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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 Digital Media 3rd/Elective Class:  + Animation or Design or Film


Instructor: Matt Taylor

Email: or
Voicemail: 650-940-7486

Junior Projects


1st Quarter

Visual Narrative
2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

(1st required class)


Short Story or Play
and 1984 Today

Expository Essay, Magazine Article or Book

Cover Letter for Junior Portfolio

Digital Media
(2nd required class)

Photography, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, After Effects, Websites

Pro Tools, Audition, SFXs,
Illustrator, Augmented Reality Animation

Reason, InDesign, Intermediate After Effects,
Photoshop, Illustrator, & more AR

Industrial Art: Laser Engraving, Embroidery, & 3D Printing, Junior Portfolio

(3rd elective class)

Conceptual Art &
Surreal Art

Character Development Illustrations

Documentary Hardbound Book

Explore a Topic of Your Choice

(3rd elective class)

Exquisite Corpse Animated Poem

Short Story:
Visual Narratives no dialogue

Animated Documentary

Explore a Topic of Your Choice

(3rd elective class)

Experimental Film

Narrative Short Film

Documentary Film

Explore a Topic of Your Choice

Senior Projects


1st Quarter

Narrative Perspectives
2nd Quarter

3rd Quarter

4th Quarter

(1st required class)

Personal Essay & Lyrical Essay

Research Paper

Humor & Podcasting

Presentation Skills
Senior Showcase Presentation

Digital Media
(2nd required class)

Premiere Pro, Pro Tools, Audition,&
Web Coding: HTML/CSS/JavaScript

Foley, Intermediate After Effects, Augmented Reality Animation

Laser Engraving, Embroidery, & Advanced Audio/Music Production, Advanced After Effects

Senior Porfolio & Showcase

(3rd elective class)

Diptych, BW HDR Photography

Marketing/Branding Packet

Zenith Design


(3rd elective class)

3D Geometry
Augmented Reality

3D Animation:
Action-Reaction Scene

Zenith Animation


(3rd elective class)

Video Essay

Narrative 2 Film

Narrative 2 Film and Zenith Film



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.


Film I


  • 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 understanding developing effective film language. Through analysis and critique, students learn to effectively tell a story with image and sound using film language and established story structures. Students work individually and in groups to write, develop, and produce experimental, narrative, and documentary film stories. Stories are written and developed in class through pitch, student presentation, and storyboard. Stories are produced on location using DSLR cameras, professional lights and remote sound equipment. Students learn basic editing skills using industry standard technology. Film I introduces students to film theory through readings, screenings and student presentations.


Film 1 Projects

Project 1 - Conceptual

For the Conceptual Project, Juniors develop their abstract thinking and communication skills to answer the question,

"How can I use unconventional forms to express myself?"

This project emphasizes creative risk-taking through poetry, music, art, animations, experimental film and web production, challenging students to express their opinions through a distinct personal aesthetic. Students begin developing their technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Animate, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Pro Tools, Autodesk Maya, and Google Apps.


In Film (for Film students only), you will:

What's new? Everything!





Examples - 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Project 2 - Visual Narrative

The Visual Narrative Project asks Juniors,

How well can you visually tell a structured story?"

Beginning with an exploration of prose fiction and the graphic novel, students practice communicating character and story arc through descriptive storytelling, comic design, storyboards, films, and animations. Students deepen their technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Animate, Adobe Premiere Pro, Apple Final Cut Pro, Avid Pro Tools, Autodesk Maya, and Google Apps.

In Film (for Film students only)

What's new? You will learn production techniques for effective narrative point of view and continuity. You will study how film directors manipulate the passage of time. You will learn how to create an effective pitch and treatment. You will develop your narrative through storyboarding and directing strategies for effective production. And you will use professional editing software to establish continuity.


Examples - 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007

Project 3 - Documentary

For the Junior Documentary Project, students will portray an intriguing person, group, place, idea, or issue, gathering primary and secondary research sources to develop a distinct perspective about their subject’s significance in the community and/or world. The research-based paper from English serves as the copy for the magazine article in Design and a film, commercial, and website. This unit emphasizes narrative-style journalism.

