Youth Film Challenge activities

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1 Youth Film Challenge activities Participatory filmmaking provides a range of opportunities for young people to develop new and existing skills whilst making their own short films. Youth Film Challenge will help young people to develop soft skills including communication, team work and problem solving as well as helping to improve motivation and confidence and raise aspirations. Over the course of the week, there will also be a number of activities that specifically encourage the development of literacy and numeracy skills. Opportunities to develop literacy skills include: Opportunities to develop numeracy skills include: The following activities have been included in the programme to ensure young people have an opportunity to develop literacy and numeracy skills as part of, and independently of the filmmaking activity. Developing film ideas 2 Activity 1 Activity 2 Character development 3 Activity 3 Synopsis challenge 4 Activity 4 Storyboard challenge 5 Activity 5 Managing a film budget 6 Activity 6 The impact of piracy 7 Activity 7 Film reviewing 8

2 Activity 1: Developing film ideas Aim Young people work together to discuss a range of themes to help them select a film idea Writing, listening, speaking, reading, sharing ideas Young people learn how to develop themes into film ideas ntly share their ideas and work together to create stories storytelling and film structure Writing materials including pens, pencils, board markers ures Arts Award evidence Take photographs of mood boards process and the ideas suggested First things first, select a theme for the film to give the young people some guidance on developing their ideas. Either keep the themes general (things like friendship, respect, consequences) or select a theme that ties in with one of your strategic priorities (such as restorative justice, gang culture, anti-social behaviour). In this session, split the young people into small groups to discuss the chosen theme in more detail and ask them to note down their thoughts in a mood board. Encourage everyone in the group to take part and to share their ideas with their group. It is important that everyone feels involved and that they have a stake in the final idea selection. To help with the discussion, provide the young people with the following questions to consider: story? After ten minutes, bring the groups back together to share their ideas with the wider group and to each select their favourite idea. Lead a discussion about all of the different ideas and encourage the young people to share which elements of one or more of the ideas they would like to develop further. At the end of this session, the young people will have decided on a basic premise for their film and

3 will be able to develop a more robust structure around this. Activity 2: Character development Aim Young people work together to develop character profiles for their film Writing, listening, speaking, drawing Young people learn about characterisation in films character archetypes characters based on their own experiences Writing materials including pens, pencils, board markers Arts Award evidence Take photographs of drawings characters archetypes Picking up from the last activity, the young people will now start to think about the characters in their film. The best way to bring their characters to life is if they create a backstory for each character, which explains their actions, motivates and their personality traits. Split the young people into three smaller groups and give them each of the main characters to explore. It is important that the young people do not use stereotypes when building their characters. For example, showing young people wearing hoods as troublemakers reinforces the commonly held negative perception of young people in the media. Instead, encourage the young people to use archetypes. Popular archetypes used in film include the hero, the villain and the outcast and so on. Selecting an archetype provides some typical characteristics. For example, the outcast often comes from a troubled upbringing and is different to the other characters in some way. Another useful exercise is to explore the character s personality traits to set the scene for how they will act in the film. Physical traits- what do they look like? What clothes do they wear? Sociological traits- family background, relationships, friendships, educational situation, class Psychological traits- optimistic, pessimistic, intelligent, adventurous Another useful way to start visualising the character is by drawing a picture of them based on the

4 character traits. At the end of this session, the young people will have created whole characters with a backstory, which will help when fleshing out the script and preparing acting roles. Activity 3: Synopsis challenge Aim Young people work in pairs to write a 25 word synopsis for a popular film Writing, listening and speaking Young people are able to summarise film plots in writing into a 25 word synopsis literacy skills and knowledge - write the synopsis for their own film Writing materials including pens, pencils, board markers Arts Award evidence Write a short summary of the synopsis challenge

5 In this activity, introduce the term synopsis to the young people in the group. To help, read out some synopses and ask the young people to guess the film title. Examples include: X-Men- Two mutants come to a private academy for their kind whose resident superhero team must oppose a terrorist organisation with similar powers. Harry Potter- Rescued from the outrageous neglect of his aunt and uncle, a young boy with a great destiny proves his worth while attending Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Shrek- An Ogre, in order to regain his swamp, travels along with an annoying donkey in order to bring a princess to a scheming lord, wishing himself King. Twilight- A teenage girl risks everything when she falls in love with a vampire. Home Alone- An 8 year old boy, who is accidentally left behind while his family flies to France for Christmas, has to defend his home against burglars. Working in pairs, ask the young people to select one of the films above (not used in the example) and ask them to write a 25 synopsis for it. Encourage them to be creative as possible and to include key information about the film s plot. The film should be identifiable from the synopsis but without giving away the whole plot. One way to identify the key information is to break the film down into three acts; beginning, middle and end: - who is the main character and what is the setting? - what is the conflict/problem that the lead character has to overcome? - what is the resolution to the problem? The young people should not reveal the ending of the film in the synopsis. Once the three acts have been broken down, ask the young people to select the key information from each to formulate into one or two sentences for the synopsis. Ask each group to read out their synopsis and the rest of the groups have to guess what the film is. The pair that gets closest to the 25 word limit win a small prize. Compare the young people s synopses with the actual synopsis for the films to see how much they differ. The young people are now ready to write a synopsis for their own film, based on the results of the film ideas session. Activity 4: Storyboard challenge Aim Young people work together to explore the use of storyboards before creating their own Communication (writing, speaking), team work, sharing ideas, problem solving Young people will work together to explore story structure for their film what happens next in a story following the content of the storyboard create a storyboard for their own short film

