believes that great films can change the world by changing how people
think. Green films are needed now and MyFlik has it covered. The
environmental topic list below was put together by a dedicated story
team at SMUD,
a publicly run utility company in Sacramento California.
stories make you feel you've been through a satisfying, complete
experience. You've cried or laughed or both. You finish the story
feeling you've learned something about life or about yourself.
Perhaps you've picked up a new awareness, a new character, or
attitude to model your life on."
took these environmental topics below, created a web link list,
helped organize a story information event at SMUD, provided individual
story feedback for students and came up with 1000's of green story
ideas to help students create better films fast. Over 40 high schools
developed environmental stories as part of the TOY
Film Festivals (Tower Of Youth), put on by a group called DASP,
during the 2008-2009 school year. This section is a resource to
support green student films all over the world and to assist them
in developing brilliant stories.
Film Winner Video: Click here
to see a short video about the project featuring the winner of the
SMUD TOY Film Festival for 2009.
Points To Communicate
does it work?
1. Blades convert wind into rotational energy
2. Generator creates electricity
3. Sent via transmission system to our homes
4. Wind is kinetic energy, and a wind turbine captures the
kinetic energy from the wind and converts it to electricity.
5. Blades are attached to an axle that runs into a gearbox,
causing a shaft to spin. The generator converts the spinning
energy to electricity.
Detractor: while wind models are available
and continue to be refined to better predict resource availability,
wind is an intermittent resource: see articles from Feb/Mar
2008 when the wind resource drop caused a major power outage
Foundations built into the earth.
2. Tower sections added.
3. Nacelle and blades attached.
4. VERY large crane to assemble.
Detractor: Concerns regarding wind turbines
killing birds has been addressed by building larger blades
that turn more slowly. Older designs of smaller turbines turning
faster showed birds killed, but improved design had addressed
DOE wind map
2. Growth of wind energy over last 10 years
3. Challenge of wind variability
Detractor: Areas in which the wind resource
is plentiful often is a far distance from developed areas,
or established transmission lines. Investment is needed to
bring the wind energy to the sources of load, and some windy
areas are still to costly to access with new transmission
Customers self generate to meet their own energy needs
2. Distributed generation harvests a local resource
3. Small wind can combine with solar to balance resource availability,
given wind blows more in the evening whereas sun shines in
Detractor: Some may say wind turbines in
neighborhoods are ugly, similar to issues the solar industry
faces re: solar on rooftops, homeowner association rules banning
such things (not allowed in CA)
Not all homes are good candidates for solar
2. Not everyone can afford to install solar
3. SolarShares is truly solar for all
4. Economies of scale allow it be cheaper
5. Building large solar farms is often more cost effective
due to economies of scale, but require large pieces of land.
6. Innovations in both business models and technology are
working together to help bring down the installed cost of
solar power – market transformation.
7. Given the global market for solar power, with significant
government incentives in countries such as Germany, Japan,
Spain, Switzerland, etc., the clean energy industry is booming
with or without the United States. Detractor: The expiration of the Federal
tax credits for renewable energy at the end of 2008 is threatening
to derail the continued growth of renewable energy industries
in the United States, and forcing businesses to look outside
of the US for installations beginning now.
Customers self generate to meet their own needs
2. California Solar Initiative – 125 MW for SMUD
3. Takes advantage of existing space (and sunshine!) that
otherwise goes to waste
4. This is pretty much the same as utility-scale solar or
residential solar – the only difference is the size
of the system, which is often in between that of a residential
(avg ~ 4kW) and a utility scale (avg 1-10MW)
5. Solar can be used to help promote the “greenness”
of a business, but C&I customers are very conscious about
the financial aspects of the project – how quickly does
the project pay off, etc.
6. Large flat commercial rooftops are a good location for
solar given you don’t need to take up additional land
for the installation.
