Pro.


  • The Filmmaker’s Eye
  • Shot By Shot
  • Advanced Editing Techniques in Final Cut Pro
  • After Effects Apprentice
  • The Video Cookbook
  • Save the Cat

Film Equipment Contract

Class Calendar

Optional Equipment

Prerequisites: Film I highly recommended

Length: 1 year

Credits: 10 Units

UC/CSU: Yes "f"

Course Description:

Film II introduces new advanced techniques in screenwriting, cinematography, composition, and lighting. Students collaborate on three short documentary, narrative and experimental projects, modeling specific film conventions. In Film II, students perform more advanced editing techniques and use Adobe After Effects to generate text and basic effects. Film II introduces students to film theory through readings, screenings and student presentations.

Film Resources

  1. - Introduction to DSLRs (with Philip Bloom Episode 1)
  2. - Setting up your DSLR (with Philip Bloom Episode 2)
  3. - DSLR Lenses (with Philip Bloom Episode 3)
  4. - Shooting Video with a DSLR (with Philip Bloom Episode 5)
  5. - Recording Sound for DSLRs (with Philip Bloom episode 6)
  6. - Nighttime Shooting with a DSLR (with Philip Bloom episode 8)
  7. - Behind the Glass Part 1: An Intro to Lenses
  8. - Behind the Glass Part 2: Focal Length
  9. - Behind the Glass Part 3: Depth of Field
  10. - 10 Steps to Shooting Your First Interview
  11. - Breaking Down the 180-Degree Rule
  12. - Read real movie sceenplays
  13. - Sound effects library
  14. - Bounce Lighting
  15. - Examples of film shots
  16. - Room Tone & Ambience
  17. - Using a Green Screen
  18. - How to Get the Film Look (Good resource for color grading)
  19. - Timelapse with DSLR - (with Philip Bloom episode 7)
  20. - Zoom vs. Moving Camera
  21. - AfterEffects RotoBrush

Matt Taylor
Digital Film Production Teacher

Matt Taylor

Matt Taylor

Email: or
Voicemail: 650-940-7486

Matt Taylor is a local product of Los Altos and a graduate of Mountain View High School. He received a Bachelors degree in Film and an Associates degree in Film/Television with an emphasis in Animation. He has worked in a variety of roles in the film and video industry including writer, director, editor, camera operator, and actor. His recent experience includes working in sports broadcast for both the San Jose and San Francisco Giants. Prior to teaching, he successfully owned and operated his own video production company catering mainly to private event and corporate work. He is absolutely thrilled to be a part of Freestyle Academy where he has the opportunity to share his passion for film, technology, and storytelling. When he isn't teaching, he enjoys playing baseball, ice hockey, and creating his own comics and cartoons for his website Raccoon Toons. banner