In the meantime, here are some suggestions for easing yourself and your learners into what will (I hope) prove to be a most enjoyable and rewarding experience.
Explore the wide variety of short films online.
You can learn so much about film making from watching films (this is also a great excuse for taking a night off marking and putting your feet up.) As you watch each film, take notes under the following headings:
- What kind of film is it?
- Is there a soundtrack?
- Is there dialogue? How much?
- Which shorts do you find the most gripping/moving/effective?
- Why do you think this is?
- What are the ingredients of a great short film?
Select a few different films and show them to your learners. After each film, learners can discuss the questions above. Encourage your class to talk about the type of films they like too.
Listening to your learners express their likes and dislikes will inform your next steps, and give you all a better idea of the short film form.
Ones To Watch
The Black Hole, Dir Phil and Olly, UK, 2008
For a beautifully crafted short film, look no further than The Black Hole. This film was shot in under a day on borrowed equipment, and grips the viewer from start to finish. Simple, yet effective. The film has no dialogue, and so also lends itself very well to follow up writing and speaking activities.
Peter and Ben, Pinny Grylls, UK, 2007
Peter and Ben is a documentary film which focuses on the friendship between Peter (a reclusive man who lives in the Welsh mountains) and a sheep called Ben. If your learners are interested in filming a documentary this ten minute film proves that much can be said in little time.
Stallion Head, Dir Maddrim Medaia, UK, 2010
A homegrown example of what fun comedy can be to watch and to make. Maddrim Media's Stallion Head is packed with zany humour and...well, a lot of horsing around!
ESOL Fest, South London, 2011, Dir Adrian Cousins, UK, 2011
An inspirational film about ESOL learners protesting against cuts to English lessons for speakers of other languages.
Finally, you can see a wonderful example of a film produced by an English learner at http://vimeo.com/channels/fallas. Susana Ferrer Renovell made a series of four short films about the Fallas Festival in Valencia, Spain. The series is called Fallas Voices and you can see all four of these insightful pieces at vimeo on the link above.
Food for thought? In my next post I will be examining some different approaches to starting a film project. In the meantime, happy viewing!