In Film (for Film students only), you will use Premiere Pro/Final Cut Pro, Canon T6i, and the Tascam DR-05 recorder to

What's new? You will use a prosumer camera and learn more advanced tools to create cinematic, sophisticated shots.  You will learn how to develop your subject's story, using narrative structure within the context of a broader social or political issue. When appropriate, you will use Adobe After Effects for visual interest.


Examples - 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014A, 2014B, 2013A, 2013B, 2012A, 2012B, 2011A, 2011B, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007


Examples of previous units with different conceptual and technical emphasis - 2011, 2010, 2009

Project 4 - Explorations

For the Explorations Project, all Junior Freestyle students will explore his/her own passion and improve upon a particular skill set that addresses 21st Century Skills. Ultimately, each student will share his/her exploration with classmates as their Semester 2 Final. Students will have production time in all classes to complete this project.


  1. All productions must ultimately become digital so that we can have a digital archive of your work to share with the world on our website.

  2. Topics are self-chosen but must address one of our 21st Century Skills - see below.

  3. In English, you will research your topic. You are required to create a visual representation of your research (such as an Illustrator infographic) and present to the class digital documentation of your process developing your chosen skill.

    Archives infographics from 2018 | 2017 | 2016

  4. During Finals, we will all share and celebrate your newly learned skill and learn more about you and your passion(s). Each student will, at the very least, share his/her infographic and final production(s) to an audience of teachers and classmates. All students will create a presentation to use for the presentation and to also document the Explorations Project.

    Archived presentations from 2018 | 2017 | 2016



Junior Daily Agenda


Film II


  • 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

Length: 1 year

Credits: 10 Units

UC/CSU: Yes "f"


Course Description:

Film II introduces new advanced techniques in film language and cinema. Students practice heavier analysis of film techniques, story genres, and character archetypes to further the creation of their own narratives. Heavy attention is given to screenwriting, dialogue, character arc, and story development. Advanced cinematography techniques are discussed and practiced including, composition, color, blocking, and lighting. Students collaborate on exercises and advanced narrative projects, modeling these specific film conventions. Film II further elaborates on film theory through readings, screenings and student presentations.


Film II Projects

Project 5 - Reflection

The Reflections Project challenges Seniors to explore a question that is at once simple and deeply complex:

"Who am I?"

Experimenting with personal as well as lyrical essay forms, students develop insights about their experiences and identities before translating those ideas visually in an HDR photography diptychs, video essays, websites, and short animations. Students deepen their technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, After Effects, Premiere Pro, Avid Pro Tools, Apple Final Cut Pro, Autodesk Maya, Propellerhead Reason, and Google Apps.

In Film (for Film students only), you will use Premiere Pro, Canon T6i, and the Tascam DR-05 recorder to

  • Produce a 2-3 minute Video Essay based on English writing
  • What it is


What's new? You will use a DSLR camera and learn more advanced tools to create cinematic, sophisticated shots. When appropriate, you will use Adobe After Effects for visual interest.


Examples - 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011

Project 6 - Narrative Perspectives

The Narrative Perspectives Project asks Seniors,

"How well can you tell a dialogue-driven story?"

By exploring various narrative points of view and experimenting with dialogue in their story writing, students develop more advanced storytelling techniques and ideas they apply in the creation of book jacket designs, screenplays, films, animations, trailers, and websites. During this project, Seniors also experiment using photography to explore dreamlike narratives in a unit on Surrealism. Students deepen their technical communication skills by learning a variety of modern professional equipment and applications such as studio strobe photography, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Dreamweaver, Adobe Premiere Pro, Adobe After Effects, Avid Pro Tools, Propellerhead Reason, Apple Final Cut Pro, Dragonframe, Autodesk Maya, and Google Apps.

In Film (for Film students only), you will use advanced pre-production, production, and post-production techniques to

What's new? You will learn advanced cinematography and lighting techniques, learn how to make films look more cinematic, learn moving camera techniques, study film theory, and when appropriate, use Adobe After Effects for visual interest.