Detractor: How much are businesses doing
this to be green versus hedging against increasing energy
Reduce energy use (and lower utility bill)
2. Reduce carbon footprint
3. Increase value of homes
4. Be energy independent – you can install a solar system
on your roof, and reduce/eliminate your energy bill and replace
“regular grid power” with clean solar power!
5. Solar panels convert light energy into electricity, where
photons from the sun knock free electrons in a semiconductor
material (e.g., silicone), and the free electrons are captured.
6. The sun currently can’t produce energy when the sun
isn’t shining, so customers can either use batteries
to store the power, or be connected to the grid to draw power
when the solar system is not generating.
7. The solar resource in Northern California is some of the
best in the nation – see resource maps on NREL’s
Detractor: Some may say solar is ugly, particularly
solar installations on existing homes: now being addressed
in new construction with Building Integrated Photovoltaics
(BIPV) that almost disappear into the roof; legislation has
been passed in CA to not allow Homeowners Associations to
ban solar on roofs; Debate about rights regarding trees of
neighbors growing to shade one’s solar system: see case
in Sunnyvale that ended up in court about trees shading a
neighbor’s PV system.
Solar shares program at turkey farm
2. Solar panels on individual homes can reduce energy consumption
3. Solar hot water heaters have been around for years, but
are making a comeback.
4. Many of the large scale solar/utility-scale solar plants
are concentrating solar or concentrating solar thermal plants
– converting solar energy into high temperature heat,
where the heat is used to create steam to generate electricity.
5.Can new solar technology lower initial panel cost and increase
Reduce air pollution from carbon based fuels
2. Part of plan to produce environmentally friendly community
(no CO2 Emmission)
3. Direct Plug-in to electric grid.
4. Increased electrification of the transportation sector
(batteries and hybrid technologies in vehicles and electric
rail systems) anticipated.
5. Plan is for Battery Electric Vehicles (BEVs) to fleets
in CA starting in its fiscal year 2009 with lithium-based
Detractor: BEV technology is still in the
R&D Phase, technology not proven yet. Estimated 1-2 Years
impacts the environment both locally and globally
2.What we do at home can affect the world
3. Will knowing our footprint make any real difference?
Detractor: Environmental law and voluntary compacts are quite
interesting, particularly when you cross country lines. How
do we make sure that actions taken in one country are not
spoiled by free polluting in other countries? What rights
do developing countries get to pollute, given developed countries
have already gone through their industrial revolutions?
BioFuels are Transportation Fuels made from Biomass Materials.
2. Blended with petroleum fuels (gas & diesel) but can
be used on their own.
3. Cleaner burning fuels that produce less air pollutants.
4. Ethanol is an alcohol fuel made from sugars found in grain.
5. Biodiesel in made from vegetable oils, fats or greases.
Detractor: BioFuels are historically more expensive than fossil
fuels and requires additional processing steps, and therefore
considerations should be made regarding lifecycle analysis
(how much energy is needed to create the biofuel, and therefore
does the increased energy to produce the biofuel itself negate
the environmental benefit of using biofuels). Also, controversy
regarding the agricultural industry pushing biofuels for market
and political versus environmental purposes.
can do a little which adds up to large amount
Buy green power/solar shares
2. Plant shade trees
3. Reduce energy use through awareness of individual habits
4. Embrace available energy reducing technology
Detractor: Retrofit can have large initial cost
Anyone can research and encourage new technology
2. As demand increases it creates avenues for entrepreneurs
3. Way to meet needs of society in sustainable ways
4. Creates opportunity to produce excess energy for sale back
There is a farmer’s market every day of the week in
the greater Sacramento area.
2. A number of local farms offer CSA boxes – a box of
produce from a specific farm or designated group of farms,
with seasonally-appropriate fruits/vegetables/herbs/etc.,
that are provided on a periodic basis to subscribing customers
– a great way to get your fruits and veggies, try new
things, and come up with creative recipes.
3. Check out the Slow Food Movement – there is a international
Slow Food Event in San Francisco this fall (maybe Sept?) that
would provide interesting footage.
