Your Creative Intention!

Remember it is essential that you test your success so far against your creative intentions. See this previous post if you have ‘forgotten’ what your creative intentions are.

So far we have done the following tasks within three production roles:

  • You developed an understanding of German Expressionism and it’s impact on the horror genre. Especially in relation to the monster.
  • We developed an idea from a given circumstance, ‘What if.’ As well as using other stimulus materials, like moodboards and music / sound.
  • We used the screenplay format to write the opening sequence of a horror film.
  • You’ve worked with a fellow screenwriter to collaborate on one script and have redrafted it (you can only make this claim if you actuality did redraft the script as a partnership and made significant amendments)


  • Worked with the cinematographer on story-boarding the sequence this should have taken into consideration framing and narrative importance.
  • You have worked with your actors to explain, explore and develop the characters.
  • You have worked with the cinematographer on blocking.
  • You (will) have overseen the cinematography and worked with your actors to film the sequence.
  • You have worked with the director to develop ideas on lighting, framing and composition in the storyboard.
  • You created a shot list of 30-50 shots, which prioritise the shoot and ensured you are filming to edit.
  • You have setup lighting and camera for each take in collaboration with actors & the director.
The Reflective Journal

All of this work is excellent evidence for your reflective journal.

Please unsure that you keep your journal up to date with all your pre-production documents and reflections.

Also ensure that you do REFLECT! Which means:

  • ‘What have I learnt?’
  • ‘How did I learn it?’
  • ‘What did I learn from my successes and failures?’

Also please remember to reflect on the shoot and if possible take photo evidence of you in action during the shoot (you could give this role to a (minor) role).


Please see updated blog league for specific posts and evidence to be uploaded.

Planning The Shoot

Here is the list of planning documents that you will use over the next few days in order to prepare for your shoot next week.

Extended Step Outline – use this to fine tune your scene and establish the important narrative information

Storyboard – Use this document to visualise each shot. How are you going to frame each shot and how do you see your edit developing (match on action, eye line match, shot reverse shot, 180 degree rule, reaction shots, close ups on key objects…) Here is a document which explains the function and design of a storyboard.

An alternative to the very formal storyboard, which can be inflexible. Is to create a postit note storyboard. Each postit note is a shot, which contains your shoot planning ideas. You should mount these in order on a large (A2) piece of paper. This method allows you to make changes to your storyboard. Here is an example for a music video.

Shot List – Use this to plan out your filming. Use it later to organise your shoot so that you film your film in a practical order.

Production Meeting Agenda – Use this document as a discussion and organisational document. Who is going to bring which props and costumes. Also, who will film what and when.

Please complete this document with requests for mise-en-scene that you are not able to provide as a group. Adding requests to this does not guarantee that you will get the item of costume or prop, so you must also enter a discussion with Mr Gregson or Miss Hales about whether it can be found.

Sharing & Visualising the Scene

The Concept or Moodboard

As we know the screenplay is a visual script and the really successful ones are those that allow an image to be painted for the reader – so that they can SEE what the screenwriter is intending.

This week we are going to spend time developing the idea and redrafting the script. By the end of the week you should have agreed a final draft to use on shoot.


Here is the script to the opening sequence of Alien (1978) Scott.

Notice how economical it is. Almost a bullet point list of what we can hear and what we can see.

In production teams read through the scripts your group has written and discuss the merits and ideas for development for each.

You must then choose one script which will become the groups idea.

The first task will be to allow some input from your partner(s) and complete a new version of screenplay in the form of a…


Considering what will happen step by step and what the audience will SEE and how the scene will unfold.

Complete an extended step outline for each of your scenes.


This is a shared visual document which is used to help the production team work up an agreed vision for their film. The moodboard should contain:

  • characters
  • framing and lighting ideas
  • settings (this will be available from the Mirus Battery at Le Hougette later this week
  • props
  • costumes

Here is an example from a previous student. You should be aiming for at least 20/25 images and you can present these as below or in a one page collage.


Redraft the script.

Based on your shared work this week redraft the script.

The Pitch

When you have completed this work you should:

  1. Pitch your ideas to your teacher
  2. Upload your work into the screenwriting section of your reflective journal

Developing a Horror Film Idea

Five Golden Rules of German Expressionism

Review the video essay of at least two peers and refresh your memory about the nature and ‘rules’ of German Expressionism.

