Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Watching the kids in action

Last year I gave my students an assignment to write short film scripts as their final project. It went so well that this year I decided to expand it. Not only are they writing scripts, but they're filming them.

It's the greatest thing I've ever done, and I wish I'd thought of this years ago. The kids are really getting into it.

I'm going to focus on one group in particular. All names are fake.

So Julie has told me numerous times that she wants to be a director some day, and she definitely has the personality for it. She's bossy, opinionated, but well liked. Right now I'm watching her sit on a table, surrounded by her groupmates, as she lists the changes they will be making to the script after I gave them notes.

Annie, the script writer, is off in the corner, waiting to be told what changes to make.

Dariah, who was supposed to be the co-director, is so obviously the producer. She came to me for the notes on the script, she's planning all the locations, and when Julie got off topic, Dariah reminded everyone to focus on the material. She's taking money from the group to pay for props they want to use. (I do not require them to spend money, but they really want to.) And she has an assistant.

Kris, who is the star of this particular horror film, wanders around the room, occasionally cracking jokes, checking his cell phone, not able to focus on anything for more than five minutes.

The rest of the kids chime in with suggestions on how their characters should die.

Whitney, the DP, only cares about where they want her to put the camera.

I gave them notes to make the characters more developed because in their first draft people just go to a party and die and don't really exist outside that event, so now they're discussing how they can expand their scenes to create more conflict between the characters.

It's beautiful to watch.


  1. You are the teacher I would have killed for in high school!

  2. More teachers need to think outside the box. We have bored students at least partially because we have many boring teachers.

    Good job!

  3. Wow. Are you sure you want to stop teaching full time? You're good.

  4. Thanks, guys, although to be honest, this is really about me being incredibly lazy. I get to sit on my butt while the kids do all the work.

  5. Is "Julie" accepting unsolicited scripts at this time?


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