Blog Archives

The Tightrope of Teaching

Complete confidence, and utter humility. These are the two poles that hold the tightrope I walk as a teacher.Nik Wallenda on the tightrope at Canada’s Wonderland in 2009

They say if you name it you can tame it, and here it is: imposter syndrome. It’s the fear of being a fraud; about being discovered to be not as good as you are supposed to be – a fake. I was discovered about 3 or 4 times this semester – already – to be less knowledgable than I probably should be.

A student was showing me how they worked out a simple problem in the program, and I freely admitted I had never in done it that way myself. They seemed stunned, and I have a story in my head that they lost some respect for me.

I learned IN FRONT OF THE CLASS that if the sequence frame rate is different than the frame rate of the footage it throws the timecode off.  This is very hard. Humbling. Humiliating? A little of both. I am supposed to know these things. I DO know lots of things.

I have strengths and valuable experience in my field, a great feel for shaping flow, story, beauty, timing, composition, an artistic sense, as well as compassion for students and communication skills. And I have technical prowess. I just don’t know everything. It’s hard not being perfect, man.

My worry is that they’ve lost trust in me. Students have to trust that this person teaching them KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE TALKING ABOUT, right?

Brene Brown talks about vulnerability for a living, and has said that for men, the greatest fear is showing weakness. She nailed it. For this guy here, yes, yup, hate that.

Can my demonstrations of fallibility be a strength? It all depends on context. If I am destroyed by demons of judgement, it’s a problem. If I show that despite having many skills, LIKE A STUDENT, I still have much to learn, that might work. And what really really (ad infinitum) works, is LAUGHING at my flubs. That requires humility and, AT THE SAME TIME, the confidence to know that I belong in my role as a teacher.




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January 23, 2020 · 3:39 am

How to get into This

I have witnessed

Your body, your mind, your being DOES whatever it’s trained to do. Whatever you practice, your being naturally does more of. If you start exercising, your body starts to crave more exercise, if you eat food you normally don’t enjoy regularly, your tastebuds will usually start to like it, and even want more of it. Of course the opposite is true, if you do something to excess, it becomes less desirable. It’s always a balance.

If you start editing*, even by simply opening the program and tinkering around randomly, your practice will grow. It will become like the coffee you enjoy in the morning. It will become a familiar routine. Do it 5 minutes a day, and it will grow into more, become easier, and you will start to truly enjoy doing it.

I have seen this to be true.

*I am referring to the practice of editing video.

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November 10, 2019 · 8:09 am

the Problem in Teaching

It is not difficult to teach 

But it may be difficult to teach a group of people.

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November 9, 2019 · 8:29 pm

Making Satisfaction

I finished a small piece of writing last night; worked it over for 2-3 days; 1 page, a 5-minute talk about how nuclear energy and the cold war standoff scared the bejesus out of me as a kid.

I feel supremely satisfied this morning, like I have less to carry, less to buzz about. There’s less anxiety in my body. It’s the act of creation that does it; doing from the inside out is how we find and make soul into the world.

Have you felt this? Do you think you’re not that creative, and it’s a struggle? It’s a struggle. It doesn’t always come out easy. Babies are born in hard labor. The fruits of our own creative juices has to be born out. They don’t stay in there without a price of pain or death. Little deaths, big deaths, however they emerge or don’t emerge determines your presence in the world.

Oh satisfaction, you are won with work. You are won with courage, and support, and self-worth, and some pushing and prodding. There’s no formula for the doing. Take the first step and finish it. You’ll feel something shift the next morning.

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August 6, 2019 · 6:33 am

Some Guts to Teach

The nerve to __

know what needs to be done, and do it

ask for what’s required, without surrender

say what seems right, then

be amazing

be mundane

be utterly real

to listen deeply, what are they asking for?

Foster groups, connecting

Assess fairly with accountability

expect responses, there are consequences



feel the aliveness

Lecture like you have something to say

Enjoy it

Teach like you mean it.



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July 28, 2019 · 5:37 pm

Welcome to Class

Dear Students,

I’m happy you are taking this course in video editing. Desiring to learn how, or improve on, your ability to make videos is a fantastic goal, and I am here to help you do that. It’s an exciting challenge to work in video making, and I am committed to doing my best to teach and inspire the best in you.

chinese characters above a Circular gateway in white wall with orchard beyondWith all the ways you have to learn things in this world, Why would you take this course? I can tell you why I still take classes myself: 1. because I procrastinate, and school forces me to take action toward my dreams, 2. because I do better work in a community of other people who want to create, too. and 3. it helps me organize and focus so my improvement is accelerated beyond what I could accomplish alone. Maybe some of these apply to you as well.

This is a project based course, which emphasizes learning by doing. You’ll be presented with the skills and knowledge necessary to edit, and then you’re off making videos to hone your skills.  We will learn from each other as well as professionals in the field who will share their knowledge and experience with you.

The community I mentioned above lives through the sharing of ideas in class and online through discussion boards. This is where you get to know each other through sharing and reflecting on your work and ideas, responding to questions and interesting video topics.

You enrolled in this course, so I know you have courage. You will encounter times in video-making that require a never say die attitude, and I will be there to support and guide you.

The general criteria for grading will be grounded in following directions, technical mastery, and creativity. No matter what level you are at, the expectations for your work will be high. Would you want it any other way?

