60 Second Docs a great source of inspiration

So there’s this one about twin Mulsim rappers that’s great. There’s the one about the 12-year old who cleans gravestones for fun. Then there’s the one about the dad who sews fashion-forward outfits for his daughter. And that’s just the beginning.

I recently discovered 60 Second Docs, a project of Indigenous Media and a great source of inspiration for student journalists. Since stumbling upon it, I’ve spent way too much time watching the short films, which exemplify tight, powerful video storytelling. And while the name implies the videos are only a minute long (and most are), there are also a few really strong short docs that are a little longer.

Screenshot of 60 Second Docs Youtube video listings page

These are helpful models for several lessons:

  • Interview clip (quote) selection and narrative flow
  • Ambient sound and “texture” in video storytelling
  • B-roll and motion sequences
  • Music: when it helps and when it gets in the way (Some of these have distracting music, in my opinion, which is a good conversation starter.)

We’re doing “of the days” at the beginning of class every day for the next few months, and I’m planning to use several of these as stories of the day. I’m also hoping a few of my multimedia journalists will be willing to try out creating one.

If you’re interested, I’d suggest exploring their offerings on YouTube. Here are a few that I think have great appeal to high schoolers:

Kid Starts Small Business Cleaning Graves

Twin Muslim Rappers Ain’t Afraid

Sewing Dad

Wheelie Boys

Why Not Now?

I haven’t had a chance to watch them all, so if you find another good one, drop a link in the comments, and I’ll check it out.

One more thing. For what it’s worth, I actually found 60 Second Docs through Instagram, not YouTube, so the model is definitely social media friendly and could be a good way to do some meaningful storytelling on your social platforms where your readers already are.

Michelle Balmeo

Michelle Balmeo, MJE, is the adviser of The Whirlwind newsmagazine and online news publication at West Albany High School in Albany, Ore. She's done some print stuff, some video stuff, and some web stuff over the past 16 years as a student media adviser.

Michelle Balmeo has 66 posts and counting. See all posts by Michelle Balmeo

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