How to… make a movie

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By Campbell Perry — playwright

This poster text provides a checklist for children to use in discussing film techniques and in planning/making a short film.

It can be analysed as a useful example of instructional text, but it is most valuable as guidance for a practical task. It uses vocabulary rich in technical terms, and refers to aspects of film-making that the children need to be familiar with from watching and discussing short extracts.

Shared learning and teaching

  • Invite individuals to read a section of the poster each. Discuss each section as you go along to ensure understanding.
  • Discuss films the children have seen. Identify the genre, effects on the audience and how these were achieved. How did the scenery, props and soundtrack contribute? Use the activity sheet below for your analysis.
  • As a class, quickly storyboard some familiar stories, such as fairytales or short stories, upon which you could base a movie.
  • For each story, discuss the genre, and how locations and props may be designed to have a particular effect on the audience. Suggest locations and actors, and decide on possible camera shots and angles at key moments.
  • Discuss the skills required to work effectively in a team – the roles needed, the tasks to be done, and the behaviour necessary to achieve success. Draw up success criteria. Make explicit the speaking and listening skills you will be looking for.
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