6 Storyboard examples board markers Arts Award evidence Include storyboards or take photos of them ke photographs of brainstorm notes challenge Before the young people create their own storyboard, this activity gives them an opportunity to explore storyboards for other films. This will help them to think about story structure. Split the young people into pairs and provide them each with a storyboard from a First Light film. Now provide them with a blank storyboard (six boxes) and ask them to think about what might happen next in the story. Encourage the young people to discuss what might happen next before completing their storyboard. The following should be included/considered for each of the boxes: - who is in each scene? - where is the scene set? - who is saying what in each scene? - from what angle will the camera be shooting the scene? (close up, extreme close up, mid shot, wide shot) effects- will there be any distinguishing music to set the scene? Once the storyboards are complete, ask each of the pairs to share their storyboard ideas with the rest of the group. Ask the groups to identify key differences between all of the storyboards and how different they are. Finally, ask the groups to guess which storyboard is most similar to the actual story. Play the scene from the film depicting in the storyboard and let the next scenes play out to show what actually happens. The young people can then see how close they were to guessing the story plot. The young people are now ready to start creating their own storyboard using the considerations listed above. Activity 5: Managing a film budget Aim Young people scope out a budget for a blockbuster film Numeracy (addition, subtraction), problem solving, communication, decision making Young people are able to calculate budgets using addition, subtraction and multiplication

7 elements that make up a film production of the role of producer Computers Arts Award Evidence Write a summary of your film including the different budgets you have agreed on Using the Film Education Maths +Movies resource, young people can develop an understanding of the role of producer and develop numeracy skills. Before the young people get started, talk to them about film budgets and the role of the producer. The producer is the person on a film set who oversees everything from raising the money to make the film, to its release at the cinema. This is also an opportunity to talk about how the role of producer links with the other key film roles. Split the young people into pairs and provide access to a computer to use the resource. Each pair should work through the resource to put together a budget for a blockbuster film. Each pair have 115,000,000 to spend on a range of film elements including: Treatment- summary of the film idea with a short synopsis Screen writer- the person who writes the script Director- The person with the 'vision' of the finished film in their head. He or she is in charge of telling the cameras, crew and actors where to go and what to do on a film set Marketing strategy- The posters, trailers, television adverts and other campaigns used to make people interested in seeing the movie. The challenge here is to not go over budget. If the young people go over budget, they should review their options and make compromises to stay under budget. Having the best ideas, directors and actors does not always guarantee a box office hit so how could they make creative changes whilst staying under budget? They could perhaps work with a lesser know director or actor or consider alternative marketing strategies. Once everyone has created their film budget, ask for volunteers to share what their film is going to look like, who is starring in it and how they will market it to help with box office sales. The final task is to calculate the box office sales forecast. The film will be given a limited release in the UK before being rolled out to other territories. The young people should work out the forecasted based on the following: e week run is 300 The forecast is 87,750. Activity 6: The impact of piracy Aim Young people examine the financial impact of

8 piracy on the film industry Numeracy (addition, subtraction, percentages), communication, team work, problem solving Young people will have a better understanding of piracy and how this affects box office sales figure numbers in a real world maths context numbers and quantities Writing materials and paper Arts Award Evidence Write a summary of what you have learnt about piracy what you enjoy most at the cinema This activity is a direct development from activity 5. Using the hypothetical film created in Managing a Film Budget, the young people will learn about the impact of piracy on the film industry. Ask the young people in the group to tell you what they know about piracy and illegally downloading films. From here, ask the group to identify some of the negative impacts that this activity has on the film industry (examples include reduction in profits, less money available to make films, less jobs available, less people going to the cinema, stealing peoples IP). The film that has been developed and made from the previous activity has not been as successful as originally expected. The main reason for this is a pirate copy of the film was made available as a free download on the Internet two weeks before the cinema release date. The forecasted amount from cinema sales was 87,750. Only an average of 200 tickets were sold at participating cinemas. Ask the young people to work out the financial impact of the piracy. (45 x 200 x 6.50 = 58, 500). The reduction in sales is 29,250, which is a 33% reduction due to piracy. As a result of the poor sales, the distributor has decided not to extend the cinema release to a wider audience across territories and the film closes after one week. However, a decision is made to release the film on DVD. Ask the young people to work out the number of DVDs (priced at 12) that will need to be sold in order to make up the difference from cinema ticket sales? ( 29,250 / 12 = 2,473 DVDs) Finally, lead a discussion on the benefits of going to the cinema compared with watching a pirate DVD including the following:

9 Activity 7: Film reviewing Aim Young people discuss and write critical reviews for short films Communication (writing, speaking, reading, listening), sharing ideas, critical thinking Young people are able to offer critical reviews of short films and articulate why they do or do not like the films of short films g people are able to use cinematic terms to describe what they think of short films Short films Arts Award evidence Include written reviews recorder ideo Reviewing films is a great way for young people to understand genre, themes and cine-literacy. Film reviews don t have to be long and wordy. Ask for volunteers in the group to talk about a film they recently saw that they liked. It doesn t have to be a new film but just a film they really enjoyed. Use the following questions to prompt their review of the film: A general question for the group is what makes a good film? It might be the actors, the story, the special effects or the cinematography. Now ask for volunteers to talk about a film they recently saw that they didn t like. What is it about the film that they didn t enjoy? Now show a short film and ask the young people to discuss what they liked or didn t like about the films as a big group. To make this more interactive and to ensure everyone takes part, ask everyone to write down one word to describe what they thought of the film and give the film a

10 star rating out of five. In the final task, the young people are encouraged to respond directly to a film and provide a more in-depth review by discussion. Provide a series of questions for them to consider whilst watching the film that will lead to a discussion. For instance: Encourage all of the young people to discuss their views of the film. Now ask them to write a short review using the following structure: This film is about... The genre/theme is... My favourite part of the film is...my favourite character is... I would give this film... stars out of five because...

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