Identify 5 Golden Rules of German Expressionism in terms of representation of the monster and visual style


Your task is to develop a visual / cinematic idea for your opening sequence and write the screenplay for it.

We will be working in groups next week and deciding which screenplays will go forward into production, for now this is a solo exercise.

Here is the first page of a good example from a student screenplay.

In your screenplay you should:

  • Use of the screenplay format 
  • Include descriptions of the locations in your screenplay (The Mirus Battery and/or surrounding rural area(s)).
    • Include element of the setting / important props within the scene.
  • Create an atmosphere which belongs in the horror genre.
  • Use descriptive language (simile’s and metaphors).
  • Give a sense of how the camera might move or the edit cut.
  • Give a sense of the diegetic sounds in your sequence.
  • Give a clear description of character (costume / props, body language)

The first step though is developing some ideas for a scene. Here is a slideshow on ideas:

Task Film Inspiration

  • Take a copy of this document and replace the following:
    • A location
    • A sound – Freesound.Org
    • An item of clothing
    • A character
  • In pairs share your documents.
  • Allow you partner time to think about your items
  • Discuss the film / sequence ideas that spring from those items

Independent Study.

Write the first draft of a screenplay based on one the ideas you have been attracted to in this lesson. You should aim for about 2 -3 pages of script. Any longer and it may well be longer that 2 -3  minutes of film time.

The Brief

This is the brief for your first full film sequence.

‘The opening sequence (approx 2-3 minutes) of a new horror movie.’

Your creative intentions should be clearly identified at the outset and your reflections throughout and once complete will be based on them. You must also reflect on your developing understanding of your production roles.

You must always keep a record of the production process and upload evidence of your work throughout (at least once a week) to your reflective journal

The creative intentions may be drawn from this list and you should identify 3-5. You may choose others or modify these as you wish.

  • Create a sense of…mystery, suspense, horror, intrigue…around a given place.
  • Introduce a monstrous character or presence.
  • Introduce a…tense, frightened, oblivious… victim.
  • Build the sequence to a shocking/scary crescendo.
  • Use specific cinematography techniques from German Expressionist film making.
  • Use montage editing to develop a sense of place and/or compress time.
  • Use continuity editing to make sense of a characters (inter)actions.
  • Design costume and props and dress the set to create a sense of….abandonment, corruption, decay, threat…

Your creative intentions may depend upon you production roles. You will be working in pairs and will be required to adopt at least one production role from each of the three main stages of production:

Pre-production (planning):
  • Screenwriter &/or storyboard artist
  • Production designer
  • Producer (both)
Production (filming):
  • Cinematographer.
  • Director.
  • Sound recording.
  • Producer (both)
Post production (editing):
  • Visual editing.
  • Foley sound designer
  • Sound editing
  • Music composer
  • Producer (both)

Define each of these role in terms of the tasks they will be required to undertake during that particular stage of production.

Update the definitions in your reflective journal under the main headings:

  • Editor
  • Director
  • Cinematographer
  • Sound Designer
  • Screenwriter

Here is our brainstorm of the tasks each production role entails.

Compiling Your Video Essay

There are two possible essay titles for your video.

  1. How and with what effect are specific film elements of German expressionism used within a contemporary horror film?
    1. This essay is asking you to define German expressionism as well as explain how this film movement had a distinctive visual style; you should use scenes from Nosferatu to illustrate your ideas.
      • You should use some contextual detail from the period/culture in Germany to explain how Expressionism came to the fore.
    2. In the second part of the essay you should use Let The Right One In to show how that style is still used in horror movies today.
  2. From Nosferatu to Eli. How has the representation of the vampire changed to suit contemporary values, attitudes and beliefs?
    • The second essay asks you to explore the representation of the two vampire characters. Remember the key to a representation essay is twofold:
      1. What ideologies (values, attitudes, beliefs (fears)) from the period / cultural that made the film are communicated through these ‘monsters’.
      2. How is this ideology communicate through micro features in key scenes.

The work we have done over the last few weeks was designed to help you answer these questions:

Question 1:
Question 2: 
Task: Compile Your Video Essay

The means that you need to plan your video essay and bring together all the materials that you are going to use to answer one of the two questions.

