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The Labs’ October Workshop: The Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge

Hi, everyone, it’s Corey here with more information about The Labs (Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh’s digital media lab program just for teens) and our featured October program: The Scary Story Filmmking Challenge.

Each month, The Labs will offer a featured workshop based on a theme or subject. This month that theme is filmmaking, and, since it’s October, we’re focusing on horror movies in our Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge (dates, times, and locations of all Labs programming can be found here).

The workshops started last week, but there’s still time to stop by your favorite Labs location (hours and locations here) to join in. Teens who take part in the Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge will work on crafting one scene of a scary movie as well as a trailer to advertise their film.

Perhaps the most exciting part of each month’s themed Labs workshop is that, if you complete the program (like, this month, if you make a scary movie and learn how to use our equipment and software) you’ll earn a badge! What’s the badge? Well, it’s like a merit badge, but it allows you to stop by The Labs and use our equipment and software on your own. It shows that we know you’ve got the basics down and you are now allowed to use our gear with little supervision–basically we’re saying we trust you. Back to this month’s project.

So, last week, Andre and Molly were mostly brainstorming with teens at our Allegheny, South Side, East Liberty, and Main (Oakland) libraries, watching clips from classic horror movies and discussing basic filmmaking skills of composition (the way you actually frame a shot or what your camera is pointed at).

Want to get up to speed? Try watching this video from Substream’s Film Lab for a great beginner’s tip and maybe Google some classic horror movie scenes while you’re at it. The Scary Story Filmmaking Challenge will run for the rest of the month!


The Rule of Thirds – The Rule of Thirds is super important. It’s a basic rule of composition that’s been used in painting, photography, and filmmaking by masters in each of those disciplines. You simply imagine that your screen or canvas is divided into three sections both vertically and horizontally. Now, when you frame your shot (in the case of filmmaking and photography) you will want to align objects that deserve special attention along the areas where two of your imaginary vertices intersect. Confusing? Just watch the video–they’re better at explaining it than I am.

- Corey, Digital Learning Librarian

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