Saturday, May 07, 2011

The Great Eleventh Grade Zombie Project moves along

My eleventh graders are having a blast learning about the movie industry. They're in groups, writing scripts for a zombie film. I used a few scenes from existing films they like to teach them script format, but there are a few things they're still having difficulty with.

They all keep writing themselves into the script, for one thing. So a kid named Mario will write a character named Mario. And when character Mario gets raped by a zombie he gets all mad at the other members of his group for making him the victim of zombie rape. I keep telling them not to make themselves the characters and just focus on writing a script, but they're having trouble getting the idea. So now Mario thinks he's going to get Zombie AIDS.

The other big problem they've been having is putting the screen on the page. They keep writing scenes like "Joe and Fidel are brothers. They talk shit while they walk up to the crack house."

They don't realize that they have to describe everything that goes on screen. So I handed them a script to a short film and then showed them the film so they could follow along reading as they watched. After that they said they understood, but we'll see.

If one of the scripts turns out to be super cheap and easy to shoot, I may act as producer and let the kids make the movie. In the mean time, I'm having a couple of guest speakers come in and talk to them about the film industry. So this is turning into a mini film school, all on the suggestion of one kid who wanted me to talk about zombies so he didn't have to do any work on Monday.


  1. Nicholas10:29 AM

    I'm fairly certain English would have been my favorite class in high school were you my teacher. It's incredible what you're doing with these kids -- actually inspiring them to appreciate reading and the arts as more than just entertainment. Who knows, maybe the next JJ Abrams is in your class? (I would say the next Spielberg, but we all know Abrams is already the next Spielberg.)

  2. I agree with Nicholas.

    I can say this in all sincerity. Through 12 years of public school I had only one teacher that I would call great. And he taught science which happened to be my least favorite subject. So that sucked.

    More teachers should be allowed to go away from the lesson plan.

  3. Thanks guys.

    I think I'm just too dumb and impatient to follow the prescribed curriculum. Teaching to the test is boring.

  4. Guest speakers, that is entirely cool. Above and beyond.

    Guest speakers always left a mark on me. My favorite, in art school, said challenges are opportunities to make something even better, really stayed with me, and gave me head start on positive attitude with clients that's been hugely beneficial.

    Like you, my HS history teacher was a great teacher. History bored me, just wanted to know what was ahead. Mrs. Johnson put people in the history, real stories, behind the historic events, that made it come alive. Have never looked at history the same.

    Maybe this impromptu project could evolve into an annual spring symposium, involving more teachers, and covering stuff like sound and set design, film history, the tech history, etc.

    Zombie Marie Curie:


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.