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Be Cine With Popplet: 5 Visual Thinking Strategies For Film-Makers, Film Students and Film Lovers

Visual thinking strategies are fast becoming a necessity for creative professionals, businesses and students. Having a way to organize ideas visually helps create stunning infographics, tell compelling stores, show previously hidden or obscure connections, and better memorize information!

Lately, we have noticed a growing number of film studies students, budding film-makers, and film lovers making use of the Popplet app. It inspired us to consider how starting with a film subject can help anyone develop visual thinking strategies using Popplet.

Adding videos to your Popplets (along with pictures and drawings) helps users enhance their visual thinking. You can create memory boards with video tutorial content alongside research links and revision notes. Thanks to requests from many of our users, Popplet now lets you include videos from Vimeo in your idea maps.

Here are 5 ways you can use Popplet to explore the reel world of cinema and video, and develop new skills for your own toolbox of visual thinking strategies!

1. Film studies

For those studying film, Popplet makes an ideal planning board to show cuttings of key scenes, outline essays, map character arcs, and link to external reference materials. For student teams working on a project together, you can easily collaborate on a Popplet and even discuss your reactions to videos. Using Popplet in this way not only helps you think visually by collating source materials spanning a range of media formats, but also helps you develop a communication style in which you can encourage collaborative work with a visual thinking mindset.

Nick Elliot, a media and film student at Garth Hill College, for example, is currently working on a crime genre popplet, looking at how the narrative is structured, the use of soundtrack and titles to convey an emotional context, and the way values and social mores are portrayed. By using a webmap to collate his thoughts, he can unearth the symbolic and subsconscious connections that help create an overall ambience and cinematic atmosphere:

2. Explore film genres

…And if you are a lover of a particular film genre, you can use Popplet to collect everything you know about your favorite subject including film posters, youtube trailers, vimeo fanpics, review links, and film stills.

If you are inspired to create your own, don’t settle for the classic genres but instead hone your visual thinking strategies by exploring the unique sub-genres within a genre! Not just romantic comedies but those with a vacation setting (vaycay romcoms). Not just horror movies but creature features. Not just science fiction but space westerns, like this example from Twitter follower @ibull:

By digging a little deeper into a sub-genre you are sailing past all the easy examples and cliche ideas and allowing yourself to appreciate the depth of any field of study, as well as enhancing your ability to approach common concepts from a more unique and original perspective.

3. Create actor and director biographies

Fan the flames of your inner filmgeek by mapping out everything you know about your favorite actors, directors, scriptwriters or cinematographers in a Popplet. You can design it in a timeline format to help you see the progression of their career over time, or do a Bacon numbers-esque worldview where you try to show the repeat motifs explored by the one director or writer, or the recurring connections between on-screen performers across their career.

This is a great activity to help you foster visual thinking strategies that you can take into your business or creative life. By choosing a director or actor, you will cultivate a sense of playfulness or fun (that doesn’t feel like work!) while also training your mind to quickly summarize and show key historical milestones. This technqiue may also help you create new ways of sharing your own CV and professional career with potential employers and clients. And no doubt, along the way, you will also deepen your appreciation for some of the film greats.

Our Twitter follower @KaoruBiersack shared this popplet documenting the filmography timeline of Tim Burton:

4. Create storyboards

We have heard of several film-makers who have used Popplet as a storyboard device to help plan out scenes of a film. This has increasingly been the case for startups and small businesses who have wanted to plan out a short promotional video.

Educators also love this as a creative activity to assess students comprehension of subject themes. Teachers using @joedale’s training program have created classroom activities where students use Popplet to create a storyboard, and then other apps like vimeo to create short films or animations to show their understanding of complex subject matter. Storyboarding is an excellent visual thinking strategy that helps you expose what you don’t know you don’t know. As you try and explain your understanding by pacing it out in a film project, the gaps in your knowledge will become apparent and help you more completely understand your topic.

(By the way, we still have an open invitation to any film-maker who has used Popplet in this way to please get in touch so we can profile you for our Popplet People profiles. We know our readers would be fascinated to get a glimpse of both your originating storyboards on Popplet and the resulting film or video project. Access a growing, global audience and share your film creations!)

5. Manage your DVD library and your own reviews

For film lovers at home, using Popplet is a great way to document your digital or DVD catalog. You can add film posters, IMDB links, and your own reviews to a popplet that collects everything about your film and video collection in one place.

Have a lot of vids in your collection? Create separate popplets, divided into: titles A – K and L – Z or 80s movies, 90s movies, etc… After you have made each popplet, you can create a popplet called “My film/video collection” and use our Popplet linker feature to include all your separate popplets in the one easy-to-find meta-popplet.

popplet linker

This is a great exercise to help you hone your visual thinking skills around being able to see the big picture. Try collating a seemingly random selection of your content about your favorite films and videos on the one Popplet and now zoom out so you can see it all. What common elements do your favorite films and videos share? Who is the protagonist? What is the basic plotline? Howe are the stories told? You may be surprised that you return to the same themes in movies, or have a preference for a particular style of story-telling. Using this exercise with something like the films you enjoy can give you insight into how to step back and use your visual thinking skills to analyze the big picture in your work or studies.

Practice your visual thinking strategies

Using our features that allow you to add Vimeo and Youtube content to your popplet, as well as adding images (from your computer and mobile or from Flickr) and drawing your own pictures directly into popples, you are enhancing your ability to use the left and right sides of your brain to process ideas. Making popplets around your film interests can help you hone valuable visual thinking strategies that you can apply to your study revision, business brainstorming and team collaborative projects.

Have you used Popplet for any of your film-related interests? Share them with us on our Facebook page or on Twitter.