  • Review the research we conducted last week.
    • What ideas (quotes) do you want to drop in to your video essay?
      • You should aim for 3-5 quotes ideas taken from your research
    • Make sure you reference the name of the book and author in the essay.
    • You must also compile a bibliography for your essay (a list of your research sources), which you should submit next to your essay in your Reflective Journal.
  • Select the examples from the films that you going to use in the essay?
    • Choose 2-3 scene from each film and within those scenes select approx 15-30 second clips.
  • What terms do you need to use to describe these examples?
  • What is the meaning implied, suggested or illustrated in your example?
  • How will you link the TEAS to the significance?
    • This means going back to the question, which should be at the top of your video essay & bibliography.

You should have written a script before you edit. You will be recording this script later this week and will be editing to the script.

Research Sources for your Comparative Video Essay

In your final video essay, which compares our two films you need to show that you have done some independent research.

From IB Film Specification:

‘Each student carries out broad research, using both primary and secondary sources, in order to investigate possible areas of film focus and films for comparison from within the areas of film focus, using materials from a range of sources, including original films, critiques, publications and other media.’

In the assessed coursework you should do this research entirely independently and should aim to have between 8-12 sources. These sources will be made up of a combination of:

  1. Your two chosen focus films
  2. Books on your film focus or chosen films
  3. Critics Reviews
  4. Magazine and Newspaper Articles
  5. Video Essays
  6. Podcasts
  7. Websites & Blogs

For this practice unit we have provided some research materials that we would like you to quote from in your video essay. We are also going to go to the library later this week to find book.


In pairs divide and conquer one of these resources, which will be allocated to you by your teacher.

Find 1-3 quote(s) from the source, which you think are useful in developing your understanding…

  1. …the context of the film movement
  2. …the film genre (vampire horror)
  3. …the cinematic style (micro features) of our films

You should also generate a full Harvard reference for your specific source.

Put both the quote and the Harvard reference into this slideshow for the whole class to access when we put together our video essays next week.

Mr G’s Class

Miss H’s Class

1) Horror Monsters Media Magazine Article

Read this article on monsters published in The Media Magazine

2) Crash Course on German Expressionism

3) Film IQ – History of Horror

4) Academic Journals

We subscribe to a huge library or academic articles, books and reviews.

You can access the resources here (see below for user names and passwords)

Here are three articles which I found on Film Vampires:

  1. A Century of Vampires
  2. Warm Blooded – True Blood & Let The Right One In.
  3. Here is a review for Let The Right One In.

Horror Cinematography & Sound Design

Today we are considering cinematography & sound design that is conventional (typical) of horror films.

We will watch Suckablood (BC Horror) in class and use this to consider how the cinematography & sound is typically ‘horror’.

We are seeking to understand how German Expressionist cinematic techniques were the blueprint for horror films.


In pairs, one of you will be exploring cinematography:

  • Framing
  • Compostition
  • Angle
  • Movement
  • Lighting & Colour

Whilst the other considers sound design and music:

  • Diegetic
    • Foley
    • Dialogue
  • Non-diegetic
    • Music
    • Sound Effects
The Video.

Make a short montage in Premiere Pro, which uses titles to identify specific features of cinematography and/or sound, which are conventional of horror.

  • You should aim to find 3-5 examples of sound and 3-5 examples of cinematography

This means the video should be either silent, showing a feature of the cinematography. Alternatively the video should show a still of the scene or a title card and analyse the sound which you are describing as conventional of horror and/or influenced by German Expressionism.

Representation of a Vampire

Let’s do some close analysis of select sequences from our two set texts. You will be allocated two sequences, one from each film. Your job is to explore the representation of the vampire monsters at these moments in the film.

Firstly, do a close micro analysis of:

  • Editing
  • Sound
  • Cinematography
  • Mise-en-scene

Then consider, how these micro features communicate meaning about the nature of these monsters, their representation.

You will be responsible for putting together two slides, one for each film, which compares the scenes and considers what social fears seem to be reflected by Eli & Nosferatu.

Here are the scenes. The scenes your group have been allocated are next to the scene. Please complete two slides in this shared (editable) slideshow:


Some monsters to thrill, scare and delight you.

Why do we like to scare ourselves?

A key features of any horror film is the monster. The monster is said to represent the fears, anxieties and concerns of society at that time. That means that the monster and the theme of the film are inextricably linked and intertwined with each other.

To start developing your understanding we are going to look at some classic horror monsters and consider their representation and beneath that what social fear they stand for.


In pairs, do some research and develop a monster profile for your allocated monster.

Mr Gregson’s Monsters

Miss Hales’ Monsters