Examples - 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010

Project 7 - Zenith

The purpose of the Senior Zenith Project is to ignite your passion and elevate your skills and experiences to create your ultimate and most successful Freestyle project.

For all classes, you will complete the following between mid-November and end-of-April:

  • Choose your own project topic and form based on your passion, skills, and experiences.
  • Use the research process and writing to explore, plan, and reflect on your project in a 5-7 page research paper and reflective post-project addendum.
  • Write a proposal for approval by your Production Teacher, including:
    • Your own timeline of achievement goals (including scheduling and incremental deadlines)
    • How you will use at least all eight Freestyle 21st Century Skills to develop your project
    • A plan for assessment
  • Follow your timeline and produce the media for your project in Animation, Design and Film class. You will still attend English and Digital Media classes as usual.
  • Present your Zenith Project informally to your similar Production Classmates including Juniors in early May. So all Film students will watch Film Zeniths. All Animation students will watch Animation Zeniths. All Design students will watch Design Zeniths. Everyone in each Production Class will vote on the top three presentations. Then on the last day of presentations, the top 9 presentations will be repeated FOR ALL STUDENTS.

Archives (this project started in 2016): 2018, 2017, 2016



During Animation/Design/Film class time, you will work to produce your Zenith Project media that you have planned.

Project 8 - Portfolio Showcase

The purpose of this final Showcase Project is for Senior students to celebrate and demonstrate their growth at Freestyle by presenting information, findings, and supporting evidence to convey a clear and distinct perspective as a digital artist and receive feedback from professionals in a related field to their presentation content. An additional goal is for community professionals to provide feedback about the Freestyle Academy program based on Senior Portfolio Showcase presentations.

Using the professional vocabulary of the mediums, students will communicate a line of reasoning by presenting projects to a professional audience to elicit feedback with

  • Strategic use of digital media - two Freestyle works (optional 1 non-Freestyle work) to feature the development of the artistic process from conception to completion
  • Justify effective choices for meaning or style or design
  • Demonstrate growth/discovery/development of passion, skills, talent, potential


  • Produce a 5-minute presentation through a website, developing a distinct perspective of yourself as a digital artist through evidence of your growth across at least two Freestyle projects (optional 1 non-Freestyle work). Your deadline to have your Wordpress website completed is May 14th, 2018 so that we can send those links to the professionals who will review your work prior to your presentation with the goal of providing you more detailed feedback after your presentation.
  • You will ultimately make your 5-minute presentation to a panel consisting of two community professionals related to your presentation content, a Freestyle teacher, and a panelist member that you choose to invite. All presentations are at Freestyle and are open to the public and you may invite family and friends to be part of the audience for your presentation.
  • Here is the presentation schedule and panelist info.
  • At the end of your presentation, the panelists will take 10 minutes to ask questions and provide you feedback about your presentation. The entire process time is maximum 15 minutes.
  • In your 5-minute presentation, you will display your chosen projects and briefly discuss for each one:
    • Demonstrate the development of the artistic process from conception to completion
    • Justify effective choices for meaning or style or design
    • Demonstrate growth/discovery/development of passion, skills, talent, potential
  • Here is the Showcase Presentation Rubric

English/Design Class - You will develop your outline and you will rehearse your presentation to develop effective pacing, regular eye contact, and clear speaking, and you will use group feedback to revise your outline for content, organization, and professional vocabulary.


Animation/Digital Media/Film Class - You will produce your presentation during class time.


Presentation logistics

  • Presentations will occur simultaneously in each of the 5 classrooms at Freestyle grouped according to content (Film content in Film room, Design content in the Design room, etc.)
  • Each student will be assigned presentation time based on content so that we can provide the appropriate professional panelists for your topic.
  • Each student must invite 1 person to be part of the panel and each student can invite any family and friends to be part of the audience for the presentation.
  • Monday May 21, 2018 - 1st presentation starts at 6 PM
  • Tuesday May 22, 2018 - 1st presentation starts at 6 PM
  • Wednesday May 23, 2018 - 1st presentation starts at 6 PM


Senior Daily Agenda

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
Film 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.