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If Spielberg Can Do It, So Can I!!


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Keywords: film, character education, video, filmmaking
Subject(s): Drama, Technology, Video
Grades 6 through 8
NETS-S Standard:
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision Making
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Rugby Middle School, Hendersonvlle, NC
Planned By: Heather Denton
Original Author: Heather Denton, Hendersonvlle
Day 1 - Go over expectations, rules, and procedures for class. Give students the Student Learning Map and quickly go over the EQs and Key Terms. Attention grabber: Show students "Filmmaking Techniques" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d1japIhKU9I. Have students write one or two questions they have about filmmaking in general.

Day 2 - Have students sign up for Moodle online learning platform at http://www.hendersoncountypublicschoolsnc.org/mdl/. Lead students though the various sections of the moodle site, especially the chat rooms. Show students the short animated film of Chip & Mongo from the text "Exploring Visual Storytelling" by Brian Arnold and Brendan Eddy. If there is time, begin students looking for music on www.freeplaymusic.com.

Day 3 - Show students the "Context" Video from the text. Pause the video often to discuss key terms: context, goal, empathic link, exposition, dialogue, plants and payoffs. Have students answer questions at the end of the chapter and complete one exercise.

Day 4 - Show students the "Character" Video from the text. Pause the video often to discuss key terms: character, protagonist, antagonist, character arc, universals, sidekick, mentor. Have students answer questions at the end of the chapter and complete one exercise.

Day 5 - Show students the "Conflict" Video from the text. Pause the video often to discuss key terms: Conflict, tension, stakes. Also show students the video "More" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lnVf8we1kWc. Discuss the conflict in this video. Have students answer questions at the end of the chapter and complete one exercise.

Day 6 - Show students the "Plot" Video from the text. Pause the video often to discuss key terms: plot, through line, catalyst, scene, status quo, climax. Also show the video "Sebastian's Voodoo" at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ePWK0qfisE. Have students create the through line and the 3 Act Structure for this short video.

Day 7 - Show students the "2-D" and "3-D" videos from the text. Pause the video often to discuss key terms: composition, 2-D space, line, shape, line orientation, 3-D space, long shot, full shot, medium shot, close-up, extreme close-up, human-eye view, bird's-eye view, worm's-eye view, 180-degree rule. Have students answer questions at the end of the chapter and complete one exercise.

Day 8 - Randomly divide students into groups. Teach students what a reaction shot is. Show several examples. Have students create a short script that includes a reaction shot. Give each group a camera and turn them loose! Allow them to film their script capturing the reaction shot. Show the class each video.

Day 9 - Randomly divide students into groups. Play jeopardy with different pictures to determine learning of camera angles and distances. Review what each angle and distance communicates to the audience. Have students create a short script using BEV, WEV, HEV, ECU, CU, MS, FS, and LS. Give each group a camera with which to film. Allow them to film their script capturing each of the shots. Show the class each video.

Day 10 - Randomly divide students into groups. Discuss with the students different ways that movies move. Discuss why the camera movements, angles, and distances change so often and quickly (attention span). Discuss specifically camera movements: pan, tilt, zoom, handheld, tracking/dollying. Have them watch "The Mirror" from http://www.nbc.com. Have them count how many times the camera moves or the distance or angle changes (53 times in a minute and a half). Have students write a short script including these camera movements. Give each group a camera to film their script. Have them watch the videos.

Day 11 - Randomly divide students into groups. Discuss point of view shots - first person (subjective) and 3rd person (objective). Show the scene from 2001 Space Odyssey looking through the eyes of the robot. Have students write a short script including a point of view shot. Give each group a camera to film their script. Have them watch the videos.

Day 12 - Have students divide into groups. Give each group an emotion and a camera. Have them go on a scavenger hunt to find all the shots that they have learned. The emotion is to guide them in capturing shots that remind them of the emotion.

Day 13-17 - Using the Prezi "Storyboarding" found at http://prezi.com/uzlnvx90vpug/storyboarding/ explain the process of storyboarding. Have students discuss their ideas for their movies and begin the storyboarding process.

Day 18-30 - Have groups film their movies.

Day 31-42 - Have groups edit their movies using Windows MovieMaker or Pinnacle Studio. Students may visit http://www.rug.henderson.k12.nc.us/teachers/hdenton-web/ for a link to how to edit in Pinnacle.

Day 43 - Have a Red Carpet Premiere to show the whole school the student films! Post finished videos on http://www.viddler.com.

Day 44 & 45 - Have students fill out a survey about the project.
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
Students can use short stories they are studying in Language Arts to get script ideas.
Links: Link to Filmmaking Techniques
Link to viddler.com
Link to "More"
Link to "Sebastian's Voodoo"
Link to Freeplaymusic
Materials: Video Tools, Microphones, Short Throw Projectors, Hi-Def Camcorder, Tripods