Media and Filmmaking are very popular subjects and with the immense popularity of the media industry it should come as no surprise. It isn’t at all uncommon to hear of films making hundreds of millions in their opening weekend, an industry this big means that there are plenty of jobs to go about. Perhaps the most exciting thing about film class is likely the sheer amount of practical work involved, kids love to dig in a create a movie, and the great thing is at the end of it all they will be rewarded with their finished product. Let’s take a look at a few exciting and useful exercises that can help students get to grips with the basics of filmmaking.

Poor Scripting

This is a great project that is a heap of fun for the learners and great to get them to get to grips with filmmaking. I call this ‘Poor Scripting’ because you’ll essentially be providing each group with the same script, a 5-minute scene from a film they likely haven’t watched but you’ll also edit this script to make it as terrible as you can within reason. Basically, what you’ll be doing here is setting them up for failure but it’s up to them to do what they can with the filmmaking techniques they’ve learned to make it as good as possible despite the bad script. Get them to create their own resolution to the script too, you’ll see each group create something completely different, this too will help them to learn from each other and view films with different perspectives in mind.

Stories in a Single Image

Photography is an important aspect of filmmaking, by getting your students to study it you’ll be introducing them to the camera techniques that they’d be using for as long as they continued the subject or career. It also allows them to think more about what is included in the shot. You can set them a task of telling stories in a single shot, either by giving them stories yourself and asking them to find a way to tell that or by getting them to make their own. The former method is better for beginner level, again you can showcase the work at the end of the project and compare each of the students work to see how they interpreted each story whilst noting different shot techniques too.

Set Design

Set design is often an overlooked part of the process, it’s easy for people to just find the location that is most available to them, their own bedroom, a park, the college or school, and that’s fine but the set should say something either about the characters or the scene that’s taking place. A good activity to help learners understand this is by getting them to design room that best fits their main character. Get them to include every detail about the character in that room, for example if they are religious perhaps hang a cross or relevant symbol on the wall. Do they love a good Snickers bar? Why not litter a few empty wrappers on set. Are they a hoarder or a minimalist? This covers both the importance of set design and character development and should have them thinking about both at every opportunity in the future.