Detractor: Admit it, it’s not hard
at all to be a localvore or eat relatively green when living
in Northern California. But look at other parts of the United
States and it’s much more of a challenge. How can we
think about developing policies and encouraging the ability
to do these things not just in our own “fruit bowl”
of a backyard, but throughout the United States?
Dense population & high auto use create pollution problems
2. Design of transport interchanges where people access system
3. Success depends on high rider use
4. Crumbling infrastructures make mass transit more appealing
Detractors: 1.High cost 2.Voter resistance
to being taxed to pay for system installations 3. CA State
government raiding transportation fund to balance budget leaves
no money for upgrades
Developing nations are being exploited for their resources
2. People acting together at a local level can make a difference
3. Technology is available of which people are unaware
4. Celebrating concern for the environment raises awareness
of how your actions can affect global community
Birds fly into power lines and die
2. Large birds perch or nest on cross arms on power poles
3. Animals and birds interacting with HV lines cause power
4. Identify avian migration/nesting patterns
customers in the research of new energy efficiency
Customers evaluate new or underutilized technologies
2. R & D research is translated into real world demonstration
3. SMUD can evaluate the energy savings, and involve customers.
Detractor: Some of the technology may not work, or is not
energy efficient technology available to the community
Involve contractors to build Smart Homes
2. Utilizing technology to help reduce energy consumption
3. Build and showcase houses that are more eco-friendly
SolarSmart homes are the easy way to be energy conscious and
green – just buy the house, you don’t have to
think too hard.
Detractor: Increased initial cost of housing
– actually, most SolarSmart homes are going for the
same cost as comparable homes- the builders just choose to
not upgrade other things – such as not doing granite
countertops or stainless steel appliances.
Improved air quality through zero emission vehicles
2. Energy security/reduce foreign dependence on oil
3. Sustainable fuel for the future (hydrogen is the most abundant
element in the universe).
4. The possibility of transforming the automobile to much
more than a transportation device, What if you could power
your house from the fuel cell on your car? What if you never
stopped at a gas station and every morning woke up to a full
tank of fuel?
Detractor: H2 fuel cell technology estimated
of trees to lower impact on power lines
Wood chip recycling for customer mulching use
2. Elderberry Beetle research project with UCD
3. Tree pruning and planting strategies
4. Individual involvement will provide sustainability to benefit
Dependable source of “capacity” available to cover
hourly demand variation, to backstop less firm sources such
as wind, and to stabilize the electric system. Other sources
either can’t do this or do so with inefficient operation.
2. Zero cost for “fuel” (rain and melting snow
3. Requires large areas to be flooded for reservoirs. New
dams had environmental impact on streams, but ongoing impacts
are minimal or have been mitigated.
4. Existing hydro power plants could be expanded in capacity
or upgraded in efficiency, for more energy generation at no
additional environmental impact.
Detractor: Introduces economic challenges
because the supply of hydroelectric energy depends on the
amount of the snowpack, which can’t be predicted far
in advance. Construction of large new facilities politically
involves small scale instream generation of electricity from
flowing water. The user of the electricity typically would
be a home or small commercial operation located near a reliable
stream. There are also possibilities for turbines driven by
water below dams on streams which are small (short) enough
so as to have no biological impact.
efficiency and clean burning technologies
SMUD’s largest source of locally generated energy, so
improvements have both economic and environmental benefits.
2. Newest gas turbines are significantly more energy efficient
than older ones (called “clunkers” in the industry).
3. Infrastructure and regulatory system already in place (gas
pipelines, emissions testing and permitting process) already
4. Large centralized natural gas turbines are substantially
more energy efficient and far less polluting than automobile
internal combustion engines, making electric vehicles powered
by them economically and environmentally attractive.
Detractor: fundamentally nonrenewable source.
Subject to world energy market price fluctuations.
on the Story Ideas
link on the far right for more ideas on how to create films for
each of the above environmental film topics. These sub sections
are still being developed and will be updated over the next few
months. Coming soon high resolution source DV, images, 3D models
and other shooting on site options available at SMUD facilities.
