Writing  Imaginary Travelogues - Guidelines 

Making a Video Film - Guidelines

1. Write a Script

1.1. Decide and choose an appropiate genre and subject. (1 hour)

First you can decide the subject. Elicit topics they may be interested on, or try to focus on cinema genres: thriller, science-fiction, western, love story, even documentary. You can use a warming-up questionaire on cinema knowledge, habits and preferences, but that will depend on how much time you've got. Remember that you'll need most of it to write the script, which takes long and is a very demanding job.

1.2. Create a story or plot. (2-3 hours)

1.2.1 Establish limitations.

Make them aware of all the limitations there may be concerning time, scenery, props and technical possibilities. Experience tells me that 10 minutes of dialogue with some action in between takes about 15-20 hours writing.

1.2.2. Cast. Outline story according to parts and characters.

Though you could do otherwise, the parts played in the film should be the same as the number of pupils you've got in your group. Try to elicit the parts and the fictitious names of the characters as soon as you can. That will make them be interested from the start. Soon you'll realise that you start calling them by both their real and fake names.

1.2.3. Structure plot.

Elicit how the film will progress scene by scene. Make them keep in mind all the limitations concerning props, costumes , settings and time.

1.3. Appoint Staff and Crew (1 hour)

1.3.1. Appoint a Direction Team

Appoint director, assistant director, a number of cameras and clapperboy. This group should work together while writing the script. You should teach them how the camera works and what kinds of shots and views there are, as well as some notions on film sequencing. They should note down what shots and instructions are relevant in every scene.

1.3.2. Appoint Production Team

There should be a couple of producers who will have to coordinate the directing team with the rest of the production staff. There should be sound and light engineers, people responsible for costumes, a team of three or four in charge of props, and even a make-up artist. The production team should work in small groups noting down what necessary items will have to be used in every scene.
At this point the different groups should be gathered to work together, so they can share any ideas they may have while we are writing the script.

1.4. Script Writing. (15-20 hours)

1.4.1. Design method.

Explain elements in a script: dialogues, performance notes and stage directions. Either at this point or before feed them with some vocabulary about cinema, so they'll know words such as pan shot, views, props, travelling, close-up.

1.4.2. Write the script

Easy said, easy done. Just start and see what comes out. You will have to encourage a lot of output when the pupils are shy and haven't been properly warmed up. You can always try to suggest ideas and make them translate into English whatever they think the characters should say. We make 3rd year ESO groups use as much affirmative, negative and interrogative syntax in the Present tenses as possible. Try always to force structures they know, and make them think that other students will see the film and should be able to understand what it says.

2. Rehearse (3 hours)

You should rehearse first by reading the script aloud to correct pronunciation and intonation. Some of the students will learn their lines by heart, but most will tire of it soon. Let them read their lines. Shooting schedule always allows pupils to memorize just a few lines for a specific shooting session, and you can always find out ways of letting them read the words from a blackboard or a notebook, if necessary. Of course, you can mark your students according to that, too.
Secondly, rehearse scenes with some of the props, but not all of them or you'll waste a lot of time.

3. Shoot.

3.1. Shooting Schedule (1 hour)

Group scenes together according to the settings, so you may be able to shoot them on the same date . That will save a lot of time. Make the directing team and the production team say whatever may be necessary for the shooting of a specific scene on a chosen day. Make them use their notes. The producers should now check who must bring the items that may be necessary on the following shooting session. The directing team should just mention where the scene will be shot and how.

3.2. Shoot. (5-6 hours)

Having the camera on site and the people ready will always be the key to a succesful shooting session. Be always sure that the cameras will be waiting where the camera is kept, just five minutes before start, so they can move tripod, camera and the like wherever you go on each occasion.

4. Edit

You can do it yourself or make someone do it, or let the students do it. Whatever your choice, sooner or later you'll have an edited film, and that can also be done rudimentarily.

We would appreciate any suggestions or comments

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