Every student has different motivations, and I hope one of your’s is to have fun. When you have fun editing you stay up late ’cause you can’t stop. You learn more. And you get the work done. Whether you’re creating movies, animations, realty videos, advertisements, YouTube channels, how-to videos, or home movies, you can find deep enjoyment in the making of these works of art.

This is, technically, an Art course, and the mysterious thing we call “art” will be an ongoing conversation. Anything done well can have an artistic quality, and that’s what we will strive to achieve in our videos. A touchstone for this conversation will be your Show and Tell Art Videos, where you’ll all get the chance to show a video you found on the Internet that you would call artistic.

Now, go into the Canvas course (log into, MyCourses>Canvas LMS) and read through the Start Here Module items, respond to the survey, read the syllabus and take the syllabus quiz, Then take a look at Module 1, and Introduce yourself in the discussion board! Ask me questions after going through the material carefully.

Thank you,

Thatcher Bohrman


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January 5, 2019 · 5:08 pm

The 2 Things Central to this Class

There are 2 things we work with in this course: 1. Technology and 2. Content. The Technology is the skill needed to operate the program, Adobe Premiere Pro, and the Content is your creativity.

Each of these has other aspects. The Technology side encompasses not only your ability to use this complex software, but how well it performs on the computers you use, so it includes your general computer skills, troubleshooting, and handling problems that come up. It is also the knowledge you acquire and apply in the course.

The Content is about your Creativity, which in this sense means how you apply your energy and ideas to create, not some divine talent you think you have or don’t have. It’s about how you use your resources to create and collect material to edit with, as well as your habits of work, discipline, and your inspiration.

You all have what it takes to make good work and learn all about video making if you are willing to stick with it.


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January 5, 2019 · 12:56 pm

1 frame makes a difference in our sense of natural motion.

It is very interesting to hear Peter Jackson talk about the speed of film in his 2018 documentary about World War One. Cameras were cranked by hand, making the frame rate highly variable between 14-24 fps, giving the motion of those black and white images the typically strange timing we might be used to when watching the films of those early days. He went to great pains to adjust the timing of those films so they appear as time really passed, and he makes the point that even ONE FRAME makes a difference to our sense of what appears as natural. It is a very interesting ‘making of’.

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January 2, 2019 · 6:26 am

2019, Say What You Mean

You like that? Harder than it sounds. My daughter caught me hedging already, when I said, “Do you want to bring me a towel?”. “Dad, it’s twenty-nineteen, say what you mean.”

Being direct hasn’t always been a strong suit. Some say I missed my calling for the diplomatic core, as my political speech patterns strive to make all parties comforted. Standing for something means standing against something else; saying what I want means speaking commands, at least that’s what my thought. That’s what I was afraid of, as I strove to avoid conflict of any kind. This is my new year’s resolution, to be direct with myself and others. To ask for what I want, and say what I mean. To be truthful.

Yes and no is going to replace “sure.” Maybe’s are going to be the last resort instead of the go-to. Decisions are going to stand in the place of over-thinking, and move me boldly forward. Blogs are going to be published instead of placed on a permanent preview. Let the unmasking begin.

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January 2, 2019 · 5:29 am


Every time I sit to write about my teaching, it feels like a confession. For 5 semesters, I have sinned against better judgement, and based my grading on what must seem to some as pure whimsey. Of course, the syllabus says evaluation will be  “based upon adherence to directions, expression of design principles, technical proficiency, creativity, as well as individual progress.” Clearly stated, ambiguously delivered.

My lack of hard criteria led to some highly subjective grading, led by the senses and sense of the student’s progress, and I was and still am generally generous. There were a few I judged especially harshly that I can still recall, and it is true I don’t know if I was very fair. It’s not a science, video making. Thankfully, it’s an art.

90% of the work is video projects and assignments. I give directions, and I judge if the moving pictures and sound fulfill it. The skills assignments are simpler, as they are fairly straightforward. Judging some of the more free-wheeling creative projects is, well… I know good work when I see it. OR so I think.

THIS semester I have FINALLY crossed the Rubricon.

painting of caesar crossing the rubicon, with letter grades pinned to the each soldier

I managed to come up with consistent criteria for skills assignments, and I am using this one rubric for all of them. It’s pretty general, and it’s working pretty well so far. And wow is grading easier and faster. The lack of specificity that such a generalized rubric offers does make it tricky when a crit sort of describes what happened in the video, but not exactly. And it’s hard to stick to it when I end up grading by the rubric and still feel that it deserves a higher or lower grade. Yes, father, I have fudged at times.

The big plus has been having clarity, especially when a student questions their grade, as they did today. I can point to the directions and the rubric and the points in the box. The downside of this emphasis on measurement is they only do the minimum. I haven’t figured out the motivation to excel yet. Encouragement isn’t enough for the majority of students.

The other downside is this quick click rubric schtick. Boom boom boom, save, and the grading is done and justified. I don’t feel the same necessity to explain my reasoning in  detail,  as when I didn’t have as much to go on, and so I would explain and explain every high and low. Past feedback was lugubrious. Now it’s a bit off the cuff, citing a few things here and there, to assure them I am watching. The speedgrader lives up to its name, but personal feedback from the teacher is the heart of my class, and I mean to keep it deep for projects.

Grading is an art, too?



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October 11, 2018 · 8:31 am