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How To Do Environmental Film Stories

16. Biomass Energy

Theme: BioFuels:Ethanol and Biodiesel

Main Points To Communicate:

1. 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.

Links and Source images:

After the chart below of random story ideas, there are some ways to combine them into fast film scripts and example films to watch for more ideas. These environmental story ideas for student short films are evolving and will be added to over the course of the next year.

< Back To Main Environmental Film Story Ideas List

Any questions or story feedback requests from this group of schools can be sent via email. Please put DASP Story, SMUD Story or TOY Story in the subject line, so that I know your email is not junk mail, and let me know which school you attend. It would also be helpful to know who the main character is, their plot goal, antagonist, theme and conflict for your story idea if possible to help with the feedback process. Please thank MyFlik in your film credits if you end up using any story ideas we help inspire.

* More information about how biomass energy works below this chart


Characters Set Ideas Antagonists/Conflicts Plot Goals Visual Story Ideas  
grease pools with talking lips (DV/Photo) new dairy manure digester in Sacramento biomass haters - prissy people who think it is gross - really play up the prissy/gross factor To explain how biomass energy works

Animated 2D, DV, 3D School House Rock type film (see example YouTube videos below)

cows talking about producing manure in funny ways cow farm ignorance about biomass power - 2 people talking To educate people on biomass energy information Interview a dairy digester about how it works  
animated food waste in trash cans and dumps sewer treatment plant people who think it smells - talk about how it reduces smells by eliminating wastes To explain how well biomass energy works Place a DV face on a biomass waste to make it look like it can talk  
talking symbolic empty soup can army singing about biomass energy in 2D or 3D marching through a town funny animated gross grease farm residents near biomass plants To show the best places for biomass gathering Do a singing biomass farm story where a group of dancing 3D cows explain how they work like a musical (do one cow then duplicate into a dancing heard)  
talking piles of manure in 2D or 3D - see how gross you can get like on CSI trash cans, dumps or landfill sites funny anti-biomass people who think it just is not right To explain biomass energy to kids in simple way Play with the sound of biomass energy in story - how could biomass plant sound funny?  
cow manure biomass extreme energy farmer forests with wood waste or factories biomass gatherers competing with each other for waste   Merge narrator voice with the sounds of biomass being produced  
biomass maintained workers Biomass superhero ultimate headquarters - under a sewage plant? cow farm? 3D cows protesting for not getting paid for their biomass   Shoot a bunch of slick and beautiful biomass shots with a voice over explaining how it works  
funny biomass engineer explaining the process biomass plant     Do a fake funny ad for biomass power  
kid asking parent about how biomass energy works SMUD biomass locations available for shoots     Show how a funny or interesting character's life changes by learning how biomass energy works  
biomass farm tour guide or teacher famous local biomass sites - see information below     Have an ridiculous expert give a funny tour of a biomass farm with an smart kid asking silly questions  
Biomass as a character (how would this look?) traveling inside a biomass energy system using 3D     Play with how gross and funny you can make each part of your biomass story  
funny biomass expert talking about all the "crap" that is wasted - use a play on words like in Austin Powers 2       Do 2D animation to show amount of waste produced by a heard of dairy cows each day and how far it would go and how much is being wasted (use huge piles to show size)  
biomass energy fanatic - crazy about the idea and trying to convert others       Show how much of a city could be powered each day if all biomass waste were used for power  
two piles of biomass talking in two pools about how they work          
biomass energy superhero - think up a great name!          
cows explaining to other cows how biomass power works after people keep taking their manure away in funny ways in background          
wood wastes and fuel loaded forests talking about their power to produce energy - talking DV/2D/3D trees          
people talking about the benefits of biomass in front of sewage sludge plant with clothespins on their noses or doing funny things          
group of extreme biomass activists with funny slogans on signs "Save Our ____" protesting waste in funny locations (dairy, food places, forests, landfills)          

BioMass Energy Information: Biomass is any organic matter that is available on a renewable or recurring basis. Types of Biomass include:

  • Dairy waste (methane gas from manure)
  • Grease waste
  • Food waste (232,00 tons per year enter Sacramento landfills)
  • Landfills
  • Wood wastes and fuel loaded forests

Biomass waste can be converted to electricity by a variety of methods, including biochemical and thermal processes.

Currently, biomass and waste energy makes up 9% of the electricity for SMUD customers, and 21% of the renewable energy.

Biomass is good for the environment by converting problem wastes into green electricity. This green energy helps to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming. Local air, water and odor qualities are improved by using biomass energy. Sacramento contains lots of biomass resources, and it is relatively low cost to produce this energy.

Interesting Biomass Facts & Stories:

The first dairy digester project for Sacramento started in July 2008 with 500 milk cows. Manure from these cows produce enough methane to power 60 single family houses a day!

A mature dairy cow produces 120 pounds of manure and urine per day.

School House Rock Film Examples: The following cartoon short films "How A Bill Becomes A Law" and "Conjunction Junction" are great ways to convey a process with of lots of information at once. How can you update the look and feel of the films below using DV, 2D and 3D combinations or styles? How could you come up with a catchy song that rhymes to explain how biomass energy works?


Fast Biomass Energy Film Ideas:

1) Show a biomass farmer talking about how he harvests biomass power for his home and others. Then show his house all lit up with crazy electrical things like Christmas lights, rotating statues, inner disco lights, an electric fence and spot lights.

2) You could also do a series of funny monologues with different outrageous characters talking about how they think biomass energy works. Or kids trying to figure out how biomass energy works but getting it wrong.

3) Do a cow monologue where it talks about his friends and how hard they work to provide biomass waste. Maybe the cow explains how it works or what they worry about in their jobs.

4) Do a superhero bio story where the goal is to educate people about how biomass energy works. Think of funny names such as BioDiesel Wonder Waste, Super Crap, Waste Wood Wonder, Super BioMass, Grease Lightening or Manure Man. SuperHero runs around stopping people from throwing waste out and figuring out funny ways to turn waste into biomass. Or superhero could move huge piles of cow manure using special effects or piles of garbage at dump.


< Back To Main Environmental Film Story Ideas List


MyFlik Movies On Visual Storytelling:

Watch 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:


Follow along and create a great film or story idea fast! Download the Workbook PDF file or DOC file to edit. You can also use a notebook or paper and the Online Workbook or watch it in 20 Steps.


Sample Movies

Below 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:


Learn 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:


Learn 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:




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