As described by Asatuurs Keim of Studio From The Sky
First, view the film
What were you trying to achieve with ‘No Regrets’?
With any project I work on, I usually start with storytelling. I think of the project as a story. It doesn’t matter if it’s advertising or a feature film or any other project. What we are trying to do is, by visual means, showing pictures and using sound is to create an emotional experience. To me, learning should be and probably has to be an emotional experience.
Usually learning materials are quite dry. When you open Instagram and you see teenagers’ posts and you see straight away ‘I hate school’ or something like that, that’s what I try to think about.
Learning doesn’t have to be like that. There are different ways of teaching and different ways of receiving the information and film-making is the most amazing teaching tool. Obviously I strongly believe that film-making needs to be incorporated into the learning experience. If you do it right, it will help a lot.
The main thing always, and the starting point, is a picture that makes sense, a picture that’s part of the bigger story, and it’s like a puzzle.
You put together sound and images. People invest in a story and can relate to characters. The education element is a seamless thing that comes second. Anyone will remember an amazing story so that’s where you put your message.
Do you remember a typical PowerPoint presentation? Usually you don’t, but you would remember the same information if it was incorporated within a film.
Digital learning often suffers from poor visuals. This is something that people like myself, or any film-maker could give to learning – amazing pictures and something that is closer to entertainment. If you can make me interested from the first picture you see on the screen then obviously I will stay to the end and try to understand what’s happening and be interested in it.
I was trying to use cinematic techniques to tell this particular story. It’s kind of a love story with this A and B plot, incorporating something that was potentially dry with something emotionally engaging.
How did you set about designing the film?
The process was like any production – we did location scouting, we did casting, we did everything that we would do in any short film or feature film.
None of the people involved was familiar with the learning process at all and I was the only one who had experience creating learning content. That’s what makes our product a little bit different because film-makers were creating it and as a result it was about art supporting the message.
Who worked with you on this project?
Clive wrote the script. On set we had a sound engineer, a second cameraman, a gaffer for lighting, director, make-up and hair and of course the cast and later we had an editor.
What tools did you use?
4K Red Digital cinema camera
Film-standard lighting kit – HMIs, cineflows, dedolights
Final Cut 10 for editing
How happy are you with the end result?
I find it hard to answer this question. Learners give you positive feedback, but as a film-maker every film is a part of me.
I’m evolving every second, every year and with all the projects I’ve done so far, I get to a point where I look back and want to delete everything I’ve done. It looks good, it does what we wanted it to do and people are happy with it so I’m happy too.
But our next project will be completely different because that’s just how it is. If I said I love it and I wouldn’t change anything then that would mean I’d stopped progressing. The next one will be twenty times stronger and much more beautiful, with helicopter shots and explosions.
Stills from the film
Applying the six characteristics
The offer is two-fold: a look at the training provided in organisations from the perspective of the learner and, just as importantly, a story of a romance that develops from a chance encounter. We would probably have preferred the film to be less long, but the idea is that the storyline will hook you in. Fifteen minutes is a long time for a YouTube video but much shorter than a feature film or TV drama.
The film follows classic storytelling structure. In act 1 we get to know the characters, including the protagonist, James. In Act 2, tension is caused by the difficulties in James’s experience in his new job and his increasing interest in Nicole. Act 3 sees the resolution as James decides to join Nicole in Paris. In doing so, we hope he will have no regrets.
The film is entirely live action with a minimum of additional graphics. We were determined that the story be told in a filmic way and did not come over as a typical training product.
Hopefully, the dialogue is natural sounding. Unlike a feature film, we had very definite training messages to get across alongside the story. We had to make sure these did not appear artificial.
The whole product is a story. That’s the whole point really. Our experience so far is that the story seems to stick in people’s memory along with lessons about blended learning. That’s exactly what we were hoping would be the case.
As a passive medium, film does not require you to be engaged behaviourally. But we do hope that the viewer will be challenged psychologically – enough that they will be inspired to investigate further and share their thoughts with friends and colleagues.
Asatuurs Keim heads up From the Sky