Good Websites Resources:
National Energy Education Development Project (NEED):
Local Solar Installations to Film/Photograph:
• Utility Scale PV at Rancho Seco (requires advanced permission)
• Utility Scale PV at SolarShares Site in Wilton (requires
• Solar Hydrogen Fueling Station at SMUD (requires advanced
• Solar Carport at Arden Fair Mall
• Solar Carport at Cal Expo
• Solar at Sacramento Zoo Gift Shop
you need help doing an original soundtrack for your SMUD environmental
film? Doug Conner's class at Rio Linda will be
available to create musical tracks for these films. Send me an
email and I will
forward your request. Remember to put SMUD or TOY Film in the
novelist must know what his last chapter is going to say and
one way or another work toward that last chapter... To me, it's
utterly basic, yet it seems like it's a great secret."
Sample Environmental Shade Tree Story Ideas From MyFlik.com
These story ideas below are meant to spark film concepts in your
student’s imaginations. Your students are free to use any
of the ideas, and change or combine them to come up with more
interesting stories. Feel free to let students know they may send
ideas to me for feedback via email at email@example.com.
One Page Case Study: 11. Conservation -
Talking trees, talking houses, actors dressed as trees, animated
trees, hot looking people standing outside of houses with no trees,
cool looking people inside houses surrounded with trees, super
hero tree, sweaty hot overheating house, tree army.
Plot Goals: To cool
houses down with shade, to plant a million trees near houses,
to stop people from cutting down shade trees, to plant trees near
hot houses needing shade, to cover the tops of every office building
with trees, to plant trees where ever shade or cover is needed,
to save money on utility bills, to combat global warming, to clean
air, to landscape or make world more beautiful, to let people
know SMUD gives out free trees.
haters, people who think trees mess up views, ignorance.
Sets: Happy houses
with lots of trees around them, broken down hot looking sad houses
with no trees, houses on fire with no trees to show heat, houses
in ice cubes to show cooling effect from shade trees, nice cool
interiors for shade tree houses, broiling for hot.
Fast Tree Shade Film Ideas:
1) Show a really hot and sweaty funny character outside a house
without any trees talking about all the horrible things that have
happened because the house is just too hot. Really exaggerate
the ideas. Then show a cool and happy version of the same character
later with shade trees talking about how much better his life
is now. Use changing house images in the background. Kids could
be fighting in front of the hot house and playing on the trees
in front of the cool house laughing.
2) You could also do a series of funny monologues with different
outrageous characters talking about how much their lives have
improved since they got shade trees telling wild stories about
before and after.
3) Do a shade tree monologue where the tree talks about his friends
and how hard they work to provide shade. Maybe the tree talks
about a loved one being cut down to make room for a view or what
it is like to be a dedicated shade tree on a mission.
4) Do a superhero shade tree story where the goal is to plant
as many trees as possible or save hot houses from high utility
bills. Think of funny names such as Super Shade, Wonder Weeping
Willow, Bonzai Birch, Shade, Wonder Treeman, Wonder Treewoman.
Use Hero Journey plot points and digital effects.
Movies On Visual Storytelling:
some movies below from the online Story Engine on Storytelling
Goals, Creating Themes and Using Symbols and Metaphors. These
short films are samples from the new 20 hour step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
along and create a great film or story idea fast! Download the
file to edit. You can also use a notebook or paper and the Online
Workbook or watch it
in 20 Steps.
are some sample movies from the 94 minute version above on Storytelling
Goals, Creating Themes and Using Symbols and Metaphors. These
short films are part of the new 20 hour step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
how to include themes in your films and stories in this free sample
movie from the new step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
how to use Metaphors and Symbols in your films, animations or
stories from the new step-by-step "Writing
A Great Script Fast" DVD Workshop:
Writing A Great Script Fast Makes Screenwriting Easy!