Now that the film or film excerpt is over, what will students do to further their knowledge about film making, casting, costuming, and more? Use the activity prompts below to catalyze student inquiry about key topics and other course related areas of study.
Role play—Take on the role of a dramaturg, set designer, costume designer, location scout, or cinematographer. What do you need to know before filming begins? How will your role affect the production of the film? How does your involvement affect the telling of the story? What role does technology play in assisting you in the completion of your responsibilities to the film?
Missing perspectives—Identify a scene that you believe is missing something. Perhaps there is need for a counter argument based on primary source analysis or a character was omitted from the film despite having a connection of historical importance to the story. Based on research, revise the script to add dialogue that draws upon primary source materials. Does your addition change the trajectory of the film?
Time and place—What if the film was set in another time and place? What would change about cultural norms, casting, and more if the film had a different setting? If the film being analyzed is historical, did similar stories occur elsewhere at the time, how will you tell that story, and/or are they relevant now?
Close Reading—Select a scene or two from a film and analyze them the way you would a political cartoon or piece of art. The close reading of a film involves analyzing symbols, lighting, camera angles, facial expressions, body language, background, and more. Incorporating film analysis vocabulary within an essay, a critique written for a public audience, or using storyboard software to record a voice over analysis that combines audio and visual media are possible forms for students to demonstrate learning.
The Cutting Room Floor—What students learn from analyzing films and the film making process can be applied to the creation of a short film of their own. Whether it is an original screenplay and production, a documentary style film that incorporates audio and visual resources with a voiceover, or some other form of filmmaking, students can utilize digital storyboard software to create their own short film. In doing so, students will be able to discuss their decision making about what was kept in and what was left out, demonstrate understanding of concepts such as point of view analysis, narrative, and other components of writing, editing, and producing visual media.